Tag Archives: Christ

Coming out of the Darkness

I haven’t posted anything for a while. I have been in the midst of a fight for my life. And now that I am coming out of the darkness of the cloud I have a new lease on life. As I found myself fearing that God may have some impending punishment waiting on me I had a moment alone with our Lord. And I felt the need to grant you all a very intimate look int my life so that you may be blessed.

While sitting in worship this morning, I was touched by what must be reverently described as the presence of God. And in that touch He spoke to me. And the words he said to me moved me to tears as I was overwhelmed with the reality of who He is in my life. As I remember all that He has done for me. He said to me, “Do you think that I have come all this way with you, to leave you now? I am always with you, I will never leave you. Even in the darkest hour I am with you. Don’t fear what you are going through, but trust me.”

So here I am, with a renewed knowledge that He is faithful. Even when I am unfaithful, He remains yet faithful. Yes, sometimes I feel alone, but He is there. Yes, Sometimes I feel like no one understands, but He does. He experienced my pain and more in His time on earth. He is not so far removed from my infirmities that he doesn’t know what I am going through internally.

Rather, He knows full well what it is to be rejected, despised, hated, and cast aside. And He experienced that while giving Himself in love to the world. I have not yet given myself to that level of sacrifice. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even come close.  So here I am again, learning the faithfulness of God. Learning that He is ever present and always helping. He is always teaching and correcting. He is always loving us into His arms and His ways.

I hope that this short read will add something to you, in some way. God Bless you.

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Lecrae – Church Clothes (Review)

On May 10, 2012 Lecrae, The President of Reach Records and Leader of the 116 Movement,  released his first mixtape. With a title like “Church Clothes” and a prevalent host like the infamous DJ Don Cannon, the anticipation was heavy across the hip-hop world and church world alike.  Questions lingered in the air as to whether Lecrae would be breaking away from his Christian background and embracing the secular world. And debates sprung up across discussion forums in the secular and religious world as to the merit and morals of this release. It was safe to say that Lecrae had stirred the pot with news of the release. Then, the music video for the title track to the mixtape “Church Clothes” was released and the cyclone of controversy gained strength.

Lecrae

This is the cover for the new mixtape from Lecrae, Church Clothes

As I sit listening to the mixtape now, I can confidently say that Lecrae has not disappointed either side of the spectrum. With lyricism, substance, and swagger Lecrae unleashes a barrage of social issues, truths, and challenges to the culture of hip hop. All the while he maintains a biblical worldview, and manages to incorporate the gospel message without alienating the hip-hop culture. As a fan of hip-hop I am both impressed and relieved for the fresh wind in the midst of stale air. As a Christian I am overwhelmed with joy that the truth is being preached without being “preached”, if such a thing is possible.

DJ Don Cannon does a great job as the host of this tape. We hear just enough of him to keep us motivated and excited about this new sound to the game. He isn’t all over the place like some DJ’s are, yelling over every track, and he does surprisingly well with his humble and profanity-free voice overs. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the DJ of Choice for several upcoming tapes by artists who are well outside of his norm. Can we say Lupe and Cannon?

The production on Church Clothes has a well-balanced mixture of hard core, up tempo beats and melodic synths and Tantalizing chords. Great sounds from the likes of Street Symphony, and Wit with tracks like Cold World and Inspiration respectively. Also we see Boi 1da make a classic show of things with the notable track ‘Gimme a Second’ on which Lecrae discusses his motives and methods and dispels a lot of misconceived notions about him.

When it comes to features, we see No Malice (formerly Malice of The Clipse) put on for his newfound faith. The sweet sounds of Tasha Catour, the lyricism of Tedashi and Andy Mineo (reach records artists), Swoope and Suzzy Rock (High Society Collective members). Propaganda shows out, and Odd Thomas (Humble Beast) are just a few of the features that cover this mixtape.  Strange as it seems the amount of features don’t dilute the quality of what is being considered Lecrae’s debut into the secular rap arena.

