The Loudmouth Protestant

October 31, 2007

2 More to Go!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — nickisym @ 8:37 pm

Oh my gosh, I have two more hits to go until I reach 3,000. God is good!

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Ahh First Fruits…

It’s that time of year again, the time of year when I enter into a church-wide consecration and I consider what I will give as my first fruit offering. Every year this season hits me in my gut because I have to consider whether I will give one week’s salary or not. Every year I am plagued with confusion and doubt that if I give one week’s salary I will be in the poor house. Every year I come up with excuses for why I am not going to do it. The excuses have ranged from “Where exactly is this money going?” to “I just can’t afford to give that much money.” Every year it’s the same thing, but somehow I know things have to be different this year. I used to consider it such a daunting time in my church life because I felt like I could never quite come to agreement with myself and with God about what to do with the money that he gave me in the first place. Most of the reason why this time was so daunting is because I decided that my self and my needs were much more important than God and his desires of me. It’s hard to admit, but in the grand scheme of things, that is what withholding money from God is all about, selfishness.

This year, as soon as I heard the announcement for the harvest fast and the first fruit offering, I knew that I had to change my thinking. Instead of releasing the heavy sigh, I quietly took it in and before I determined what my offering would be I said I would pray to God and let him tell me what he wants.

I took it to my prayer closet and asked God what he would have me give and I walked away with was this, “You must do something you’ve never done to get something you’ve never had.” And it clicked. Every year I have been playing it safe—or maybe it has actually been unsafe but God has protected me. But I get this feeling that God is up to something and he would that I would give up the “Benjamins” this year and let him show out. Off of that notion alone my mind is blown and the thought of actually following through with a first fruit offering is scaring me to death. But then God revealed to me again how it could work and how it really does make sense.

The weekly Bible Study that I attend is now based on the concept of the “Exchanged Life.” The Exchanged Life is the life that Jesus gave up for us on the cross in order that we might have life and life more abundantly. Last night we covered the many benefits of the “Exchanged Life” and this was one of them: “He exchanged his poverty so that we may be abundantly supplied.” I sat on that concept for a moment more and then something amazing happened. As the Bible Study came to a close and the teacher opened the floor up for discussion, a few people got up and gave their testimonies about how they came from very wealthy families and how the wealth is exponentially increasing throughout the generations but they aren’t very interested in it so they give it right back to God. In the midst of this conversation, one young man got up and spoke about coming from a long line of preachers. He said that he was invited to preach at a church and was offered a huge honorarium which he declined. But instead of honoring his request, the church gave him the honorarium and he defiantly gave it back to them in offering. He said that God dealt with him later on that evening for being so defiant and so having such poverty of spirit.

It was then that I was struck by the true meaning of “He exchanged his poverty so that we may have the abundant life.” It isn’t about monetary poverty, it is about the poverty of spirit that we all sometimes carry with us.  You see, during seasons like these when we are challenged to go above and beyond the call of duty, we hold back because we only have ourselves in mind. We have every earthly reason for why a first fruit offering doesn’t work for us without considering that if God is faithful enough to supply our needs when we are in plenty, he will supply it when we aren’t. (2 Corinthians 8:14 says “Right now you have plenty and you can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it.”)

The light bulb went off in my head that I have been suffering from a poverty of spirit by deciding that I couldn’t give God what he deserves—particularly for giving it to me in the first place! I’ve been selfish with the money that is rightfully God’s and I have been stupid to question where the provision would come from if I was to give a true first fruit offering. Well as soon as the young man sat down I decided to share my revelation, but before I could even part my lips God showed me where my first fruit offering was coming from–and he told me that it was coming back.

Here are some scriptures that are helping me:

II Corinthians 8 & 9, my boldface point for those two chapters is II Corinthians 8:11b-12

“Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. “

And Malachi 3:8:

“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

 

October 30, 2007

Beautiful Poetry

Filed under: christianity,christians — nickisym @ 10:03 pm
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A poem that was recited as part of the Rev. William Curtis’s sermon this past Sunday.

If Christ should come next Sunday,
And it may be that He will,
Would the thing that I’ll be doing
Set the Master’s heart a thrill?

If Christ should come next Sunday,
Would he find me loyal, true,
In my place with my influence
Doing what He’d have me do?

