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Posts Tagged ‘God’

Letter to My Sister, Erykah Badu

April 16, 2010 1 comment

Sister Badu, I’ve been a fan of your music since you have been on the scene since Baduism. You were representing D-Town (Dallas) when no one else dare to and for that I am extremely grateful. I even heard stories about you being a rapper before you were a singer from people who knew you from the North Dallas Area. (Even D.O.C. wouldn’t represent Dallas, but you did!)

I woke up one Monday morning, to read an article in an online paper concerning the video for your song “Window Seat.” I must confess that I had not viewed the video (for reasons I will share later) until after your response to my tweet. I apologize if it seemed as if my tweet purported to be fact and I wanted to make sure that you knew it was my opinion.

Here was my original tweet:

Let’s call it wht its: @fatbellybella stripped 2 sell records & get attention. (sic)its wht its… Have a gd morning ths morning!

You responded with this tweet:

sir, I make ZERO dollars from saling (sic) records you are ill informed and Jesus would not like it one bit .u leading the people wrong

You also tweeted this after I asked for more clarity:

peace I meant you were being quite judgemental w/out a bit of proof nor truth and led the reader to believe u were an authority

After looking at your tweet, I thought about it. By the way, your tweet was hilarious and it made my day. I agree with you that my tweet may have come off as fact. I sincerely apologize if I offended you by not stating that is was my opinion. Although I still stand by the content of what I said, I think I should have made it more clear what I actually thought.

After some thought, I decided to view the video, so that I could see what your work and respond with more insight. I also read the interview that you did on this blog: and found your response to be enlightening. This is my take on the video:

My Observations of Your Video

In the video, I saw your angle about “groupthink” — that people shouldn’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary. I also saw how you were assassinated, died and were “reborn” a new person. It reminded me of another person that happened to: Jesus Christ.

The JFK angle was an interesting touch. You shot the video on the “grassy knoll” outside the library. In the beginning of the video, you jumped out of a 60’s style white town car, sort of like the one JFK was riding in when he was assassinated.

There were multiple messages including death and rebirth, being an individual, and the bondage of groupthink. It was just like you said there were multiple messages and people could have taken a lot out of the video. Even the filming of the video of itself was new and cutting edge. The video was different from a lot of videos made today.

The Goodness of Art

Sister, I believe that all art is created by God and through Jesus Christ. Gen 1:1, John 1:2. And when God created Art he created it good. Gen. 1:31, John 1:1. Good art is beautiful and reminds us of the beauty of God.

When Satan came in the garden he corrupted what God had created, by tempting man to sin, which Adam gave into. Genesis 3. The very creation that God had beautifully declared to be good was marred and disfigured by sin. Marriage was distorted. Relationships were distorted. Music was distorted. Art was distorted. Because of Man’s sinful nature and the influence of Satan, art created pure and for his glory has been defiled.

“Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God. Whatever we build our life on will drive us and enslave us. Sin is primarily idolatry.” – Tim Keller

How does this relate to art? When art or anything else becomes the place by which we build our life and gives us meaning, it becomes a God thing. It takes us farther than we ever really wanted to go and it morphs from a good thing to something that we worship — a God thing, as Marc Driscoll would say.

I believe that your video had many messages that were good and thought–provoking, but I think it crossed the line from a good thing to a God thing, when the body that God gave you to glorify him was used to glorify Art. Sister, you are a beautiful soul, but your body was meant for the view and enjoyment of your husband. Part of the reason why I was so reluctant to watch it was because I didn’t want to look at what did not belong to me. God loves the fact that two married lovers can enjoy each other’s body. So your body wasn’t wrong, it’s just the purpose you used it for was wrong. The ironic thing is that the potentially good messages that were portrayed in your video were devalued and even demonized by a good number of males, because they were staring at your buttocks.

If I had to shorten my statement, for some people the video became pornography. For proof, look at some of the YouTube message boards. They were filled with men lusting after you and fulfilling their selfish desires with your body. They missed the message and you became the object of their affection and worship. As one who has struggled with porn, I know. Porn has destroyed many of my relationships, and it helped me to view women as objects of art to be worshipped, rather than a human being created in the image of God.

Does that mean art is bad thing?