Amidst all of the great points about Church Clothes are some drawbacks and negatives, but only a few. Lecrae has what many will consider a downfall as an artist, He only has one message. But even with his overall topic being the same, he handles it well and covers a wide range of concepts and subject matter. Other than that, hip-hop fans will be somewhat bothered that Lecrae isn’t spending time tearing down the system and criticizing the government for their failure to live up to someone’s standard somewhere.  Put those two issues to rest and Church Clothes becomes an excellently executed project.

The mixtape is free, so my recommendation is to download it and share it. Lecrae’s intentions with this mixtape were to introduce himself to those who may not as of yet have heard of him. Hope you enjoy it. If you’ve already listened to the tape, or are going to listen to the tape, leave me a comment and let me know what you think about it.

For the Download of the mixtape go to http://www.datpiff.com/Lecrae-Church-Clothes-mixtape.348497.html

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Agape Cafe Outreach Center

Indianapolis has always had homeless and financially impoverished citizens. The likelihood is that there will always be some number of people below the poverty line in this area. However, there is also a responsibility and need for the remaining population to help them in ways that will empower them and enable them to progress. The question is what is the best way to help?

In the past, money has been thrown at the problems facing our community with the best intentions, and the effort is applauded. However, the growing rate of homeless and needy families Indianapolis is evidence that this tactic is a failing one. The age old saying becomes increasingly true in this present day, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”

People of all socio-economic backgrounds suffer from various living conditions like depression, identity crises, lack of job skills, broken homes, estranged families etc. Needless to say, this issue is magnified amongst the low income and underprivileged communities. Add to that already long and growing list of issues the inability to pay for childcare, lack of transportation, and the absence of money management skills. Now you have an already bad situation that just became impossible to overcome. The difference between the middle to upper class and lower class is that the lower class, generally speaking, does not have access to the same resources that people who are in better situations financially may have.

These problems have kept back some of the best and brightest that our communities have to offer the world. Birth into an already poor situation teaches, and therefore, genders generational poverty. That same impoverished situation encourages a defeatist mentality. Poor children become poor parents who develop poor families. Our crime rates and suicide rates are on the rise as people who have no clue how to improve their situation seek an escape from the black hole which has been affectionately termed, “the Hood” or “The Trap”. These effects are seen across the board in all races and creeds.

Outside of these communities we see the influence this has had on the world. While Martin Luther King Jr. fought alongside John F. Kennedy for civil rights decades ago, and the walls of racial segregation came tumbling down, new walls have been erected. Walls of financial division that create subdivisions of social classes where society has digressed into an extreme version of high school cliques rules and reigns over the people. The divorce rates and recidivism rates are rising on either side of the fence and it would seem that we are blind to the correlation. Indianapolis is growing and shrinking simultaneously as buildings are raised only to be left standing with no workers to fill them.

So, what can we do about it? Certainly such a daunting task is outside of our power to effect a change. Nothing could be further from the truth. This giant is only as strong as its roots. Kill the root and the tree will wither and die. That is the ACOC’s task in Indianapolis, to effectively strike the roots of this monster, In the Home.

The ACOC exists to bring back the former glory of the family structure. Our goal and vision is to chip away at the greatest problem facing our city today. The breakdown of the family. When the family prospers so does the community in which it lives. As the community goes, so goes the society.

But how do you restore the family? By taking each piece and developing it to a successful standard.  The ACOC intends to create, build, and promote programs that will take each member of the home and develop them into successful members of the household individually. The Father (Man), Mother (Woman), and Children are all a part of the family, thus they are all a part of the strategy and objectives of the ACOC.

Where ever men are present we will empower them to take their place as leaders in the home and the community. Where women are present we will empower her to be the woman she was born to be, powerful, strong, and able to work side by side with a man to successfully build a home. Where children are present we will educate and develop them to be successful and secure in their identities, thereby empowering them to become successful adults.

The agape Café is present in Indianapolis for Indianapolis.  We don’t serve coffee, we serve people.

 

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Preperation For Promotion

Preparation for Promotion

There are always uncertainties ahead, but there is always one certainty–God’s will is good. Vernon Paterson

Psalms 76:5 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.

6For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

7But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

 

2012 is a year of growth/promotion for the Body of Christ. 

