Saturday, March 22, 2008

What do we do with this Jesus?

The following words were penned by Douglas Kaine McKelvey for the liner notes of the 2000 Jesus miniseries soundtrack. I love the picture that McKelvey paints of the Jesus that I know and love -- the Savior who stood up for the mistreated and loved all those that crossed His path. I think it's especially appropriate as we remember Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Read on...

"What do we do with this Jesus? This was the question on everyone's mind at the swing-point of history 2000 years ago. The Jews, the Romans, Herod, Pilate, the High Priests, even Jesus' own disciples - they all found themselves wrestling with the same perplexing question: "What do we do with this man?" For some reason he didn't seem to fit very conveniently into anyone's agenda - personal, national, religious or otherwise. The Jews wanted a warrior king to drive the occupying Roman army out of the promised land. The Roman's wanted to maintain and expand their empire over the known world. Everyone else just wanted what people everywhere have always wanted: pleasure and prosperity and to be left alone.

Jesus came along and upset all of that. He refused power. He didn't seek fame. He treated the pleasures of this life as inconsequential. He humbled himself as a servant and his selflessness alone became a walking indictment of all human agendas - base and noble alike. It's no wonder he made people nervous. He was like a splinter in the soul. Even those who despised him couldn't ignore him. They buzzed around him constantly, angry and perplexed.

In their defense, his presence must have been a bit overwhelming. The story of his life on earth are more than we seem eager to contend with today, but people then had no choice but to physically rub shoulders with him. They walked the same dusty roads and breathed the same air. There wasn't any getting away from it. He kept popping up at odd moments, infuriating people with his compassion, perplexing them with his gentle wisdom, and frightening them with his unbearable love. And then there was the whole business about claiming to be the Son of God.

Truth is, Jesus was an absolute scandal. He taught that the least were the greatest, the rejected were the blessed, the wise were the foolish, the weak were the strong, and the secure were the lost. He taught that people should selflessly love, not just their friends and families - which would have been difficult enough - but strangers and enemies as well. He called on those possessed by their possessions to leave their wealth behind to follow him into a life of uncertain suffering for the one promised consolation of his love.

His words grew so appalling one afternoon that many of his followers gave it up for good and returned home, muttering that his teaching was too hard. They had had enough. Those who stayed were apparently in too deep already. Most scandalous of all was the way Jesus publicly and persistently rejected the proud, self-righteous religious leaders of the day and instead drew prostitutes, half-breeds, political revolutionaries, smelly fisherman, and turncoat tax-collectors into his circle of friends - all of whom soon and somehow found themselves, by his very acceptance, transformed from what they had always thought they were into a new existence as children of God.

It's one of the eternal ironies surrounding Jesus that those who allowed the exposure of their own weakness, shame, and guilt were the very ones who were afterward able to drink with joy from the fountains of eternal forgiveness and love, while those who fought desperately to prop up their own crumbling facades of self-righteousness were in the end reduced to a ridiculous position, raging blindly against love and their own liberation. Jesus was always hard to take that way - an insult, even - because beneath it all, it seemed that everyone needed him whether they wanted to or not, prostitutes and Pharisees alike.

And that really was the crux of the problem. His very nature exposed the heart and forced the hand of everyone around him so that in the end, after the haze and baggage burned away, it was all laid out pretty simply. You were left with only two possible ways of answering the question "What do we do with this Jesus?" You could either follow him or you could crucify him.

2000 years of science, progress and religion don't seem to have changed things for us all that much. The human heart is still the human heart. Nuclear power, psychotherapy, and satellite television notwithstanding, most of us still find ourselves - in our more honest moments - faced with the same troubling question and the same simple options that perplexed Christ's contemporaries...

"What do we do with this Jesus?" It is something to think about...

