Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I know someone who can.

You have built yourself a fine fortress
And you're the only one who holds the key
You've resolved to pilot your own ship
And you decide what all the rules'll be
No more asking for answers
No more cries for help
You've been hurt for the last time
That's what you tell yourself

I don't know much more than this
But I know someone who does
I was not there in your past
But I know someone who was
I can't heal what lies within
But I know someone who can
I know someone who can

It's a drag living life like this
Believe me, I've been there a thousand times
Spending everyday on the defense
And building walls no one could ever climb
Till somebody showed me my fortress was a cage
And granted me my freedom
Since then I haven't been the same

So you can lock me out
Of your life as you've designed it
But I know there's peace and
I'll be on my knees until the day you find it

Monday, December 21, 2009

Introducing the Truth

We've got a false Jesus being portrayed. I've seen him on TV, acting cool - you see, he's changed - this different Jesus than from the Bible. So allow me to bring the real Christ on the stage. Not that whack Jesus, the one not-based-on-fact Jesus, too often displayed. The Christ in glory, not the one that leaves his Father dismayed. I mean the real Jesus, that only dwells in the saved.

So allow me to paint the picture of Christ in the Scriptures, preaching the faith and repentance that your too-cool Jesus never seems to mention. It seems like he's fine with all the things that you do, but come on - there's only one Jesus that is true. Which one will you let reign over you? Who? The millionaire Jesus, who just wants to make you rich? Give you some money and fame to prove that you are blessed? The Kanye West Jesus who walks with no holiness? Which one will you choose?

I think it's long overdue to have a reintroduction of Christ, so there won't be any confusion as to which one is right - because one leads to death, and the other is life. Allow me to reintroduce Christ - he's been distorted by the people and it's just not right. He's not someone you can pimp around to propel your cause, or a name for you to proclaim to cover up your flaws.

Look, if this is you then you're serving a different boss, your Christ is an idol, and you're probably lost - because the Christ in the Scriptures gave a call to forsake all, not to wear a cross but to take up your cross and follow him. We were holding a death sentence because of our sin, and it's his mercy that his wrath hasn't burned times ten. It's like Sodom and Gomorrah but a curse within. You see, he gives us a chance to learn of him so that he can be glorified in his rightful place. So if we're serving this imitation Jesus, its like a blatant slap in the face, distorting his grace and disregarding his sacrifice. Like the Purpose Driven Jesus, who prophecies you'll be used by him before you're given new life. Or the SAT Jesus, who helps you on all your tests and quizzes, gets you into college, allows you to pass math and physics. Or the homosexual Jesus who doesn't see you sinning. Which one will you choose?

So I think it's long overdue to have a reintroduction of Christ, where there won't be any confusion as to which one is right, because one leads to death and the other is life. Allow me to reintroduce the Christ - not someone where we can cover his mouth, so we can continue to indulge in our dirt, as if he doesn't require us to repent from all sin, to be born again, to never blend in. This world is a material girl, she's got you seduced, she feeds you phony Jesus that doesn't want to save you from your sins but just wants to hang out with you - like "Jesus is my homeboy" or "Jesus got me employed" or "Jesus is my decoy."

Would the real Jesus please stand up? The one who is true? Because he's been pushed down and these idols have been elected up to the point where if the real Jesus came back right now, some would probably hang him upside down on one of these beams and crucify him again, because he's not down with their sin. It hurts me to see how his own people will defend their lifestyle. Don't we want to know Christ? The one who willingly gave his life? Who sets us free from our sin, you see? And I must do this by any means necessary, and never hide the light. So tonight, I'm going to introduce Jesus Christ. He's been distorted by the people and it's just not right.

And one day he is coming back, and its important that you recognize him, because the Scriptures talk about that. There will be many who say they are Jesus, but which one is fact? You've got to look in the Bible to see about that - that he's coming on the clouds with power and glory, and every knee will bow and testify to his authority. So the Jesus of the Scriptures better take priority - not the one that's excepted easily by the majority, when he himself said the world would hate him. So why all of a sudden does the world want to date him?

Hopefully you haven't given into this come-as-you-are/stay-as-you-are Jesus, this "He has this wonderful plan for my life" Jesus, the "you don't need repentance" Jesus, the all-roads-lead-to Jesus. I hope you haven't given into this, but that you serve the one who is holy, because it would be something if on Judgment Day, the Jesus you've been serving was falsely an angel of light, which covered a legion of demons masquerading as Christ. All this time serving a Jesus who's not been pierced in his feet and his wrists, has no sword coming out of his mouth, no rod of righteousness - and go on day by day and willingly miss him, when it turns out you were serving a created image headed straight for the abyss.

