Thursday, May 13, 2010

A couple of days back a friend sent me this video and I couldn't help but laugh. It was funny but deep down I found it utterly ironic and was shocked at how it aptly represented what most youths find appealing in today's concept of worship.

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Watching this video brought some key things to light in regards to what today's youth are after in worship. I want to start of by saying that first and for-most ...worship is not meant to be cool or hip or the "in thing". I mean lets be serious do you think that it was because the disciples lacked marketing skills that they got persecuted?

Today, so many churches are succumbing to the pressures of making their church a more lively and cool environment to attract a younger crowd. It started with a change in wardrobe, wearing more casual clothes to church. Most pastors have given up the traditional suit and tie and racked their closet with jeans to make people feel that church is more comfortable and casual and less "formal". This in itself wasn't a problem, some people make church too formal, I agree. The problem arises when you start to make church too casual and start to take for-granted the holiness and reverence that God deserves. I have to dress up for school every day because I am representing the school and its apparent professionalism.  If I have to dress up for school, why wouldn't I want to dress more appropriately for church when I am in the presence of one who deserves more honor and reverence then my dean.

Praise and Worship has become a calculated method to draw crowds. Lets be honest, most people when searching for churches, search for two things: 1. How good is the praise and worship, 2. How is the message. Praise and worship has become a selling point rather then what it was meant to be, adoration to your father. It’s that cool rock band style concert setting where everyone in the audience (I say audience because that is what its becoming) is jumping and shouting in one accord in a darkly lit room. Who needs tickets when there's a church around the corner; every Sunday is a free concert.

Acceptance: this is another selling point for most churches these days. We accept everything. Everyone likes the idea that everything is okay and as long as you are showing up on Sunday no one will ask questions as to the apparent sinful life you're leading. I am not talking about past sins, God forgives, therefore, man should as well (churches need to realize this as well). I am speaking more about being afraid to correct someone because they will leave or not think that the institution of church is cool. Church is not meant to call out and cast out the hurting sinner, but the church at the same time has the responsibility to help their believers live a life that is pleasing to God. What is the point of church if there is no relationship between members. It was created so that believers could have a community in which they can face their problems together.

I am a huge fan of messages that are thought out and creative. I love it when pastors use props and commercial ideas to drive their point home. At the same time, I also like the message to have meat. Dear pastors, do not lose the content of your message in order to keep the congregations attention. More then interesting slideshows and gimmicks what they need is the true meaning of God's word that came from him through you.

None of these things are necessarily wrong on their own as long as the true intention of winning believers and not crowds is there. Dear Readers, I urge you not to get caught up in over commercialized Christianity but rather be filled with content and seek true worship. If you are currently attending a church that uses gimmicks and tactics to draw in a crowd, pray for them to truly be lined with the will of God.

Remember that true worship needs none of the above, only a contrite spirit and broken heart.

Happy Thinking

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I had a friend text me recently about an incident that occurred in his church. The text message was about how an older lady of the church stood up to protest the abhorrent use of cellphones to text during service, she humbly requested that all the youth of the church be asked to leave their cellphones in the office of the pastor during service times. He texted me during church service.

Has it really gotten that bad?

It seems that over time technology has become a deterrent for attention spans during church services. There are exceptions to the rule. For example if you are a doctor on call and you have to leave your pager of blackberry on for the sake of someones life, or if there is a particular and very specific reason as to why your cellphone is on during church, its acceptable. For the general public, you are only required about an hour-two hours a week to sit and spend in church. It is disrespectful and rude to be on your phones texting to each other. I mean SERIOUSLY you are not that important, quit trying to act like OBAMA needed to reach you during the pastor's sermon.

You would not be in a meeting with your boss and be texting your friends, it wouldn't be professional. Why should church be any different? If you aren't paying attention during class or you are being a disruption to the students around you, you are generally asked to leave. Most professors don't tolerate students on their cellphones during class. If you don't want to be there, you don't have to be, but if you are going to stay for the sake of your reputation, PLEASE refrain from taking this holy experience away from someone else due to your utter disregard for respect.

Being a public speaker on a few occasions, I cannot begin to tell you how distracting it is for me when people are not paying attention, or playing with their phones or dozing off, it makes me lose my train of thought and it makes me doubt the truth and relevance of what I am saying. It is distracting from the other side of the pulpit also.

Over the past winter break I heard about an instance about a man who brought his laptop to service to watch a football game! I was appalled, because as it so happens it was during the service in which we had a play that I had worked an entire two weeks to help put together. If he did not want to be there, he had the option of being at home and watching the game on his LCD, why ruin the experience by watching on it a 13' laptop in dim lighting and low sound quality? MORE IMPORTANTLY, why ruin the atmosphere of the play and make it seem unworthy of your attention?  

It is not only about your experience, think about the message you are passing on to those who are younger then you. What do you think they learn when they watch you, time and time again not paying attention and finding something "better" to do?

