NF – Mansion, and the Meaninglessness of Chasing After Wind

It’s interesting what was once considered a mansion. This photo, for me, is a reminder of the ills of the exponentially growing expectation of the American dream. What was once thought a mansion, now looks almost average, and yet depression, chemical dependence (legal and illegal), and violent crime in our nation is not improving. It’s an image of the soul decay of serving at the foot of the idol of earthly riches. NF, the first Christian rapper to be signed by a major record label, Capitol Records, released this album cover today for his début album dropping March 31. You can see the video for the single here.

Great work by NF, presenting the collision of human reality and biblical truth in an unexpected medium.  I have been both of the people represented in the video, at both ends of the spectrum, and found depression at both ends. The answer only came when God opened my eyes to see that no matter what I had, or what I did, I was never going to have peace until I understood my purpose. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” He is what our souls are longing for. Until we understand that, we will continue be people who heap up possessions to fill our emptiness, or be those who are unsatisfied with life or feel insufficient because we can not keep up with the perceived success of others. Both paths lead to the same place.

Ecclesiastes 1:14  I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

 

Matthew 6:19-22  Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

 

This Christian Is No Dummy

Many in the realm of science have accused Christians of being simple minded people who, rather than theorize, use the Bible to fill in the gaps where there are questions about the origins of the universe and the beginnings of life on Earth. I present to you a Christian who is far from simple minded:

Dr. Ben Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is a public speaker whose genius yet common sense application of the Bible has propelled him into the national spotlight. Many evangelicals and conservatives are urging him to run in the next Presidential Election. Carson quickly explains in this video why he believes it takes more faith to believe in scientific theories than in God as our intelligent designer.

Carson was raised by a single mother who dropped out of school in the third grade. She could not read for much of her life. Carson struggled academically throughout elementary school. After his mother reduced his television time and required him to read two books a week and produce written reviews, he started to excel. He went on to earn a degree from Yale University (now an Emeritus Fellow), and graduated from University of Michigan Medical School. He decided to become a doctor after hearing stories of Christian missionary doctors and their ability to heal people physically, mentally, and spiritually. At age 33, he became the youngest major division director in Johns Hopkins history. In 2008, the White House awarded Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Carson has been awarded 38 honorary doctorate degrees and dozens of national merit citations.

Carson is making waves these days for the phenomenal speech he gave earlier this year at the National Prayer Breakfast. In this speech he was highly critical of our current government leadership. With President Baraka Obama sitting only two chairs away, Carson called out several national issues, and offered his own solutions for the troubles facing our nation.

In 1987, Carson made medical history by being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins – joined at the back of the head. The procedure required a 70-member surgical team that worked 22 hours, and was able to successfully separate the twins. These twins have since survived independently.

Ben Carson’s story has become the subject of a movie called Gifted Hands – The Ben Carson Story, in which he was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr., as well as being the subject of a TV documentary. Ben Carson shows that not all Christians are simple minded people, incapable of comprehending science, rather intelligent people who understand the need for faith in Jesus Christ.

Family Force 5

Did you know Christians have fun?  I did…I just didn’t know we did it in front of each other.

That was my thought the first time I saw these guys.  I’m kidding about Christians having fun.  Of course we have fun!  At least I do.  I can tell you with certainty that these guys do too, and aren’t afraid to do it in front of anyone.  Why are some of us so rigid that we give the impression that our faith makes us a total buzz-kill?  Let me tell you, when it comes to doctrine, I’m practically a Puritan, but even this Baptist (Reformed Baptist) loves to dance…and sing…especially for the LORD.  Not only do I do it because I love to have fun, but I do it because it is biblical.

Psalm 100:1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Psalm 149:3 Praise His name with dancing

Family Force 5 has been somewhat maligned for not including a message about Jesus every song.  In my opinion it’s a shame because they have clean music that is free from profanity and obscenity, they are openly professing Christians, and they proclaim the gospel at all times.  When I saw them live, they shared the gospel of Christ between nearly every song.

These are guys that have a heart for Christ, that are going out into the world and sharing the Good News with people who aren’t going to lend their ear to your local Youth Pastor….ie on The Warped Tour. They are also big supporters and heavily involved in working with the NGEN Christian Radio Network.