If Christ should come next Sunday,
Let’s suppose He came at ten,
Would He hear me answer “present”
In the class I should attend?

If Christ should come next Sunday,
If He came just at eleven,
Would He find me in His service,
Singing praises unto heaven?

Halloween Trumps Christmas???

Filed under: life — nickisym @ 10:01 pm
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Yesterday afternoon I received an e-mail invitation to an office Halloween party and I was in utter shock. Why, you ask? Well, it occurred to me that they—and I am not talking about the office alone but I am talking about the world at large—make a big stink about Christmas and why we can’t actually say the word because someone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday may be offended at the mere mention. Some workplaces have encouraged their employees to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas to appease the masses of foolish people that refuse to give glory and honor to the real reason for the season. They raise a big stink over a day that actually brings more compassion and love to the world than any day on the calendar combined—with the exception of Resurrection Sunday.

But when it comes to Halloween, no one dares to ask if anyone would be offended. No one asks if maybe they should refrain from throwing a Halloween party in-office because there may actually be people that don’t celebrate the holiday. Yes it’s a simple as not going, but it never ceases to amaze me how people can be so selective about what they choose to believe. It just really goes to show you how the god of this world has put blinders on the eyes of people. I can’t get over it. Make a big fuss over Christmas and revel in Halloween. Where’s the logic? Foolish mortals.

October 28, 2007

I Like What I See…

Filed under: entertainment,music — nickisym @ 7:23 pm
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I’ve got some kind of appreciation for Mary J. Blige. She has been through trials and tribulations and risen above it all to become the beautiful queen we all know and love. I love that she is raw and finally unabashed in her confidence. I pray for the day when we can all be the same and love that I can find that in a strong woman like MJB.

The queen is back… Here’s her latest:

There Are No Short Cuts

Filed under: beauty,life — nickisym @ 12:24 am
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Today I spent a good portion of my time in a hair salon attending to my business. Unlike other trips to the salon this one was daunting because I spent the majority of the summer taking short cuts with my hair. I was nervous prior to going because I knew that I wasn’t taking care of my hair the way I should have. I went to an alternate salon because I was being a cheap skate and because that salon knew how to get me in and out in under an hour and a half. But I found out the hard way that convenience is not a good look when it comes to having good looking hair.

The stylist I visited today told me that my hair was in need of repair. While it wasn’t badly damaged, my day at the salon costed me more than I intended the spend. Usually I would be very nervous at the prospect of spending over $100 to get my hair done because I see it as an extravagant waste, but I knew there was no other recourse.

With the thought of spending a pretty penny on my head I decided to open up my Bible to calm my nerves and I was glad that in the midst of my reading my stylist came over to me and said “That’s the Good Book.” She said it in a manner that wasn’t cliche or fake, I felt her spirit was in agreeance with mine. She was also very gentle with the way she explained the process she was taking with my hair and I really felt like she had my best interest in mind.

My trip to the salon today taught me a lesson that one should never trade in quantity for quality. Clearly I should have known this a longtime ago because being a woman of color, our hair is nothing to take lightly. But hey, better late than never.

Self-Improvement v. Self-Removal

Filed under: bible,christianity,christians,God — nickisym @ 12:10 am
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This evening I was having a wonderful conversation with my best friend and her husband about today’s feel good preachers. We were discussing the fact that these preachers are problematic because they fail to save souls based on the unadulterated version of the Bible. Instead they pick and choose portions of the scripture and then turn them into self-help.

Without going too much into it because I really don’t feel like getting very preachy this evening, I wanted to bring up an amazing bold point that my friend’s husband pointed out. He said that these preachers focus on doling out tips for self-improvement as opposed to self-replacement or removal. Well, my mind was totally blown off of that one because I don’t think I ever thought about it that way. But it makes total sense.

These preachers preach to thousands of people on Sundays and then millions on any given day of the week through their various programs, sermons, books, podcast, etc. Many fall prey to their version of helping people becoming a better version of themselves when in the first place, scripture calls for us to die to our old selves and become new creation. New creationism does not involve improving the old self. It has to do with throwing away the old self and surrendering it to God.

But how can one throw off the old self if they are sitting under teaching that glorifies trying to help the old self instead of killing it? This is something I think the larger Christian community needs to take into consideration and into their prayer closet.