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Prosperity Gospel

Some conversations that I have had recently and some preachers that I've been watching on T.V. have gotten me thinking about is commonly known as "The Prosperity Gospel." This is the teaching that when one is truly obeying God and in God's favor then financial, material and physical blessings will follow. While it is true that blessings do come from God (James 1:17), it does great violence to the gospel to teach that money and stuff and limited visits to the doctor are an indication of one's strong faith or, on the otherhand, that financial challenges or sickness somehow indicate one's lack of faith.

As I grow older and mature in my relationship with Christ, I find myself coming into a much greater understanding of what the Gospel really means. I've found that my prayers have shifted from asking God to change my circumstances to prayers to change me in the midst of my circumstances. Although it is natural for us to want to be "prosperous," I find that it is during these times of comfort and ease that I'm most tempted to rely on myself and my own efforts. It is in the times of need and brokenness that I turn to my heavenly Father.

For those that are strong proponents of the Prosperity Gospel, I have to ask, "Is Jesus enough?" Can you still thank and praise Him in the midst of sickness and poverty as well as in health and wealth? As the Apostle Paul said in Philippians, "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

The Internet Monk posted on this topic a number of months ago and I think his post is worth a read.

You can also check out the video of John Piper below with some strong words on this topic. Piper does a great job of exalting Christ as being all-sufficient to meet all of our needs.

If the video player doesn't show up, click here.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Campaign Promises

Here is some election year humor. Thanks to DeQuita for posting this.

"While walking down the street one day a U.S. senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before the senator realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises . . .

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven." So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing harps and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before -- I mean heaven has been delightful -- but I think I would be better off in hell."

So, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors of the elevator open -- but now he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. "I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning -- today you voted."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Infinit Impact on Tour

Infinit Impact in Concert!

East Street Studios, 18880 East Street, Westfield, IN - Tuesday, March 11, 2008 @ 7pm

Be among the first to see Infinit Impact kick off the 2008 Tour season in concert! With new songs, new stories and an unique style, Infinit Impact is ready, not just to entertain, but inspire. Bringing a soulful blend of gospel, with an r&b, hip-hop and sometimes edgy vibe, Infinit Impact is a concert experience you do not want to miss, and it's free! Doors open at 6:30pm.

Spread the Word: Infinit Impact Spring Tour is Here!

Infinit Impact's sping tour is getting under way. We still have some dates available so if you want to book the band, contact us!

March 14th - University of Virginia's Impact Chapter, 7pm.

March 16th- Greater Little Zion Baptist Church, Sunday Morning Service- 8 & 11 a.m.

March 19th - Victory Life Center, 7pm, Location:TBA, Richmond, VA. (tentative.)

March 20th - National Church of God, 7pm, Ft. Washington, MD.

April 5th - Black College Reunion, Daytona Beach, Florida

April 11-13th - Synergy Women's, Conference, Orlando, FL

April 19th - University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

Tour Dates available in April and July 17-August 3rd. We will post tour dates at so you can stay tuned there for more tour updates!

About The Impact Movement
The mission of The Impact Movement is to take the truth of Jesus Christ to the campus, community and world by producing leaders of African descent who are spiritually focused, financially responsible and morally fit. The Impact Movement has a presence on over 100 college campuses as well as in South Africa. To learn more about The Impact Movement click here.

Impact Music
Impact Music is a ministry of The Impact Movement which uses gospel music to communicate the Gospel message by reaching, equipping and sending out those with an interest and talent in music. Infinit Impact is the first band developed by Impact Music. To learn more about Infinit Impact click here.

Want to bring Infinit Impact to you?
Infinit Impact is now accepting invitations to come to partner with you to reach your community for Christ with dynamic gospel concerts! We perform songs from artists like Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond and Kiki Sheard. In addition to the music, the band members speak honestly from the stage about how their life experiences led them to a relationship with God. We then invite the audience to make a decision to walk with Christ as well.

If you are interested in having Infinit Impact partner with you to do a concert, please e-mail us! Check us out at for footage from previous summer concerts we've done. If an outreach like this is exciting to you, drop us a line ASAP! When we say "interest" we mean just that. Let's just start talking about the feasibility of it and go from there.

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