The Loudmouth Protestant

March 31, 2009

Twitter May Be Good for Something

Filed under: randomness,technology — nickisym @ 11:55 pm
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Anyone who knows me knows that I am anti-Twitter. I am not shy about sharing why I think Twitter is creating little egomaniacal monsters and how its popularity among the masses reminds me of lemmings following each other off a cliff. But…for all of my railing against the Twitter establishment I have managed to come across some organizations and people who seem to be redeeming their time on Twitter well.

The first I found through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship–I knew Calvin wouldn’t steer me wrong. They provide a links to a few Twitter prayer feeds for praying the Psalms, praying the hours, John Chrysostom’s prayers and prayers of the people. 

The second I found through Carlos Whitaker of Ragamuffin Soul. He mentioned Twiblestudy, a Twitter Bible Study that has been getting great traction. Essentially, a scripture is twitted and people respond in 140 words or less how it resonates with them. 

So there it is folks.

March 27, 2009

Bishop Carlton Pearson’s Conundrum

I’ve been going through the “Nightline Face-Off: Does God Exist?”  and one thing has been confounding me. Bishop Carlton Pearson, a former ordained minister in the Church of God in Christ, currently a minister in the United Church of Christ was on the opposing side of the Satan debate. But, unlike his companion interlocutor, Bishop Pearson believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and in the salvific power of Jesus, but he doesn’t believe in the devil…

He sat on that stage in Mars Hill and said he loves God and doesn’t know how not to love him yet he was willing to tell the world the Satan couldn’t possibly exist. So to that I wonder, could one really love God and believe  Satan doesn’t exist? I know it’s possible to love God and not give Satan any glory or simply disregard the works of Satan because God is all-powerful. But, in knowing the Satan was a creation of God, an angel, who fell from grace and never came back, and there is biblical proof of this and record of Jesus’ words to Satan, can you really claim loving God but denying the existence of his very own creation? Is that fully loving God?  

That’s all I have for the moment. I’m chewing on that. But wondering if any of the lurkers here would like to answer the question, “Can you love God and believe Satan doesn’t exist, simultaneously?”

Asher Roth’s A Millie Remix

Filed under: music,randomness,video — nickisym @ 1:38 pm
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I think I average about one irreverent post a week which is pretty good considering that there is way more irreverence in my life than I lead on. Nevertheless, I saw Asher Roth’s “I Love College”  video for first time last Saturday while hanging out with a friend. She said that “I Love College” would be his breakthrough hit and then he’d try to convince the world that he’s socially-conscious and that’s what he wants the world to hear. Well he did it. Although I think he might have done this before “I Love College.”

Curse words aside, he is flowing about the truth of some of the most popular artists today. Methinks he’s not bad at all. Totally normal and unassuming with a flow that is not particularly groundbreaking but his lyrics are pretty on point. Check it out:

March 26, 2009

Paul’s Prayer to Ephesus

Filed under: bible,God,prayer — nickisym @ 12:35 pm
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As mentioned in my earlier post, this is Paul’s prayer to the church of Ephesus also known as the “Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom.” Hide this prayer in your heart, pray it for yourself, your family, and your friends and let the word do the work.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:15-23

The Exceeding Greatness of His Power

Filed under: bible,christianity,God,Jesus,spirituality — nickisym @ 12:27 pm
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Don’t you love those moments, while reading the scripture, when you can actually feel your heart being flooded with light and the eyes of your understanding being opened? I had such a moment this morning. Well, it started very early this morning when I woke up in the midst of my sleep and all that was on my mind was, “The exceeding greatness of His power.” It’s lodged in my subconscious for a few reasons. Those words are part of a ministry piece I am currently learning, it was the last song I played before I went to bed, and I was thinking about the actual scripture in Ephesians 1 which my Bible Study has prayed over us for the last four years.

I laid there in my bed early this morning having this scripture lodged in my mind, cutting through every false perception I was holding onto. Right there in my bed at about 3:00AM, “the exceeding greatness of His power” was taking a hold of me. I lay there thinking about what I believe about the exceeding greatness of His power and as I lay there the list began to form. The power to heal, the power to save, the power to cut through doubt, the power to deliver, etc.

I woke up this morning intent on reading the prayer all the way through because I knew there was more to it that I needed to sit with. And as I read Paul’s prayer to the church of Ephesus, I claimed it for myself and realized that it isn’t just about understanding the exceeding greatness of His power, but coming to that understanding through the prerequisites set forth.

Before Paul prayed that the church of Ephesus would understand the exceeding greatness of His power, he prayed that they would receive wisdom and insight so that they might grow in their knowledge of God and then that their hearts may be flooded with light so that they could understand the confident hope He has given to those he called and then after those things they would be able to understand the exceeding greatness of His power for us who believe in Him.

But why do we have to believe in the exceeding greatness of His power? Because “this is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now because of this, he is far above any ruler, authority, power, leader or anything else, not only in this world but the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him the head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

After all of that, could I not believe in the exceeding greatness of His power? Could you not believe in it?