October 26, 2007

Don’t Be Scared…

This afternoon I had the wonderful opportunity of sharing my knowledge with someone in need. It was a young lady from a Woman’s Fellowship Group that I subscribe to. I am usually not compelled to respond to any of the e-mails because they are usually based on conversations the women have had amongst themselves, but today wasn’t that day. The woman asked “Why don’t Christians celebrate Halloween?” She got one response back from another member that simply stated “Some Christians do celebrate Halloween.” I knew this wasn’t the answer that she was looking for so I decided to share what I learned about the day over the years and my own experience with it.

I shared some information that I’d been gathering on the day concerning its origin and why some Christians celebrate it from why they don’t. And all of that information was great, but I realized the most important thing that came out of my response was nothing I could open a book or do research on, but it came from the heart. I shared with her–what I am about to share with you–what I believe Christians are called to do on Halloween.

Every year since I have been working in this city, I have made it my business to take the day off so that I could seek refuge in my home while the rest of the world revels in its scary costumes and parties. I hate the thought of people running around with masked and made-up faces in an attempt to scare folks and in the name of so-called innocent fun. In considering all of this I made a decision that this year would be different. I told myself that I would not take the day off from work, instead I would face Halloween like a brave soldier in Christ. Christians are called to be a light in the darkness and what better day could there be to show that light. It’s not for us to cower and quiver in our homes and hide or even for us to condemn those that do celebrate the day. But it is for us to stand up and be victorious in the midst of such darkness.

Romans 8:38 says that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky about or in the earth below–indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Halloween cannot separate us from the love of God. It can add nothing and take nothing away from us. So we need not spend our time being afraid of the day. We would better spend our time doing what we are called to do daily, be the salt and light of the earth.

October 24, 2007

Just One More…

Filed under: entertainment,music,Uncategorized — nickisym @ 9:53 pm
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Okay, since I’m on an Amy kick, here’s one more for the team. A cover from the Zuton’s “Valerie.”

I Couldn’t Resist

Filed under: entertainment,music,randomness — nickisym @ 9:48 pm
Tags: , ,

As many of you know, I am a Amy Winehouse fan. Okay, maybe you don’t because I’ve never really called myself one until this day, but I believe that I am at this moment. I can’t deny her talent although I feel terribly sad that she has fallen on such utterly hard times. I purchased her first CD entitled “Frank” on Sunday afternoon and I have been unable to stop playing it since. In my opinion it is much better than the second CD because love is her vice instead of alcohol. In homage to that, I wanted to post the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from the album. I consider it a tale of lifestyles of the loose and famous and it is probably the funniest song I’ve heard in a while. Check it out:

F Me Pumps
Amy Winehouse
Frank

When you walk in the bar,
And you’re dressed like a star,
Rockin’ your F me pumps.

And the men notice you,
With your Gucci bag crew,
Can’t tell who he’s lookin’ to.

Cuz you all look the same,
Everyone knows your name,
And that’s your whole claim to fame.

Never miss a night,
Cuz your dream in life,
Is to be a footballers wife.
You don’t like players,
That’s what you say-a,
But you really wouldn’t mind a millionaire.

You don’t like ballers,
They don’t do nothing for ya,
But you’d love a rich man six foot two or taller.

You’re more than a fan,
Lookin’ for a man,
But you end up with one-nights-stands.

He could be your whole life,
If you got past one night,
But that part never goes right.

In the morning you’re vexed,
He’s onto the next,
And you didn’t even get no taste.

Don’t be too upset,
If they call you a skank,
Cuz like the news everyday you get pressed.

You don’t like players,
That’s what you say-a,
But you really wouldn’t mind a millionaire.

Or them big ballers,
Don’t do nothing for ya.
But you’d love a rich man six foot two or taller,

You can’t sit down right,
Cuz your jeans are too tight,
And your lucky its ladies night.

With your big empty purse,
Every week it gets worse,
At least your breasts cost more than hers.

So you did Miami,
Cuz you got there for free,
But somehow you missed the plane.

You did too much E,
Met somebody,
And spent the night getting caned.

Without girls like you,
There’d be no fun,
We’d go to the club and not see anyone.

Without girls like you,
There’s no nightlife,
All those men just go home to their wives.

Don’t be mad at me,
Cuz you’re pushing thirty,
And your old tricks no longer work.

You should have known from the Jump,
That you always get dumped,
So dust off your f me pumps

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