This year God has chosen to open a window of opportunity for the body of Christ.  He has decreed a time for obtaining the promises. He is about to unleash a wave of glory, power, and revival fire like never before in this city. But just as every time before, he will manifest himself differently than before. There will be a snowball effect simultaneously with a birthing. This year as the Cervix is dilating in our spiritual lives, the birthing will gradually increase. We are already part way through the year and the ball is already rolling. It is time to dust off your old dreams and visions, and renew your goals. It is time to grab hold to the promises of God with Bulldog Tenacity and refuse to be denied. This is not a prosperity doctrine; this is a prophetic word to those who have ears to hear. This is a decree to those who will choose to have faith. You will not need to have a seed in your hand to see this come to pass, but you will need a seed. You will need the seed of your faith in God.  Not in this word, not in the Man who speaks. You will need to sow your faith in God through the life you live on a daily basis. If you will trust God actively (Not just with your mouth) you will see God move in the restoration of the past dreams and the birthing of new visions.

Preparation by Fire

Key Point: In Order for me to reach my goal I must be tried

Job was trusted by God

To Go through the fire

God not only allowed Job to be tried, He actually appointed the trial and sent Satan himself to do it.

Job 1:8 (God stirred Satan against Job)

God would not have Assigned Satan to try Job had he thought that Job would fail.

God is using our trials and tribulations to prepare us to receive the provision needed to fulfill our purpose. (Job 42:10)

But it is not so that we can sit back and enjoy our pie. This is a special blessing that is for those who are diligent about their father’s work.

God is looking for Men and Women he can trust with his anointing. (The anointing is for results)

Key Point: In Order for me to see my vision come to pass, I must have faith

God saved the 3 Hebrew boys

 IN the fire (Miracle of Dunkirk)

Daniel 3

In early 1940(May 26 1940) the British and their allies sent a force of some 350,000 men into the low countries of Europe to stem the tide of German advance into France, Belgium and Holland. Caught in a brilliant pincer movement by the invading German forces the beleaguered British Expeditionary Force was pushed back to the beaches of the small Belgian town of Dunkirk. To everyone’s surprise the Germans halted their advance to regroup. As England and the world waited for what appeared to be the sure and certain annihilation of 350,000 men a three word message was transmitted from the besieged army at Dunkirk. It read simply, “And if not.” The British people understood the biblical import of the cryptic message. It was a reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel, where Daniel and his friends chose death rather than worship an image of the pagan king, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18). The British Expeditionary Army, surrounded, cutoff and on the brink of destruction was declaring to Britain and to the world that even in apparent defeat they were, in fact, victorious. The message, more eloquent than a sermon delivered in St. Paul’s Cathedral, galvanized the British people. In a matter of hours thousands of boats of every description headed across the dangerous waters of the English Channel and, at the risk of their own lives from enemy fire, began the evacuation of the heroic but beleaguered army in what historians now refer to as “the miracle of Dunkirk.”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

 

24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Key Point: In order for me to possess my Dream I must remember what God has done

God Prepared David for the throne (through the testing)

And brought David Out of The fire

As I study the life of David, I find he spent a great deal of his time waiting. David had to wait something like 15 years from the time he was first anointed by Samuel to the time he became king over Judah (as recorded in our text). It was another seven years before David was anointed king over all Israel. This means David waited over 20 years of his life to be made king.

The road to promotion was paved with training and preparation.

(1 Sam. 17: 34-37) David used his past experiences to encourage himself in faith. He knew what God had done, thus, he knew what God would do.

(1 Sam. 26:23) David refused to do what was not right in the sight of the LORD. He sanctified his Life for the Lord. He did not kill his enemy even when he had the opportunity. He left that to God.  He didn’t Just say it.