March 25, 2009

Nightline Face-Off: Does Satan Exist?

On Thursday night, ABC will host a Nightline Face-Off series at Mars Hill for a debate on the existence of Satan. Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill, and Annie Lobert, the founder of Hookers for Jesus will face-off against alternative medical doctor, author, and New Thought guru Deepak Chopra and former Church of God on Christ bishop and current so-called heretic–for his doubt in the traditional teaching of heaven and hell–Carlton Pearson. An interesting match me thinks. But I’m just not sure this should be a “debate” set-up for public entertainment-because we all know that ABC created this for the ratings.

People love to see fanatical Christians argue against fanatical folks of other religions-I had to put it that way because I’m not clear on Chopra’s religious bent and as for Pearson, I believe he still claims Christianity, but a different, more all-inclusive branch(if that is even possible).  I watched such fanaticism in the Nightline series that aired a few years ago entitled the “Blasphemy Challenge.” It was between Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron and atheist Brian Sapient and Kelly. It was a fight to the death, it was snarky, and it was a nuisance on the parts of the interlocutors and the audience involved. I fear this will be more of the same. I envision plenty of attitude, shouting from audience members, every side claiming theirs is the right way without any true peace being in the discussion. Not sure whether it will bear any fruit, but will watch to find out.

What do you think about Thursday’s debate? Is it relevant? Did they pick the right talking heads? Does it even matter?

“Nightline Face-Off: Does Satan Exist?” Airing on ABC Thursday, 3/24/2009 at 11:35 PM on ABC.

On David Wilkerson’s Prophecy

Filed under: spirituality — nickisym @ 12:34 am
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The last five days have seemed like a stream of events leading up to my reading David Wilkerson’s prophecy about the devastation that may overtake us in a while.

Friday evening: While at dinner with my best friend she told me about Wilkerson and how he discerned at the beginning of 2001 that something horrible would happen. He didn’t know exactly what it was but he knew he had to prepare so he stopped all church events, saved money, and the night before the attacks had the church gather to make thousands of sandwiches that would then serve to feed the rescue workers and affected in the area. She then told me that the blogosphere had been abuzz about his latest prophecy.

Saturday: Another friend and I went to see “Knowing” the movie about a MIT professor trying to figure out whether things happen as a part of randomness or determinism–I believe that’s how he put it. And in the end it became a matter of faith, there was an Ezekiel 1 tie in (which blew my mind because we just ministered a dance heavily tied to the scripture about three weeks ago) there were people representative of the four beast mentioned in Ezekiel and an end times catastrophe.

Sunday: there was a mention of Ezekiel that brought me back to the movie’s reference to Ezekiel.

Monday: My Bible Study teacher mentioned that two people had called him in regards to a well-respected pastor’s words about what the result of the recession would be. He didn’t tell us the pastor’s name and I honestly didn’t think too much about it. Actually, I did, for one second, and then let it go.

Tuesday: In the morning as I was in study, I came upon Psalm 32:6, “Therefore let all the godly pray to you; while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgement.” I couldn’t stop thinking about that scripture, particularly the last part, because to me, it clearly indicates that we will run out of time to be in step with God. And it is time for us to choose sides because once the storms start to rage, it will be too late. Later on that day, for a reason I can’t remember, I came upon the End Times Prophecy blog. I decided to search David Wilkerson’s name and his name brought up his latest prophecy about what may happen in the next few…

For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago.

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath. In Psalm 11 it is written,

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3).

God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations. He is destroying the secular foundations.

“An Urgent Message” from David Wilkerson

When will this come to pass? I don’t know. Is it even true? Who can be sure since we know according to scripture that there are going to be false prophets among us. All we have is to test them to see if they are of God. I just felt compelled to share Wilkerson’s words simply because of the series of events. I don’t think the series of events is coincidental. And without giving too much away about “Knowing” it’s strange to me, that the movie really depicted what Wilkerson is claiming and in my spirit, while I was watching the movie, I knew there was a message in there that I have to take heed to.

Pray.


March 23, 2009

Have You Really Forgiven?

Filed under: books,God,spirituality — nickisym @ 6:27 pm
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It is currently Women’s Season at my church and as such all of the women in the church–or most of them–are reading the book, “Having a Mary Spirit: Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out” by Joanna Weaver. Weaver walks women through the pitfalls that keep us from walking a straight path with God such as our battle with our flesh, our inability to surrender to God, the battlefield of our minds and in the most recent chapter that I read, bitterness.

It’s hard to admit that you have been holding a grudge and harboring bitterness about the big blowouts and the small missteps that have passed. But somehow all of them take root in us and just when we think we have forgiven and forgotten it is revealed to us that we’ve not even broke ground on the situation or ourselves yet. That’s what happened to me while reading the chapter on bitterness. One simple phrase uprooted me and made me take a second look at whether the people who I called myself forgiving have really been forgiven.

Weaver referred to this quote by Karyl Huntley:

“How I know I have forgiven someone, is that he or she has harmless passage in my mind.”