The entire point of this page long rant is to let you know that if you are "RAD" enough to text during church then you are "RAD" enough to not come. It is hypocritical for you to come on account that someone might say something about your reputation! You are not above it and you are DEFINITELY not TOO COOL. Please stop being a distraction and disruption for those of us who want to hear and want to pay attention.

Today's message was all about HOPE.
Derived from Malachi 4:5&6

Disclaimer: I wasn't feeling all that great this sunday so I didn't take extensive notes as I normally do and Just have a general overview.

The pastor spoke about the importance of having hope in our lives; especially during troubled times. Its easy to hope when things are going good but its more important to hope when things are going bad. The two ways we can better HOPE? is

1. We can Recognize the Opportunity to HOPE
2. We can GRASP the opportunity to HOPE

(I reserve the right to revise these notes)


Here is a shout out to all the mothers out there. Who raised amazing children and stuck through it even THOUGH we are difficult almost all of the time. Thanks for all you do. Without you we wouldn't be here (literally). We love you!

Dear Readers,

Hope your mothers day went amazing! hope your sunday was lovely. I hope your weekend was even better!

Pseudo 131

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Today I studied at the "fishbowl" at school. The "fishbowl" is a name given to the student lounge room?, perhaps thats not the best definition. It is a room for student use, it has a white board, two televisions, access to the balcony (which apparently was supposed to be off limits)-oops. upon further inspection, it also has a chalk board. Several chairs are placed around the room and it has a huge table in the center. Generally on an average day this room is taken up by students who are casually studying for an exam and don't mind the occasional interruption by passerby's. OH! I forgot to mention the room is surrounded by glass windows so everyone can see whats going on inside....(ala the name fishbowl). On most day's I find it difficult to study here because there is no privacy and sometimes i like to eat while studying (and I can't in front of others). The point is, TODAY, on a saturday, I started off being left with no option but to study in the fishbowl with a friend when I realized that all other study rooms where taken. I sat down. The lights are off and I am studying with the sunlight coming in from outside. It is extremely peaceful. I have come to a realization. I WANT AN OFFICE SPACE JUST LIKE THE FISHBOWL. I wish I could find a picture of an office space that could adequately describe what I am talking about. If you watch Eli Stone (you probably don't- this is an entry for another day.) his upgraded office (which previously used to be the library) IS PERFECT. ( If you are wondering, I already googled Eli Stone Office- no such luck).  I have come up with a plausible solution for the privacy issue, I am going to add blinds, the kind you can draw up mechanically. That way when I have private meetings or need TO GORGE down food, or maybe pace to get my thoughts out, (I also pace when I am on the phone), I will be able to do so without judgement. So NE ways I will one day have an office that is perfectly amazing! I don't have an image as of yet. But I will find one. And if you have any office space dreams send me pictures or leave a comment. =)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Driving down the road on a hot summer day on my way to get a sonic treat and I hear this song, “its gotta be more like falling in love, then something to believe in, more like losing my heart then giving my allegiance, caught up called out, come take a look at me now.” I start to sing along even though I don’t fully know the lyrics because I find it to be true.

The stanza’s start off by “give me rules I will break them, show me lines I will cross them, I need more then a truth to believe in, I need a truth that lives, moves and breathes, to sweep me off my feet.” I though to myself  “your preaching to the choir.” I am genetically inclined to break rules rather then follow. I like to shape the mould and I definitely  (for the longest time I had such difficulty spelling this word) had some difficulty with that lesson about staying within lines. Behind the fa├žade of a type A perfectionist is a messy, take no prisoners, whirlwind rule breaker with a heart of gold (if I may add).

Growing up in the Malayalee, Pentecostal church I know all about the rule following Christian. The typical, attend all services, wear white and if you’re a guy, remove facial hair Christian. No room for mistakes, NONE. How can you make mistakes? There is a  “HOW TO GUIDE” called the bible and everything that’s not mentioned is written in the CHURCH doctrine. The song reminded me that being a Christian isn’t about following rules which are written or giving allegiance, its about falling in love with a savior who is absolutely amazing. 

The thing about love is its MESSY. It’s not a set of rules that can be followed or lines that can be set. It’s about developing a relationship with someone. If you ask me the world has yet to come up with a good “how to develop a relationship” guide. Relationships vary based on individuals.  I feel that the reason why many people hesitate to become associated with Christianity is because of the negative connotation of a bible beating, sign wielding, rule follower. If they could only see the love that keeps us bound to Christ then maybe they would understand. Rules are not always understood by all people. In fact rules change, interpretations are different but one thing that doesn’t change is love. People can easily grasp the concept of love. It’s hard to ignore when it’s all around. Christianity is meant to be more like falling in love, something you just can’t help. You can’t help but do what you must to make someone you love happy. Rules aren’t needed to be a Christ follower, only love. The rest will undoubtedly follow.

Good Night and Good Thinking.