No, art can be redeemed. It is why Jesus Christ left heaven and came to earth. More than assassinated, he was appointed by God the Father to die. It was Jesus Christ destiny to die at the hands of his Father. The bible declares that it pleased God the Father to crush his own son? Isaiah 53:11. Why? God must punish sin, and instead of taking his wrath and vengeance out on us, who have no righteousness, he took it out on his own son. Romans 3:10 What happened to Jesus was more than assassination— it was atonement. He died for us ungodly human beings. Romans 5:8. Jesus then rises again in three days in a new, glorified body, never to die again. John 21. In fact, He is now in heaven as the Man. Acts 1:8,9 His resurrection is the beginning of a New World Order full of love and peace that will see its fulfillment when he comes back again. This old world is quickly dying.

How does this relate to art?

Well Jesus isn’t only going to redeem people, but he is going to redeem his creation and that includes art. Romans 8:21‑39. Jesus will rule with his redeemed people on this redeemed earth. People will be changed by the glory of their Savior. 2 Cor. 4:4‑6. Some of these changed people will then begin to take back and transform that which the devil has corrupted — like art.

In various art forms and genres, God is precisely taking those art forms and reconciling them back to Him for his glory! For instance check out Sho Baraka and his video, “We Can Be More.”

When Christ-followers view or listen to anything artistic, they should ask the question: does this work of art bring fame (glory) to the name of God and to his Son Jesus Christ?  I Cor. 10:11. No, everything that gives God glory doesn’t have to say his name. A beautiful sunrise declares his glory. I also believed that some of your songs do that as well.

Sister Badu, am I asking you to change what you do? Actually no, I’m not. I’m a Christian preacher and I have learned that telling people to stop sinning that may not be Christian is pointless. No sister, I’m looking deeper.

In your video, you died and were reborn a queen. There was a part of you that you felt died while shooting this video. I think this is similar to what God is calling us to do. He is calling us to die to ourselves and our desire to run our life, and follow Christ. That’s death to idolatry, to sin, and ultimately to our selves and our right to exist outside of the plan of God. On the flip side, God raises us up in new life with Christ so that now we have freedom. We are now a kingdom of priests – a royal priesthood.

I don’t know if you believe that Jesus Christ is your Master and Savior, but God leaves you with a decision to make. It will be the biggest decision of your life. If you repent from your sins and trust that the Lord Jesus rose again from the dead you shall be saved. Romans 10:9. The result of you making that decision will be new life with Christ Jesus forever. If you say no to Jesus, you are essentially saying to God, “I’m fine, I will bear your wrath, myself.” Embrace the Love of your life. I John 4:10. Sister Erykah, I desperately want to see you in the “Next Lifetime.”

With much Love and Affection from your brother in this life and, God-willing, the next,

P. Ngwolo

He is the Holy Spirit…

October 16, 2009 3 comments

WITNESS front

In teaching on the Holy Spirit’s role in Acts, I saw a few things I wanted to share about Him:

*  He can’t be caught. “Catching the Spirit” is an expression that is tied to tradition and not truth.  The Spirit can move in a church service (Acts 2), but he can move any and anywhere he feels.  He is God.  Acts 5:3-4

*He is not an it.  The Spirit is not an it or impersonal force.  He is a person.  John 16:7

*He is the third person of the Triune God.  Matthew 28:19.  But the members of the Trinity are still one God.  Romans 6:4

*He is the Gift that God the Father gives to those who trust in Jesus for salvation.  Acts 2:38

*He won’t leave you.  He comes to live inside of you and is a seal of your salvation.  Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:12.

*He is necessary to live out the lifestyle of the believer in Jesus.  Romans 8:5, Galations 5:16.

*He changes the worship game.  Before Jesus came to earth, the Holy Spirit lived in the temple, which was where you came to worship.  There was one place that people came to worship the One God and that was the temple in Jerusalem.  Now, the Holy Spirit lives in those who have trusted in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  We become the temples and the places of worship.  Our life and how we live it becomes an act of worship to God.  John 4:24; Romans 12:1.

*He makes living the a life in Christ exciting.  Listen for Him!

Done with “The Chu’ch: Together We Stand.”

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Chu'ch-1

Kinfolk, we had a wonderful time in studying the book of Ephesians through the series entitled: “The Chu’ch: Together We Stand.” We began to see our true identity in Christ Jesus and how God loves us dearly, so much so that he had a plan before the world existed to bring us into a permanent relationship with him through Jesus, even when we were going to diss Him for stuff He created. (Ephesians 1)  I have been personally challenged to see that the greatest force for social change in the world is the gospel  — the good news about Jesus Christ.  Further, I see that the ones who are used by God to carry the news and be part of the change is the church  — the worldwide group of people who call Jesus the Master of their lives.  We have also seen people grow closer to God and closer to each other by hearing God’s Word to the Ephesians.  My prayer is that the best is yet to come!