It is not often that an openly Christian music group, who proclaims the gospel, and holds to real Christian values gains the respect of young secular music fans.  These guys are missioning right here at home amongst our nation’s youth, and I believe that should be celebrated.

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

Religion says do, but Jesus says done.  This is a very cool spoken word video by Jefferson Bethke written to show the difference between Jesus and religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of His day. At the core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross stand in complete opposition to self-righteousness and self-justification. Religion is man-centered – Jesus is God-centered. Salvation is by the grace of God, not by any work you or I could perform.  Our saving is by His grace, for His glory (Ephesians 2:8).  This poem highlights Bethke’s journey to discover this truth.

There is nothing like the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers, and there is nothing better than knowing you can rest in Him.  In the video below, Bethke unpacks his purpose in writing Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.  This was one of the first pieces that truly opened my eyes as a new believer.

Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough comes out October 8, 2013.  Preorder Here: http://ow.ly/jNA68

 

Christian Idol?

Is Angie Miller the next in a developing lineage of American Idol Contemporary Christian music stars?


“You Set Me Free” is an original song written and performed by Angie Miller

It is no secret that American Idol has proven itself a breeding ground for highly successful pop stars and country music stars alike, but there may be a new trend growing. Last year Colton Dixon finished 7th on American Idol season 11. Dixon has gone on to release his debut album, A Messenger, which peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Christian & Gospel album charts, and #15 on Billboard’s Top Top 200.


“You Are” as performed by Colton Dixon and his sister Schyler

If you’ve been watching this season you already know there is another Contemporary Christian star being born. If you aren’t an Idol watcher, I want to call your attention to Angie Miller. Miller is currently a top 4 finalist on Idol Season 12. In her signature style, seated at the piano, Angie has been belting out faith based ballads for weeks. As Randy Jackson says, “Angie is in it to win it.”

Before her American Idol debut, Miller served as a lead singer in the worship band at Remix Church in Salem, MA. I find it dually exciting to see world class talents entering into the genre of Christian music, and to also see the American Idol stage exposing its millions of viewers to Christian performers each week.

NRB Network

My TV seems to be stuck on this channel 95% of the time.  I don’t typically do a lot of Christian TV programming because I don’t like having to weed through un-biblical prosperity gospel teaching, watching seed-sewing “preachers” prey on the desperate, and I don’t like watching men with diamond cuff links hold up Ethopian kids and ask for money.  However, as a biblically conservative Christian with questions about God and His Word, I have found something that I do like!!  Created in 2005, the National Religious Broadcasters network provides educational programming with a unique focus on the teaching, values, and worldview of the historic Christian faith.  Programming is first-rate, consisting not of wildly caricatured televangelism shows, but including educational programming such as deep dig Bible study, theology, scientific presentations supporting the claims of the Bible, and Christians interacting and reacting in popular culture.  The NRB can only be seen on DirecTV yet still boasts an audience of up to 15 million viewers nationwide.
 
 
 
The NRB is presently a force in fighting for religious free speech in America.  The network has leveled a suit against Apple Inc for pulling an app that supplied helpful Christian content for families impacted by homosexuality…a raging hot button topic presently.  http://nrb.org/news_room/press_center/the-app-wars-will-apple-bow-or-will-free-speech-prevail-nrb-proj/ 

The NRB is available on DirecTV, channel 378, can be viewed live online here: http://www.nrbnetwork.tv/Pages/watch_online.aspx or by downloading the NRB app for Apple or Android.  Many of the videos I post on this site contain content that has aired on the NRB, and I highly recommend tuning into Renewing Your Mind, Wretched, and Quick Study: Bible Study to further your Bible knowledge.  I also recommend Creation Series, Creation Ministries International, or Answers Creation Hour which each have presentations and debates by highly degreed, world-class scientists investigating the topic of Evolution vs. an Intelligent Designer of the universe.  Very interesting stuff on this channel!

Jesus Wants the Rose

Life has a way of corrupting us.  I post this because it speaks to me…

I was that rose. In every way. Completely corrupted. It is such a joy to serve a God who is so patient and loving, and that actually, in His mercy, desires to sanctify me, equip me, and use me to represent Him. I am so humbled I hardly feel worthy…and yet he calls me.

Luke 5 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

John 8 11 And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Luke 5 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”