Dying 2 Live...!

Dying 2 Live...!

Friday, April 27, 2012

CHRISTIANITY: Complex or Ridiculously Basic?

When we hear words like "ridiculous" or "basic" we rarely associate them with Christianity. Contrary to that notion, we have no problem connecting the word "complexity" to Christianity. Sometimes it just doesn't seem like an exact science. And looking at it from varying points of view, at times, makes absolutely no logical sense.

From God: So you mean to say an unseen Father being from out of nowhere created everything, allowed it to fall apart and will eventually redeem it all back to Himself.

From Jesus: So you mean to say God left His throne, was born to only a virgin, became a man, ministered loving grace to the hurting and was falsely accused. Then He suddenly died a horrible death on a rugged cross at the hands of people who cared nothing for Him, on the 3rd day rose from the dead, ascended back into heaven and with open acceptance can live within our hearts.

From the Holy Spirit: So you mean to say the person of God in the form of a Spirit was sent from heaven by Jesus, came with the purpose to comfort us, lead us into all truth, convict us of sin toward salvation, give us spiritual gifts, infuse us with Godly power and restrain evil in the world.

Again, we can go on and on about preaching, fellowship, eternity, the Church, sin, heaven, @#!*% , and the fear of God. All of these share the varying array of complexities involved within Christianity; but thanks to individuals like Francis Chan, we all can have somewhat of a better understanding in realizing that Christianity can be ridiculously basic. Actually it's all about the presentation, heart and focus involved in relating to others its truth. Below is a link to a select group of videos from Francis that do that very thing here.

1.) Once you've clicked on the link above, the BASICSeries youtube channel will appear.

2.) Then play the trailer in order to get a general understanding of what's being explained.

3.) After the trailer is over, scroll down and locate the featured playlist on the right of your screen.

4.) Instead of the prescribed order listed, start from the bottom and go upward. Listed below is the arrangement desired for better understanding. The videos will go on continuously, based on how many are in that certain section. Instead of scrolling back all the time, just click on the 45 videos button and click on see all 45 videos in order to go back to the home page.

     a.) fear God
     b.) follow Jesus 
     c.) Holy Spirit
     d.) fellowship
     e.) teaching
     f.) prayer
     g.) communion

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Some Youthful Hope

For everyone who has exhausted you with statistics on how our youth are in a hopeless state of mind, that's not the end of the story. For everyone who has promoted more prisons being built and youth centers closing, there's a clear understanding that the reverse is more beneficial for society. And for the people constantly counting this generation of young people out from putting their mark on the world, making it a better place, then think again.

In our 3rd installation of the Hope Series, we maneuver around the country in order to see "some youthful hope." If this doesn't make you feel like there's still hope for our youth, I don't know what else will.

(Click on the color labels in order to see the links & videos)

1. Eddie James & Dream Life - Hamilton, AL

2. YMAD - Salt Lake City, UT

3. Lift Communities
    LIFT- Washington, D.C.

4. Westhill High - Stamford, CT

5. YAGA Program - San Antonio, TX

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sin Is Never On $ale...!

On last week or so, it was my hope that you all got your pick-me-up grove on from these songs. As we continue to embark on the Hope Series, we go into the 2nd installment - Sin is Never on $ale. You won't necessarily find it marked down at Macy's or your favorite boutique. It's not in a buy one get one free package; it's ridiculously expensive. If sin was a watch it wouldn't be a Casio, nor would it even be a Movado or Rolex. Sin would be a Piaget, Franck Muller or Cartier which can carry up to a multi-million dollar price tag.

Now I do realize when someone converses about sin, many tend to get all antsy, quickly offended and overly defensive. But here within this post, we'll seek to get you off of your high horse while simultaneously getting you away from walking on eggshells. In other words, you can relax and look at the bigger picture. One we all may be facing, and not just yourself. So put your defensive guard down for a moment, and try to listen from a general perspective, not just a personal one.

