The Loudmouth Protestant

January 27, 2009

LMP is 100% LDS!

Filed under: faith,religion,spirituality — nickisym @ 9:08 pm
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I just completed the Belief-o-Matic, Beliefnet’s personality quiz about faith and spirituality. I took it a few years ago and it turned out I was more of a Sikh than anything, but I suppose a few years makes a difference. Keep in mind that I’ve always been a Christian so the Sikh thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m not sure the LDS thing does either, but it was fun to answer the questions and get my results. Here’s the percentage breakdown of how much of each religion I am filled with:

 

1.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (100%)
2.  Jehovah’s Witness (88%)
3.  Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (84%)
4.  Orthodox Quaker (81%)
5.  Orthodox Judaism (79%)
6.  Sikhism (77%)
7.  Islam (73%)
8.  Baha’i Faith (73%)
9.  Seventh Day Adventist (68%)
10.  Eastern Orthodox (68%)
11.  Roman Catholic (68%)
12.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (66%)
13.  Liberal Quakers (56%)
14.  Jainism (54%)
15.  Reform Judaism (53%)
16.  Hinduism (50%)
17.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (46%)
18.  Mahayana Buddhism (44%)
19.  Unitarian Universalism (44%)
20.  Theravada Buddhism (43%)
21.  Neo-Pagan (32%)
22.  Taoism (27%)
23.  Scientology (26%)
24.  New Age (26%)
25.  New Thought (25%)
26.  Secular Humanism (25%)
27.  Nontheist (17%)

Take the Belief-o-Matic and see what your faith is made of…Then if you’re so inclined, report your results here.

September 17, 2008

Morning Reflection: Psalm 139

Filed under: bible,God,religion,spirituality — nickisym @ 8:38 am
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This was actually the scripture from my time in devotion yesterday morning, but there is something so magnetic, so chilling and so beautiful about it, that I had to go back to it this morning. I know that “something” is just the thought that God knows so much about us that even that knowledge is incomprehensible. 

Psalm 139: 1-10

 1 O LORD, you have searched me 
       and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; 
       you perceive my thoughts from afar.

 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; 
       you are familiar with all my ways.

 4 Before a word is on my tongue 
       you know it completely, O LORD.

 5 You hem me in—behind and before; 
       you have laid your hand upon me.

 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
       too lofty for me to attain.

 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? 
       Where can I flee from your presence?

 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
       if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
       if I settle on the far side of the sea,

 10 even there your hand will guide me, 
       your right hand will hold me fast.

September 16, 2008

Scriptures for Times of Trouble

Keeping in tune with the last post, I just wanted to post these scriptures for times of trouble that I found via Counseling 4 Christians

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
(2 Corinthians 4:17)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)

Check out Counseling 4 Christians for more scriptures

Steadfast Faith in Shaky Times

Filed under: bible,God,life,religion,spirituality — nickisym @ 5:48 pm
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The title of this post was actually the title of my pastor’s sermon on Sunday. Before the Lehman Brothers news broke and before the Bank of America deal was solidified and made public, on Sunday morning, my pastor, following the direction of the Holy Spirit preached a sermon that is so apropos to where many of us are right now. We are watching our investments crash, we are losing our homes, and we are losing our jobs. We are losing everything which defines our livelihood on this earth. In response to this loss of material wealth and the endangerment thereof for those of us who it hasn’t hit home for yet, my pastor spoke about keeping all of our trust in God. Her core scripture was taken from Isaiah 26:1-7 which is Isaiah’s song of praise to the Lord. The boldest and most beautiful moment of his song is when he said, “Thou will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

The concept of peace and God’s ability to grant us it has always been mystifying and beautiful to me. But perfect peace is even more amazing to me because God is the only perfect being amidst our imperfections that can put us in a perfect state of well being. (“Perfect Peace” is also one of my favorite Marvin Sapp songs—that is neither here of there, but you may want to check it out. Matter of fact, I’ll post the video.) Nevertheless, the concept of keeping our minds stayed on God and God alone in these unstable times makes too much sense not to do it. Really, we should be keeping our minds stayed on God at all times, not just when we are afraid.

