Two members from TKHC have teamed up to minister to the world through video blogging. Check out their vlog adventures on their Youtube channel S-Cubed (Single, Sanctified and Saved).
I agree that the world would be far less creative and expressive without the entertainment or the industry itself. I suppose our leisure time would be taken up by more productive activities like learning a new language or volunteering instead of buying tickets to a Jay-Z concert or waiting in endless lines at the movie theater to see the next franchise installment.
Yes, entertainment and being entertained by certain individuals or activities is good but when and where do we draw the line in the Christian faith? We’ve slowly inched secular notes into holy sanctuaries. We’ve subtly condoned tighter and tighter garments for our Sunday wardrobe. In some ministries, they’ve even elevated and coveted “good singing” over the Word of God being preached on Sunday. Isn’t it amazing that nowadays we have churches filled with vessels of talent but not power? They don’t have power to cast out demons and lay hands on the sick and they shall recover in Jesus’ name but at least they can put on a good gospel concert! Would we really rather be entertained in exchange for our souls?
The days have long since passed when the saints of God gathered together on one accord: to glorify God. Now too may Sunday mornings are occupied by members judging who wore it best, the latest gossip on the pew or even worse a love connection that doesn’t involve Jesus. Church has been conformed into a club or social gathering. As a whole, we haven’t forsaken meeting together (Hebrews 10:25) as an assembly but I think in many ways we’ve neglected our purpose for meeting together as one which is to honor, and worship the King of Kings.
I recently visited a church that proves the point of this piece. I was only there briefly but I was disappointed by the little time I spent there. I went out on a Saturday night in support of an up and coming Gospel artist so of course I knew it was a service mainly dedicated to display the music. However it was still church. The songs were still about Jesus and as usual during a church service, prayer went forth. Only, not too many people seemed interested in intercessory prayer. Some even seemed bothered by it, uncomfortable even, to have their gathering of music open up with prayer. Their thoughts were almost visible as if to say “I’m feeling more so convicted than entertained”.
So how do we get back to the old way? For starters, we can stop compromising. Jesus didn’t have to sell the gospel to people. It’s a winning product all on its own. As Christians, we don’t have do what the world does to bring others to Christ. Peculiar people (1 Peter 2:9) should have other people being influenced by them, not the other way around. Second, we can do away with ulterior motives. For example, the praise and worship leader could not be promoting his own music during service or a choir member could stop trying to get discovered from the pulpit.
Amen, amen and amen.
Attention coffee drinkers! Did you know that many of the name-brand coffee beverages you consume contain high levels of caffeine that can potentially be harmful to your body in the long-run? If you’re going to consume your daily cup of “Joe” anyway, why not try a healthier alternative that gives you the same “pick-me-up” without the crash you get later from regular caffeinated drinks?
Sometimes it may feel awkward or seem like somewhat of a challenging approaching people who are different from you. It may feel even more difficult when taking on the task of inviting that someone to church but the least they can do is say “no”. So, why not keep trying until you finally get that “yes”? Most of the time, the encounter isn’t as bad as you imagined it to be.
Last night was Bible Study night and the topic was scoffing, particularly how people scoff each other in the church. Scoffing means to mock or make fun of. Sometimes we scoff in good fun, but as Pastor Goggins taught, a lot of times we scoff because we don’t understand. Here’s an example, take the “Black Church” into consideration. First off, “Black Church” “White Church” or any other denomination of church or place of worship, can have a negative connotation depending upon who says it or how it’s used in context. With that being said, the Black church, or more specifically how Black people worship/praise God, is often mocked. In a Black church service, people often “shout”, dance, speak in tongues (heavenly prayer language), and “fall out” (under the presence of God) as most people would say. To those that are unfamiliar with how this type of church operates, this seems comical, and is often laughed at.
Now, even though Thy Kingdom Has Come International Ministries’ congregation currently consists of all African-Americans, we are non-denominational, meaning that we welcome everyone. Black, White, Asian, European, whatever. The only requirement is that all must be believers in Christ. As I was saying, the Black church is seen as somewhat of a joke to outsiders because it appears to be strange or extravagant. I’ve often heard people say things like “It don’t take all that” or “She playing” or “No one catches the spirit that much”. Why would you say that if you’re not a part of or have never experienced this type of worship? It’s simply because you don’t understand it.
People fear what they don’t understand and when you don’t understand something, you question it. You poke fun at it, you imitate it and encourage others to do the same. I believe everyone, including myself is guilty of this. Not necessarily regarding church or the differences in worship, but in life in general. I remember being in grade school and snickering or whispering about a new Muslim student at school. She wore her head dressing to school everyday and as non-Muslim children, we didn’t understand why a kid like us would cover their head everyday. Same thing with people not understanding the Black church or another church that doesn’t praise and worship God the same way as the other.
I grew up in a Black church, so I’m very familiar with its customs. However, it’s not the only type of church or worship service I’ve ever experienced. Take the Methodist church for example. I had an uncle that was a pastor for a Methodist church. Not that it’s important, but he and his family are African-American, and his congregation was mostly White. The first time I visited their church, it was a bit of a culture shock, compared to what I’m used to. The service consisted of most of the same things my home church did such as praise and worship, greeting each other and the spoken Word of God. The twist was that everything was done differently. During praise and worship, their were no keyboards, upbeat singing and tambourines. Instead there was a choir that sang light, choral music out of hymn books, a piano and the drummer only played at one tempo. In a Black church, during the sermon members of the congregation often yell out things like “Amen”, “Preach” or “You talking right pastor” to reassure the pastor that they are understanding the message. In my family member’s Methodist church, it was very subdued and quiet during the word. No one was talking back from the pew.
I’ve been conditioned in the Black church so needless to say I prefer it over any other but my point in making that comparison is to say that although the Methodist church was different from mine, they had one thing in common, and that was the Word of God. Although different from what I was used to, I didn’t make fun of how they presented it. As a matter of fact, it was interesting to see the differences. As we learned in Bible Study last night, there should be differences in worship. This is especially true for TKHC because we are international so we have to appeal to more than just one type of people. Can you imagine the type of worship experience we would have if we incorporated everyone and how they exalt the Father?
Here’s another sidebar from my life. Once while in college, I remember walking down the hall to meet a professor. While I was waiting, I heard another one of my professors talking to another student about her church and how she sings in the Gospel choir there. Again, to help prove my point, I went to an HBCU but my professors were ethnically mixed. Only one was African-American. My former professor I overheard talking was a Dutch-White American and had converted to Christianity. So anyway, when I heard her start singing “I need you, you need me, we’re all a part of God’s body” from popular Gospel artist Hezekiah Walker’s song “I Need You to Survive”, I was a little surprised but at the same time blessed by what I had heard because it helped me to realize the power of neglecting what we see on the outside and embrace who we see on the inside, which in this case, is Christ.
I can’t wait until our congregation starts filling up with different faces and nationalities. We don’t want to typecast our members. If they’re willing to do the work and be a apart of the team then they can gladly come and fill the position of an empty seat. As brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s try to embrace our differences, not shun each other way because of them. If we adopt the philosophy that there is one God and symbolically unify as one church where everyone is welcome, we’ll be a lot more effective in winning over souls for the Kingdom.
Picture source: http://genewolfenbarger.com/?m=201107
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“The scariest moment is always just before you start”. –Stephen King