There's really no need to hash out the numerous vices found under the category of sin. Sin is what it is. You can look here for more of it's religious, traditional details. In simple verbiage, it's continual wrongdoing. We can sit up here all day and argue over right and wrong, asking "What constitutes wrongdoing?" Admittedly or unadmittedly, within each one of us is a moral barometer that is fairly universal in nature. We all have at least some agreed understanding of sin, which crosses culture, race or religion.

On a smaller scale, sin can keep you living life with a tedious struggle over your selfish human nature and a more loving one. On a larger scale, it can ruin your career, reputation and livelihood leading to murder or physical imprisonment. Regardless, we can all agree with the notion that sin cost. And it's definitely not cheap! It has devastated families, tainted legacies.

Okay. So what's new, sin is still sin. It's detrimental and problematic; blah, blah, blah.

But for the Christian, there's hope. Especially in the area of sin's cost, we don't have to keep trying to pay for that heavy cost. As cliche as it may sound, Jesus paid for the heavy cost of sin. And that cost is unforgiveness coupled with eternal death. It's like having a huge iodine, blood or ketchup stain on your favorite, expensive outfit. As much as you seek to hand wash it, if the stain is locked into the fabric, it's not coming out. But how about this? Many of us aren't even trying to wash it out. Rather we're expecting it to automatically go away by osmosis, being in denial that it's even messing up the appearance of our outfit. Others clearly see the stain but agree with your denial, hoping you don't reveal to them their own huge spot on their own outfit.

The old sentiment goes like this:

 "Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you are willing to pay."

Thankfully, Jesus brought hope in the form of the ultimate stain remover. But in this case, the huge stain is not on your outfit, it's within your heart and soul. It's within mine. And Jesus' removal fee is free of charge, find out here. Acclaimed rapper Da' Truth said it like this, "Sin cost me but I ain't have it in the budget. But I paid for it though; I paid with my joy. I paid with my peace, and a boatload of trouble." Below is his song with this concept, listen to the lyrics.

Monday, April 2, 2012

HOPE Series: 12 Pick-Me-Up Songs

Many people are constantly looking for a pick-me-up. Be it a cafe in the morning or a bar in the evening, we all look for something to ease our moods. We desire something that will lift our spirits, while living in a world of turmoil. Often times, it's not in the little 5-hour energy bottle or online dating scene. Nor is it usually found in the night clubs on the weekend or days off from work. Yet, the simplest forms of major relief can be found in one single word: HOPE. This doesn't necessarily mean one's situation has dramatically changed. But rather one's perspective has done all the changing. You begin to see things, not just how they are but, how they could and should be. It caters well with the glass-half-full philosophy. And a great way to initiate it is through music. Music somehow places individuals in an emotional moment where nothing else matters, but that moment. Life is at ease and a better day is on the horizon. Here are a few musical renditions that do that very thing for me; maybe, they'll do it for you too.  

Check these out! (Click on the colorful word labels for listening/viewing:)

1.) Hopeful by Twista feat. Faith Evans... A flavorful pick-me-up

2.) I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin... An eternal perspective pick-me-up

3.) God is Truly Amazing by Deniece Williams... An amazing God pick-me-up

4.) How He Loves Us by Jesus Culture feat. Kim Walker... A ridiculously loved by God pick-me-up

5.) Unbreakable by Alicia Keys... A marriage pick-me-up

6.) Didn't You Know by Donnie McClurkin... A with you always, reassuring pick-me-up

7.) Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince... A summer's coming soon pick-me-up

8.) Hero by Mariah Carey... A motivational pick-me-up

9.) U Saved Me by R. Kelly... A 2nd chance given pick-me-up

10.) Golden by Jill Scott... A freedom pick-me-up

11.) There's Hope by India Arie... A hopeful gratitude pick-me-up

12.) You Gotta Be by Des'ree... A stout determination pick-me-up

Do you have any pick-me-songs that encourage you in a time of need?

If so, what are your 12?