Let's get into Scripture, so we're not fooled by this Jesus who when we're sinning, he stands by us quiet. Giving into this Jesus that the world loves - the Jesus who is cool with your lies and sex and vanity and phony love - and all the things that caused Christ in the Scripture to shed blood. Let's make sure we're serving the right Christ, not a wolf in sheep's clothing that's got you enticed.

The true one. The wants-to-make-you-new one. The only begotten Son.

-Blair Wingo

Who do you say I am?

1 Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would
have thought God's saving power would look like this?

2-6The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.
We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong,
on him.

7-9He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn't say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he'd never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn't true.

10Still, it's what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he'd give himself as an offering for sin
so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.

11-12Out of that terrible travail of soul,
he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant
will make many "righteous ones,"
as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly—
the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch,
because he embraced the company of the lowest.

He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

- Isaiah 53 (written approx. 700 years before the birth of Jesus)

Fast forward to approx. 33 AD. Before Jesus was convicted, he was brought before the council to be questioned, but he knew that they had already made up their minds. They said, "If you are the Christ, tell us." But he said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." (Luke 22)

And they beat him, scourged him, crucified him, and buried him. And after rising three days later, he appeared to his disciples. He said to them, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don't you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?" Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him. (Luke 24)

Who do you say he is?

Does anybody even know that you're a Christian?

Does anybody even know that you're a Christian?

When you go to your school or your job, can anybody tell by your actions that you believe in God? Or can they not tell the difference between what you believe and how you act, because you're always at the club with a drink or talking about somebody else behind their back? And when they finally figure out you're a Christian they start talking behind yours, and you wonder why when people look at you they can't even respect the fact that you're a Christian anymore. You may be the only example they have. And if they can't tell the difference between your walk and their walk then they're not going to follow God's path.

Does anybody even know that you're a Christian? Do the people even know that the God in you is there? When somebody who doesn't believe in God loses somebody in their family, do they even think to go to you for prayer? Because they don't know where else to go? And if not, then when did Jesus become your personal secret for no one else to know? Are you serious? Jesus Christ didn't get stretched out on the cross as your testimony to be mysterious, because solid testimonies have saved souls, yet our testimonies lay low and we wonder why the world is raising hell? A lot of Christians are too worried about other people's opinions and too busy trying to save themselves.

I don't know what's worse - nobody even knowing I'm a Christian or the only people knowing I'm a Christian are the people at my church? What you have to understand is people sacrifice their lives to spread the love of Jesus throughout the earth, and you mean to tell me you're more worried about what other people may think or believe? What if Jesus was more concerned about other people's opinions than the salvation you received? They made him bleed until he bled all his blood, 'til he was dead, nails in feet, thorns in head - what if Jesus had been less concerned about spreading the gospel and more concerned with what other people said, instead?

But no, instead he stood for what's right - just so everybody in the world could know that "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life." Does anybody know that you're a Christian by your actions? Or does everybody think that you're a Christian because you're acting? And the only reason I'm asking is because half of us are putting on a facade, trying to treat our walk with God like we're expecting full time benefits when he's our part time job. But working for God's not a part time gig, its not a job, or a career, its a lifestyle that you live.

What you have to understand is that one soul's trash is another soul's treasure, and if you won't stand up and take the time, then pop culture will continue to convince them that Jesus can't save them. Does anybody know that you're a Christian? Are you letting his life shine through?

How many times are you going to deny Jesus before Jesus denies you?

-Karness, Lyricist Lounge

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love So Undeserved

Why are You still here with me?
Didn't You see what I've done?
In my shame I want to run and hide myself
But it's here I see the truth
I don't deserve You

But I need You to love me, and I
I won't keep my heart from You this time
And I'll stop this pretending that I can
Somehow deserve what I already have
I need You to love me

I wasted so much time
Pushing You away from me
I just never saw how You could cherish me
You're a God who has all things
And still You want me

Your love makes me forget what I have been
Your love makes me see who I really am


Monday, August 31, 2009

Successfulness vs Fruitfulness

"There is a great different between successfulness and fruitfulness. Success comes from strength, control and respectability. Fruitfulness, however comes from weakness and vulnerability.

A child is the fruit conceived in vulnerability,

community is the fruit born through shared brokenness, and

intimacy is the fruit that grows through touching one another's wounds.