Weaver then went on to say,

“True forgiveness provides harmless passage. No accusing arrows. No passive attempts at revenge. The person’s name is safe on my tongue–and I’m kept safe from the poison of my own resentment.”

Does every person who has committed an offense against you have harmless passage in your mind? Think on that…

Cop This Disc: The Power of One

Tomorrow, Israel Houghton’s latest album, “The Power of One” will be released in stores. He has gone back to his roots as a solo artist and created an album that is a melting pot of sounds, from his well-known Christian Contemporary sound to reggae to 60s beach music. But more than music, “The Power of One” is a movement, a call to action to help people realize that all it takes is one person to make a difference.

I am here, 37 years later, as a result of the power of one. One lady who sort of crossed the uncomfortable line to tell my mother about Christ when she was eight months pregnant and messed up in her life. Out of that one encounter she obviously felt something and felt like, maybe I can make a difference in somebody’s life today. And she did and it has since had a reverberating effect in my life and the life of a lot of people that I have been able to communicate with and touch.

–Israel Houghton, Standing on “The Power of One”, Interview with Beliefnet.com

Check out the full interview with Israel Houghton on “The Power of One” on Beliefnet.com.

In Response to: The End of Social Networks

I have finally received the catalyst for this post thought another blog that I check out periodically. The writer poses the question “What will happen after social networking?” But I have been thinking about what is happening to us now because of the proliferation of social networks. We are in the midst of an epidemic because of our social networks and not aware that we are slowly killing ourselves because of our irritable bowel syndrome of the mouth. This has nothing to do with the color of our language and everything to do with our incessant need to talk via these outlets.

I’ve been railing against Twitter ever since it picked up steam because I hated the fact that the site was like technological steroids for peoples’ egos. It created mini-monsters that were concerned about letting people know their every move–as if it matters–and convincing perfect strangers that they were important enough to follow. Everyone on Twitter wants to be heard or I should say, read. They want people to see their micro-blog post of less than 150 words. And from there, if people deem you interesting, they decide to follow you. And if you are really into it, you get very vain-glorious about the number of people following you compared to the number of people you follow. The more people who follow you, the more important you must be. Congratulations, you’ve become your own demi-god. What an accomplishment on your part. All of this because you want to be seen. You want people to recognize you. You want to convince people of your credibility. You want to network with the bigwigs with no faces. You want people to believe that you are cool enough to know because you stayed on top of the latest craze. But slowly, what you aren’t realizing is that you are killing yourself by your inability to be still and be quiet. 

When thinking about this whole thing, Proverbs 10:19 comes to mind. “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” (The Message) And that’s what this is all about. Our social networks create endless opportunities to talk our lives to death. Because of their existence, we are engaged in no fewer than 5 different conversations or on-going conversation per hour of our lives. We spend so much of our time trying to keep up with writing on walls, tweeting back, making comments, etc, that we clutter our minds with a multitude of voices. And therein lies the problem.

We’ve allowed having all of these conversations become commonplace and we’ve crowded our minds with many voices which in part can make one voice entirely to small to hear. God’s.  What good are all our words to a world full of people we don’t know, who really aren’t trying to get to know us other than to get closer to the persona that we are releasing out into cyberspace, if we are lost in translation with our Creator? Lost in translation because we are more concerned with investing mindshare in the social networks, letting our minds fill up with the face, the voice, and  the conversations, so much to the point where there isn’t alot of space for God to get through to us. Our spiritual network is dead because our minds are just so incredibly full of the noise that all of these creations make. Trying to keep friends who don’t want to be kept. Making friends that weren’t meant to be made. Sending out words that weren’t meant to be said. Trying to be heard when maybe you are just supposed to sit still and be quiet. 

When will we get to the point when we aren’t so impressed with hearing ourselves speak or seeing our words on a screen? You are not that important. I am not that important. When will we stop being tinkling brass and clanking cymbals adding to the noise that is making our spiritual networks nearly inoperable. It’s not that the social networks render us all spiritually handicap, but if you just take a look at the conversations you have on Facebook or Twitter. Track back and look at the stuff you’ve talked about. The things that you deemed important enough to publish and launched forth into cyberspace. If you see that more of it is self-centered, self-gratifying, mindless chatter, speech that doesn’t produce fruit, non-edifying content, then you should be able to step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Ask yourself why you spend so much time on said sites and when you’ve ever spent dedicated continual moments to God. Even as a write this I am thinking about taking a break from this blog because writing on here doesn’t matter. I do this to the glory of God, but I want to be still and quiet in Him which is nothing I can do when I am on my soapbox here.

Surely he is the one who gifted the creators of these sites with the idea of reconnecting us with each other and God does deem community important, but not at the expense of our relationship with Him. Imagine if we switched the paradigm and deemed the social networks a mere tertiary function to our daily lives and put God in the same space that we let the @JohnDoe responses, wall writings, posting pictures, writing blogs, note, etc go. Imagine the amazing breakthroughs and how clearly we could  hear him speak if we just drowned out the noise.

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