There is too much in our world that is unstable and fleeting. Sure it makes logical sense to put our trust in our jobs because unlike God we can see them clearly, but we also see how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye. If at the same time as we were working for man—and working unto God, we kept our eyes on God, we would better be able to take comfort in the fact that even in the midst of a layoff ax falling, God has us completely covered—I can only say this having gone through a similar situation two years ago. He will guide us to that better place and don’t doubt for a second that there is another great opportunity ahead of you. It’s not the end all be all and I know some may think, “That’s easy for you to say standing on the other side.” But really, I know it’s not the end because God never puts more on us than we can bear and really he only requires us to have faith the size of a mustard seed to believe that we are going to come out on the other end victorious. My Bible Study teacher put it best when he mentioned that our trials and tribulation “come to pass” not “come to stay.”

So as my heart aches for those who will be leaving Lehman Brothers, those who will be out of a job at Merrill Lynch, and those who are afraid of what is to come at AIG, I say “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” Know that God has got a plan for your future that is bigger than your present situation. And in your moments of weakness when you are tempted to despair, remember that you can always ask God for peace and he will give it generously. Let him keep you in perfect peace.

April 9, 2008

Prove, Test and Scrutinize

I was flipping through my sermon notes this evening when I came upon this,

“The master is Christ, but he gives us authority. We are all like little masters but we must always remember where all of our help comes from.”

I thought about this in regards to the Oprah situation and how some believe that what she is endorsing via Eckhart Tolle is truth because some of what Tolle is espousing can be tracked back to the Bible. While I could give Tolle the thumbs up for that, I realize it would be in support of a squishy nonsense gospel that is not for my God. If Tolle and furthermore Oprah can’t come out and say that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and humble themselves to the extraordinary power of Christ, then clearly what they are feeding the world is a bunch of lies. God would not have it that we misconstrue his words so that our mortal flesh can be glorified and validated. True enough we aren’t called to bust people over the head with our well-worn KJVs, but we are called to speak God’s truth in love. We are called to not love the world or the things of it because God has given us all the truth we need. We are called to be a light in the darkness. We are called to prove, test and scrutinize everything that we come across to see if matches up with what the Father has told us.

So what are we to do with Oprah and Eckhart? We are to prove, test and scrutinize it all. Do you really know Oprah and her beliefs? Why is “A New Earth” the first spiritual book in the book club? Why not a Christian book if she is a Christian? Haven’t you been confused about her beliefs for a while now? (Tell the truth and shame the devil.) And if we have been confused isn’t now the time to call her to task?

It’s time for us to stop giving these things a pass and being in denial about there affect on our lives. Please be extremely careful about what you let into your life and don’t keep the peace because you think you like it and you don’t see the harm in it. It’s time for us to stop playing games with the people that are so clearly not interested in giving God all of the glory. We can’t give God partial glory throwing him a bone when we feel like it or when it is convenient. Ours is not a gospel of convenience or of flip-flopping. God is not a part time lover and we need not be part-time lovers of this world and the things in it. I say all of this knowing that I need to hear it too and I say it with fear in my heart because I know being the contrary voice when it isn’t popular is difficult and the backlash could be great but for the glory of God, so be it.

April 8, 2008

More on Oprah

Filed under: christianity,God,Jesus,religion,spirituality — nickisym @ 10:15 am
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This morning I awoke to find that yet another person sent me the Oprah’s Church video. Along with it, he attached this scripture:

2 Peter 2 (NIV)
False Teachers and Their Destruction

1But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping…

I read this before I fully woke up and then when I did emerge I turned over and read my own Bible, which without my searching for it, I came upon this scripture:

I John 2: Antichrists Everywhere You Look

18Children, time is just about up. You heard that Antichrist is coming. Well, they’re all over the place, antichrists everywhere you look. That’s how we know that we’re close to the end.
19They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.

20-21But you belong. The Holy One anointed you, and you all know it. I haven’t been writing this to tell you something you don’t know, but to confirm the truth you do know, and to remind you that the truth doesn’t breed lies.