Let's remind one another that what brings us true joy is not successfulness but fruitfulness."

-- Henri Nouwen

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So Tired of the Middle

Living life in the middle has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I've been reassessing a life that has scooted too close to complacency. The same life laid down for the One I love is desperately thirsty for a drink of Living Water. My daily prayer is that God would stir up my embers, and get my fire roaring again.
I read a book recently called "Crazy Love." Its one of those books that you get so into that you believe everyone you know, no matter what situation they are in, needs to read it.
I've been packing and listening to music, thinking, praying; this song came on, and sums up my heart better than I could.

Somewhere In The Middle - Casting Crowns

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

"A man by his sin may waste himself, which is to waste that which on earth is most like God. This is man's greatest tragedy and God's heaviest grief." -AW Tozer

A godly man reminded me today that to not be satisfied with whatever we've been given is to sin, and likewise to not follow where God leads, and instead choose what is safe and comfortable is sin.

I'm challenged to put on my blindfold and listen to His voice lead me through whatever meadow or minefield he has for me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Confusedly Obedient

I had a vision this morning.

That fact alone is very unusual, but in the few instances God has given me a vision, it has been an answer to a question I keep praying about, and usually an affirmation of our relationship in some symbolic form.

But today, the vision was of a particular exit (Red Hill) off of a particular freeway (the 5 North). It's a freeway I drive on maybe once every 3-4 months, and I've never taken this exit. I didn't know what was there or have any idea why God would take me there. All I knew was that I felt very compelled to go there, and I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I mulled it over for about an hour before I talked myself into getting in my car and driving up there, just to see. I reasoned that I would drive up and if there didn't seem to be a reason, then I would get Chick-Fil-A (at Jamboree, the exit just before the one I was headed to) and go home.

On my way there, I considered the possibilities - I knew there is a Christian dinner theater in the area somewhere, maybe they were having auditions today? Maybe there was someone with a flat tire that needed help? Maybe I would run into someone I knew? I had plenty of time to think about it during the 20 minute drive.

As I came up to Jamboree (the exit just before) I considered getting off to go straight to lunch, starting to feel kind of silly for having driven there in the first place. But there was still a tugging to just go one more.

As I merged into the right lane to exit at Red Hill, I looked to my right where my vision had led me to and I saw a big billboard over a building that said "CHURCH & THE ARTS." I came up to the building and saw that it was a Christian Thrift Store. I pulled into the parking lot and spent almost an hour browsing the aisles. I found a cd called "the INVITATION" and a book called "The Gift for All People," which I bought for my mom. I found the only expansion pack I don't have for a game I've been playing a LOT (read: too much) lately. And I found some cute seersucker shorts that are perfect for Israel.

I finally arrived at the counter with my items, happy to support the store but regretting spending money when I don't have an income. I asked the man how much my total was and found that it was 50% off everything today - my total came to $4.87. What a deal!

I told the man my story and he was excited like I was. I asked if they had serving or donation needs, and he said just prayer for the store and the pastor who owns it and is very sick.

As much as I had no idea where I was going or why I was going when I was on my way there, I've spent the rest of the day smiling, knowing that God sent me on a tiny mission today. And the greatest joy is knowing that he rewards obedience with more direction. I'm looking forward to more outings with my Shepard. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fears Left Unfixed

Daughter of Zion is lying crying in the mist
Morning light slips in, shifting through the darkness
Like a mourning wife reminisces, having visions of her long gone prince
Memories drip rain drops, tip towing emptiness
Intermixed with tears like fears left unfixed
Walls worn thin frozen fortress like dawn
Waiting for the sunrise of a day that got skipped
Like a life gone wrong wandering wilderness
Lovesick stripped abyss empty once luscious


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back Into Your Arms

Come riding on a rushing wind
Blow through our hair and touch our skin
I want to feel You now like I felt You then

Strip away my calloused heart
Set Your arrow hit Your mark
Bring me back to where love starts
Bring me back to where You are

Father I'm running Father I'm coming home
I cannot go on
Your child is running, Father I'm coming home
Back where I belong

I know You've heard this all before
When I'm down and crying on the floor
Saying I want You and nothing more

But I'm breaking in my heart tonight
I've tried to stand I've tried to fight
But I cannot see without Your light
No I cannot breathe without You

When I saw you I was ashamed
You were pure and I was stained

But You ran to me and You called my name
There were tears of joy upon Your face

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let My Heart Defeat My Mind

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"
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