He Reversed the Curse!!!

July 20, 2009 5 comments

 

 

hereversedthecurse

Kinfolk, I haven’t posted in a while.  So, Hello!  This was a message (link above) delivered on July 12, 2009 and is based on Genesis 3:14-19.  Through Adam, curses came into the world which have affected us, our relationships with God, and our relationships with people.  However Jesus has reversed the curse! 

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[Day 1] The Chu’ch: Together We Stand — The Issues at Ephesus, Part 3

June 24, 2009 3 comments

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21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”

22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way.

24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen.

25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth.

26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.

27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”

28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel.

30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him.

31 And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater.

32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together.

33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd.

34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?

36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash.

37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess.

38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another.

39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly.

40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.”

41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

IDOLATRY

Idolatry is making a “good” thing “ultimate”.  God created everything and everything he created he deemed to be “good.”  Genesis 1.  Any created thing that you put before God, is idolatry and it can be as subtle as valuing your education too much to having a heroin addiction.  Anything can become an idol when we put it before the One who should be worshipped.  Human beings are, by nature, worshippers, who will worship something – Creator or created.  We have to worship.  Romans 1:25.

We see from the text that Paul declares idols to be only “God’s made by hands”.  That is, idols promise the world, take everything from you, and give you nothing in return. Idolatry is often linked with where we spend our time, talent, and our treasure and taking our idols from us often leads to violence. Acts 19:29.  The people of Ephesus were willing to drag innocent folk around and shout for two hours in praise of a non-existent god called Artemis.  It is rumored that almost 20,000 people were probably in the amphitheater at the time.  Also, notice how the idolatry of the people of Ephesus, was big business for other people to profit from.   Acts 19:25.  Kind of like how Paris Hilton, Lil Wayne and reality TV generate so much money, because people follow their every move, consume anything that they produce, where anything that they wear, and hang on to anything that they say.

Forms of Idolatry:

Celebrities: Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, Beyonce, etc.

Sometimes people begin to follow and model themselves and their thinking after these stars.  For me Tupac, Jay-Z, and Nas were the ones who most shaped my thinking.  They were my preachers who spoke into my life and whose lyrics I can still quote verbatim today.  Man, when I was in high school, I would shave my head bald and wear those locs that R. Kelly used to wear.

Ideas: Democracy, Capitalism, Materialism.  Whole world systems are built on these and other ideas.  When we trust into any of these -isms, we can then put money or democracy over the living God.  The economy right now is proof that even capitalism and the free market can fail you and that the only person worth putting absolute trust in is not Greenspan or Bernanke, but Jesus.

Relationships:  There are people who base their identity on their romantic relationships.  Some folk compromise their values and themselves to be with the one they “love.”

Vocational Idols:  We can be so driven to meet our career goals that we forsake everything including our own life and family to meet them.

Religious Idols:  Pastors, teachers, leaders, can become more a god to look to for everything, instead of a man who is being used by God to preach the Word of God.  Do you leave your church service or just don’t come, if your favorite Pastor is not preaching?  You may have an idol problem.

Families:  Sons, daughters, parents,  family code.  Some times people make their children or the ultimate thing going on in their life, even over God.  The children of these child-worshippers become rotten with God-like egos.   Some folk make their parents the object of their worship, seeking approval from them well into adulthood.

Things:  television, internet. (Facebook and Twitter can be mad addictive.)

Food:  Some of us eat when we are depressed, eat when we are tired, eat because it taste good,  and eat when we are having a bad day.  Sounds like worship doesn’t it?

Idols can be vocational, cultural, religious, spiritual, relational, and physical.  Anything that you make ultimate is an idol.

What can we do:

  • Recognize that these idols are created and not the Creator.  Romans 1:25
  • Recognize that idols promise the world, take all you have, and give nothing in return, leaving you empty.
  • Recognize that you are a worshipper and that you have illegitimate things that you worship outside of God.  1 John 1:8
  • Recognize that you must replace idol worship with God worship?
  • Recognize and believe that you can recover from idol worship?  I John 1:9
  • To determine idolatry in your life, answer these questions:
    • Where do you run to for comfort?
    • Whom do you go get counsel from?
    • Where do you spend your leisure money?
    • What do you feel like you can’t live without?
    • What do you prioritize in your life? 