Monday, May 3, 2010

So I realized something. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a realization it was more of an acknowledgement of something that just is. I am attention hungry. Not in the rude obnoxious, pay attention to me, me, me, me, all the time way. I am not selfish. I don’t believe that I am anything special but I expect to be the center of attention for those that love me or care for me. I like to know that I am the shining star in their lives. Maybe this is because this is how it has always been.  I can’t tell you exactly why things are this way but I can tell you that is how they are. For example I like to know that my parents secretly love me best ;)  I generally like to be in a state of approval from all peers and professors.  I like being favored (don’t know if I could have survived as LEAH).

As I acknowledged this or allowed this thought to enter, I also decided I was going to admit something else. I wanted my husband (future) to love me in the same way. I wanted to be number one on his list. The only person he cares about. And if I were being perfectly honest I would admit that sometimes my selfish nature would want to be loved even over his love for God. (WAIT) (WAIT) – (don’t stop reading). I mean I never understood the people that would want a husband that Loved God first and for-most. The selfish attention-seeker inside did not want to permit a greater love then I received.

It wasn’t until I got older and became more mature (not all that much) as a Christian did I realize the content of this prayer. Ladies, you want a man that loves God FIRST. Without God, we don’t know what LOVE is. It becomes just an emotion or a feeling. FEELINGS don’t get you through hard times or rough patches. In fact, feelings have this awful habit of fading due to circumstances. God is LOVE. Therefore he teaches us how to love like he has. If your man can love God more than anything else, being second best isn’t going to leave anything lacking in your life. The same concept applies to men or parents. Parents, take a minute and think. If you can learn to love God more then your children you can learn to give your children the right kind of love.

I know this hard to swallow, and even harder to practice. I can tell you honestly in my life that sometimes God takes second or even third place when it comes to my list of loves. I want to love God first cause if I learn to do that then I can show perfect love to all others in my love.

Just a thought for the evening. Happy thinking.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Today I woke up and was almost late for church but surprisingly made it early to the service. Over all it was a good message and something that can help every christian further their walk with christ and live a practical christian life.

Title: Following God With Your Whole Heart
Passage: Joshua 14:6-13


6-12 The people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite spoke: "You'll remember what God said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me back at Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of God sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. And I brought back an honest and accurate report. My companions who went with me discouraged the people, but I stuck to my guns, totally with God, my God. That was the day that Moses solemnly promised, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance, you and your children's, forever. Yes, you have lived totally for God.' Now look at me: God has kept me alive, as he promised. It is now forty-five years since God spoke this word to Moses, years in which Israel wandered in the wilderness. And here I am today, eighty-five years old! I'm as strong as I was the day Moses sent me out. I'm as strong as ever in battle, whether coming or going. So give me this hill country that God promised me. You yourself heard the report, that the Anakim were there with their great fortress cities. If God goes with me, I will drive them out, just as God said."

 13-14 Joshua blessed him. He gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh as an inheritance. Hebron belongs to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite still today, because he gave himself totally to God, the God of Israel.

The literal meaning of the name Caleb is one who follows God like a dog.

The story of Caleb is one of someone who wanted to go from being good to being great. Something every christian needs in their lives is to learn to go from just simply being good christians to being GREAT christians. The israelites were in a place of goodness in the wilderness. They were able to experience God's mercy and grace but it was also a place of monotony. What they needed was to go to a place of GREATNESS. They needed the promise land where they would have their victory.

There are three things that can be taken away from the story of Caleb, or rather three distinct aspects that can be focused on. Three characters that defined a great man of God.

Persistance- when God gives you a promise you should never release it. Have you ever heard of a person with a winning lottery ticket that never cashed it?
- In my family we never cash claim rebates, we have become horrible at it. The sad thing is that is guaranteed money back that belongs to you. Thats how it is when you don't cash in on a promise that God has given to you. It's there its waiting for you to reach out and grab it, but unlike manufacturing companies of the world who are hoping that you will forget to cash in on the rebates and money back guarantees, God wants you receive the promises he has in store for you.

Endurance- Joshua 13:1- God not only preserved the promise for the man, God preserved the man for the promise. Just because Caleb and Joshua got old doesn't mean that they were not going to be the ones that achieved the promise that God had in store for them. When you follow God whole-heartidly, you never retire. Half hearted christians are also faint hearted christians.
- The story of D.L Moody shows how God ALWAYS honors AVAILABILITY
-Christian life is not a sprint its a MARATHON

- Courage is not the absence of fear it is the ability  to face fears and move on
-Courage is being the only one who knows how terrified you really are

NEVER: BACK up, GIVE up, SHUTup, UNTIL YOU ARE: CAUGHT up in his glory.

Israel constantly had a "grasshopper complex"- They feared that the enemy was too big for them
-The giants that you are facing within have to be conquered first
-The truth of the situation was the enemy was scared senseless of the israelites they never viewed them as GRASSHOPPERS

When you have God's strength you'll be willing to take on hell with a water pistol
-Ephesians 6- be willing to put on the whole armor of GOD.

Today's message was just a reminder that we should put our whole trust in God and follow him whole-heartidly, relying only on his strength.