 

Practical Application

 

  1. 1.       We must remain humble before God  (James 4:10)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

  1. A.      Don’t allow yourself to become prideful
  2. B.      Refuse to condemn or judge other people because they have not reached where you are spiritually

 

  1. 2.       We must seek his Kingdom in order to obtain our expected end.  (Matt 6:33)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

  1. A.      the kingdom of god is not meat and drink but righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the holy ghost (rom. 14:17)
  2. B.      all your needs will be supplied by the father as you prioritize his kingdom in your life
  3. 3.       We must wait on the Lord through service (psalm 27:14, 37:3,4,5,34)

27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

 

Wait ON the lord- serve Him as a waiter, attend to His needs and so shall you have strength.

Psalms 37

34Wait for the Lord

and keep his way.

He will exalt you to inherit the land;

when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

Wait FOR the Lord patiently, enduring hardness as a good soldier (2 tim, 2:3) and walk in His ways.

 

3Trust in the Lord and do good;

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

God is not slack concerning his promise (2pet. 3:9), Put all your chips on Him. Depend on His faithfulness.

4Delight yourself in the Lord

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Find your Satisfaction in God, and he will change your desires and then grant them to you.

5Commit your way to the Lord;

trust in him and he will do this:

If you Commit yourself to Him in all your ways. Obligate yourself to Him first. Pledge Your allegiance to Him. Lose yourself in Him and His Love. Require yourself to be faithful to God. Compel yourself, Constrain Yourself, devote yourself to the Father, and He will do This.

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

 

You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you. Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will. You find no difficulty in trusting the Lord with the management of the universe and all the outward creation, and can your case be any more complex or difficult than these, that you need to be anxious or troubled about His management of it? Hannah Whitall Smith

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Sola Fide (By Faith Alone)

SOLA FIDE

(Hab. 2:4; Heb. 10:38; Eph. 2:5-8)

     By Faith Alone. Grace through Faith. These are contentious statements if ever one was made in the Body of Christ.  This sola is certainly one that requires our most diligent attention. It is in this that we have our theology shaped and our stance challenged. Sola Fide is not a direct quote from the bible as some have supposed, rather it is a slogan that captures what our stance is as Christians. Faith alone in Christ as being our savior from the wrath of God that is come upon the children of disobedience and darkness, that is “The Way” that we walk in. Let it never be said among us that we have anything to boast in.

     Faith itself is a gift from God. No man comes to the Father unless he comes through the Son (John 14:6). But understand that no man comes to the Son unless the Father draw/drag him (John 6:44).  So it is impossible that man should come to God of himself or through himself.  It is only through this gifted faith that a man can come to Christ, yet God bids all men, “COME”.  Who can search out the riches of his knowledge and wisdom? God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. Faith alone is such a foolish thing. “By faith were the worlds created…” says the epistle to the Hebrews, and it is this same faith that causes a man to be born again of the spirit of God.

     Faith is not alone, for if it is it is dead. That was the Apostle James’ word on faith. many have supposed that he was an opponent to Paul’s theology which would imply an inconsistency in the scriptures. But, on the contrary, James put more emphasis on a part of faith that Paul taught but not as harshly as James. James wanted to be sure that Believers everywhere understood that faith is not mere credence, but that true faith is alive and active.  James’ position on faith was very simple, it could be summarized like this, “Don’t just hear the word of God, Don’t just say you believe the word of God, But if you truly believe this gospel that I bring to you, Then be a performer of the commands of God as well.”(James 1:22)

     So we see then that faith is an active trust. And it is only through this gift of active trust that we come to be followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Sola Scriptura

SOLA SCRIPTURA   

(Psalm 119:18; Psalm 138:2; II Tim. 3:14-17)

     This sola is the foundation of all the other solas, for from it can all the other solas be excavated.. Literally it means ‘Scripture Alone’, but is more often stated as “By the Scripture only”. It is not to be taken as, “me and my bible alone” as some have taken to a practice of living outside of the community of the church. But these have erred from the truth. Neither is it to be taken as, the scripture is all that there is to our faith. But rather Sola Scriptura means that the scriptures are the ultimate authority which we consult on matters pertaining to true life in God. The scriptures are the Word of God pertaining to this New Life in Christ. All Christian scripture is to be applied as a unit, not to be divided. The entirety of the cannon is the whole picture, take a piece away and we have distorted the truth. And if we have distorted the truth, it is no more truth, but it is altogether false.