22-23So who is lying here? It’s the person who denies that Jesus is the Divine Christ, that’s who. This is what makes an antichrist: denying the Father, denying the Son. No one who denies the Son has any part with the Father, but affirming the Son is an embrace of the Father as well.

24-25Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!

26-27I’ve written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they’re no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ’s anointing, no less! You don’t need any of their so-called teaching. Christ’s anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.

It’s not coincidental that I read these scriptures at this appointed time…

More on this later…

April 7, 2008

Things That Make You Go Hmm…

Filed under: God,religion,spirituality — nickisym @ 10:54 pm
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A few months ago I purchased Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth.” I’ll admit that that I was caught up in the fray of Oprah’s Book Club selection although I have never read an Oprah Book Club book nor have I ever watched an entire episode of Oprah. My feelings toward Oprah are that of indifference. I couldn’t care less about the books she is pedaling, the celebrities on her show, the women she honors, the apartments that she buys for her not lesbian lover–as you can see though I don’t care I clearly still know a bit about her.

So for the first time I decided to see what all this book club nonsense was all about especially because “A New Earth” is the first obviously spiritual book that Oprah welcomed to her book club. I needed to see what Oprah considered spiritual and what she was going to endorse before the world. I needed to know what was so special about “A New Earth” that wasn’t special about “Purpose Driven Life” or “Your Best Life Now” or any other top-selling Christian book. Why “A New Earth?”

I started reading and I saw that it was very New Age-y, very squishy, very for people who need to be on the fence about their faith or for the open-minded Christian–or any other faith. Tolle is a great writer and though “A New Earth” is conceptually brilliant, there are some serious gaps that the Christian must take into consideration. Sad thing is, in my reading I didn’t take the gaps into consideration. I gave them a pass. When Tolle said that the title of the book was drawn from the OT and the NT of the Bible. Tolle says,

“The inspiration for the title of this book came from a Bible prophecy that seems more applicable now than at any other time in human history. It occurs in both the Old and the New Testament and speaks of the collapse of the existing world order and the arising of “a new heaven and a new earth.” We need to understand here that heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness…’A new heaven’ is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and ‘a new earth’ is its reflection in the physical realm.”

This was one of the moments when the book gave me pause and it would be the first of many moments though I would shrug it off. But how could I shrug off someone massaging the word of God to make it palatable for the masses and for the sake of a dollar?

I never got to through the book. In fact I stopped reading on Holy Week because I sensed God moving me in another direction and another book that was better suited to where he needed me. A book where I could be fed with good seed that is clear and inspired by Him and Him alone. But just when I thought I was done with “A New Earth” I received the video below. It’s arrival in my inbox was pretty timely as I received a word in Bible Study this evening that as Christians we aren’t called to be peace keepers–i.e. hold things in and not speak the truth–but we are called to shake things up and do the right thing of speaking truth even when it isn’t popular. This video is speaking truth that I believe all Christians need to hear and consider.

February 18, 2008

The Burning of BET

Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off in some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Matthew 7:15-20 The Message Bible

Although I am on a fast from television this Lenten season I chose to observe this Sunday as the mini-Easter which celebrates Jesus’ victory over sin and death. (Many in Western Christianity do not count the six Sundays during Lent in the 40 day period because they claim it as a day of celebration instead.) So I took this as my day to watch a little bit of television. The television ended up watching me more than I watched it until I came back in from hanging out with friends at about 12:30. Though it is legally Monday and my fast-break is over, I decided to turn on my television anyways because I felt justified as it was holiday and at my disobedience, I was appalled.

My television was on BET and if you know anything about how their programming runs on a Sunday, after a certain hour it all turns into “Christian” informercials. The hucksters come out and sell their pray cloths, disingenuous books, beg for seed offerings, give out false testimonies and grin like cheshire cats. I had the misfortune of watching a man who was giving away a prayer cloth for free–if you sowed a $25 seed. During his ridiculous prayer cloth speech he held up the green prayer cloth, told the viewers to lift their hands toward it and even told them to touch it–yes the viewers in their homes–and he proceeded to pray. In the midst of his prayer he said that he saw a woman with a cane that desperately wants to be healed. I was disgusted beyond words because I knew this man was making money off the backs of innocent people that don’t know God’s word firmly enough for themselves to not fall for such a ploy.