We are all susceptible to idolatry.  Smash those idols and worship Jesus. 

[Day 1] The Chu’ch: Together We Stand — The Issues at Ephesus, Part 2

June 9, 2009 6 comments

Chu'ch-1

And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12  so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13    Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14   Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15    But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16         And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily[1]  ACTS 19:11-20 

  

Negative Spirituality

Ephesus was dealing with a lot of negative spirituality.  God uses Paul to do miracles and cast out demons.  Sometimes just by having handkerchiefs touch him and be distributed, people would be made whole.  Now 7 guys whose daddy was a Jewish priest see the miracles that are happening through Paul and say let’s try to use the name that Paul was using and cast out a demon. 

Ephesus at the time was known for its use of magic and witchcraft.  Folk would try to manipulate situations through the spirit realm to try to get what they wanted.  So if I wanted a certain girl, I would chant some magic name hoping that the spirit that I called up would help me get the girl.  Lots of weird stuff, but no different than the “name it, and claim it”, wiccan,  “law of confession,” and “the law of attraction” stuff we have today.   

Needless to say, these guys were unsuccessful and ended up getting exorcised themselves.  They were thrown out of the house, naked and ashamed.  The people were so amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit vs. the power of their magic that they brought all their magic books and burnt them.  The amount of books burned that day amounted to 50,000 days of wages.

So what is negative spirituality?  How do I know I fall into this category?  You might be practicing negative spirituality if:

  • You say, “I am not religious, I’m spiritual.”
  • You dabble in self-help books like “The Secret” and “The Law of Attraction.”
  • You mess around with astrological signs, witchcraft, psychics, tarot cards, palm reading, and ouiji boards.
  • You approach your relationship with God as you would a Genie.  “If I pray a certain way or tithe a certain amount, God you are obligated to bless me.”
  • You think that their other ways to reach God.
  • “You believe in a higher power, but not sure of his name”.  There are other powers in the world, they just happen to be demonic and not good for proper worship. Lol.
  • “All roads lead to heaven.”  Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.  Broad is the gate that leads to destruction. 
  • You are overly superstitious.  You sleep with a bible under you bed.  You wear a cross for good luck.  Kinfolk, trust in the one who was on the cross and is now risen.  Wearing a cross for good luck is like wearing an electric chair around your neck in this day and age. 

Advice:  Like the Ephesian believers in Jesus, cut anything that you see on the list above from your life totally and completely.  None of these things are from God and none of them bring Him any glory.  And many of these things are harmful to your own spiritual health.  Trust in Jesus completely for your salvation and YOUR SAFETY and you will be okay!  Jesus has crushed sin and satan, once and for all.  Colossians 2:15.

Loving the Homeless

May 20, 2009 Leave a comment

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The Good Hope Baptist Church Young Adult Ministry, otherwise known as the City, went out as representatives of Jesus to the homeless community.  The people in the ministry are some of God’s greatest servants and I love them for their spirit and hard work.  Here is the testimony of one of the organizers of Loving the Homeless, Shalonda Hurd:

On Saturday, April 25, 2009, The City (Good Hope Young Adult Ministry) hit the streets of downtown Houston to feed the homeless.  We were joined by young adults from Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church & The Fountain of Praise.  In total, about 50 people participated. Through food and monetary donations from the Good Hope family, we were able to distribute 150 sack lunches that day and will be distributing 100 more in June.  Included in each sack lunch was a typed insert, designed to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our goal was to feed souls that day, as well as their physical bodies.  We talked and prayed with many of the homeless people we met and attempted to meet other physical needs, when possible.  We believe God was glorified, as multiple people gave their lives to Christ that day.

Though we set out to be a blessing that day, we ending up being blessed in the process.  many of the people we encountered shared stories and experiences that really put life and God’s blessings in perspective.  They had a great spirit of gratitude for the church’s generosity.  Though we provided them with a meal that would feed their mouths for a day, they provided us with an experience that we’ll carry with us for a lifetime.  We all returned to the church that day feeling extremely blessed to have experienced it all and ready for the next go around

 

Our behavior and our commitment to those that are need is a sure indicator to God about where our hearts are.  Matthew 25:31-46.  Pictures are forthcoming.