     The scriptures can be described as the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of God, where God Almighty is the only Judge. There are lower sources of information to be certain, but these are subject to the judgment of God and His scriptures. Many authors have undertaken the task of applying the scriptures in a way more easily understood, and while these are great resources we must always defer to the scriptures as a filter and for proof of sound doctrine.  Just as in America, we see the courts in every city, but these courts can be appealed. If you don’t like the decision reached by the judge in a state court you can appeal their decision to a higher court. But once you reach the Supreme Court, whatever decision they reach will be final. You cannot appeal the ruling of the Supreme Court. The scriptures are the same, and must be respected as such.

     Interpretation of the scripture is of the utmost importance, and it is interpretation that has led the Body of Christ to the place it is on as of now. Many denominations and sects, cults and heresies of all sorts rule over the mind of many believers due to false interpretation. I will not attempt to ascribe a set of rules to the interpretation of the scripture as such things are outside of my reach, and must be reserved for the Holy Spirit to guide as He chooses. But I will apply a scriptural base for understanding and studying the scriptures.

  1. 1.       The Scriptures can and must Judge themselves. (1 Cor. 2:13)
  2. 2.       Understanding of the Scriptures is limited to those who are spiritually minded. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
  3. 3.       No one can decide what scripture means by their self. They must be in agreement with the body and communal mind of Christ. (2 Peter 1:20, 1 Corinthians 2:16)

     To be sure there are more scriptural proofs, but as I stated I will only be applying a scriptural base to this topic. Build on it as the Spirit leads you.

     The catholic aversion to the entirety of the 5 solas is understandable, but erroneous nevertheless.  In the case of Sola Scriptura they have interrupted the Creator’s design with tradition. They assert that tradition has a place next to the scriptures. They further assert that without tradition scripture cannot be properly interpreted. I make this one concession that some tradition does indeed have a place at times, but never next to the scriptures. If ever any tradition has a place in the body it is behind the scriptures and the Holy Spirits scriptural leadership. Even God has chosen to honor His word by never operating outside of its confines, as broad and wide as those confines may be.

     The protestant world has an unspoken dislike for Sola Scriptura, as many of us are consuming every doctrine that we can stomach.  We have no desire for pure doctrine that resists the pull of the flesh and cares not whether people are fond of it or not. We must be sure to examine the scriptures and utilize them as a guide for our lives. We should be challenged by the things we read, instead of challenging the very Word of God.

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The 5 Sola’s Introduction

     Never forget your history, for it is your history which will inform your future.  That is my view of church history and the doctrines that accompany it. In this era we have seen many modes of the church, and for all of my study I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the theology of the laity with the doctrines of our spiritual forefathers. Do not mistake my statement to mean that there is no more to be learned, that is not my position.  Neither is my position that the theology and doctrines of old are immovable and totally authoritative, even over the Word of God.  But rather my position is that we cannot throw out the baby with the bath water. We must examine carefully what our history as a community has taught us and we must apply it in our progress.  Eat the meat, and discard the bones.  This is not an attempt to give an in depth dissertation of this topic. I simply wish to rehash a forgotten conversation among the called out of God.

    

       The 5 Solas are 5 Latin slogans that summarize 5 key elements of our faith. New to many modern day Christians, but in reality they were ancient truths lost in the dark ages.

  1. 1.       SOLA SCRIPTURA – By Scripture alone
  2. 2.       SOLA GRATIA – By Grace alone
  3. 3.       SOLA FIDE- By Faith Alone
  4. 4.       SOLA CHRISTUS/CHRISTO – By Christ Alone
  5. 5.       SOLI DEO GLORIA – To God Alone be the Glory

 I was originally going to post these all as one article, but for the sake of being reader friendly I have opted to go with one article at a time. I have attempted to summarize the 5 solas in a manner that is easily understood.  I hope that they have been laid out in a way that makes it easy for you to read and comprehend.

 

Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles. Do not assail this divine Aeneid; nay, rather prostrate revere the ground that it treads. We are beggars: this is true-Martin Luther (from his last statement)

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