Throughout the night, each new informercial gets worse. The amount of money that each faux-preacher requests for seeding increases. Their huckerster-ism worsens as the night drags along and I am sure thousands of people are getting cheated out of their money.

I’ve been well aware of these people for years, I’ve heard others preach about their disdain for these televangelists and now I am finally trying to figure out how to get rid of them and then I thought, “Let’s attack the root of the problem.”

,br>The root of the problem are the executives at BET that don’t pay close enough attention to their late night programming. Now someone please correct me if I am wrong, but all of those faux-men of God have to go through BET or Viacom’s advertising department to even get placement for their advertisements, correct? If that is the case, why is a fine-tooth comb not used to analyze what is going on air to ensure it is not deceiving the people. I understand that the execs probably don’t believe that enough people are up for it to matter but it does matter. My bet is that a large number of BET viewers profess to be Christian. They watch “Celebration of Gospel,” “Sunday’s Best” and “Exalted.” They tune into the “Bobby Jones Gospel Hour” and other Sunday programming and on some level they trust BET to air quality programming but maybe they shouldn’t because the same network that is ensuring that they get to watch sermons from mega-church pulpits, hear today’s best gospel, learn about their favorite preachers and gives them a Christian alternative to “American Idol” is deceiving the people.

I believe it it time for the preachers that have their services broadcasted on BET to strike until those infomercials are removed. It’s time for Bobby Jones to speak up. It’s time for BET executives to stop chasing the almighty dollar and look at chasing almighty God and maybe it is time for the good and faithful Christians that watch BET to stop watching until those advertisements are pulled.

November 16, 2007

God’s Word Is First

This morning I spent some time in the book of Job. I love the strength and courage of Job even in the midst of trials and tribulations and I also love God’s rebuttal to all of Job’s ponderings.

I was reading from the Blackaby Study Bible which has historical excerpts and contemplative thoughts on God throughout the Bible. But as I was studying I stopped on this scripture in Job 23:12b: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” It became bold to me within the nanosecond of my reading it. I understood it all too well because I always seem to let the little foxes of life interrupt my relationship with God. It is always the little foxes, isn’t it?

But then I looked up to the next page and it said this:

“God’s word is top priority. If we must forego sleep or food or recreation in order to not neglect God’s word, then that’s what we must do.”

But how many times have we all not forgone food, recreation or sleep to be in God’s word. We are so consumed by the cares of this world. I dare say that even work comes before God’s word for some of us, but I dare to think that work can wait–particularly if it is the job that God gave you–just so you can stay in his word just a little bit longer. For the last year or so I have been sustaining myself on the concept of not leaving my home until I am overflowing with the anointing. I don’t always get there–at least I don’t think I do–but the point is that we are supposed to stay in his word, pray and meditate for long enough that when we leave, we work out of the overflow and not out of the draught. The draught will slow us down, make us tired and incapable of doing God’s work, but the overflow gives us energy to press forward. I notice that on days when I press into God’s word through tiredness and a long “to-do” list, those days are way more productive and bountiful than when I don’t.

So choose this day whom you will serve. Your stomach, need for entertainment, need for sleep and your job can wait if it means you will be that much better.

September 26, 2007

The Struggle To Be Relevant

Filed under: bible,God,Jesus,ministry,religion — nickisym @ 3:17 pm
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When faced with the thought of whether I am being totally productive in my walk, I go back to works done. I think about how many times I’ve done community service, how I should have gone to pray in the projects, how I should have given money to that homeless person I walked by. I just have this tendency to equate success in the Christian walk with amount of work done on behalf of it and for some time it has been plaguing me. There are people that over-extend themselves in service to the Lord and look at it as their reasonable service. They believe they are doing big things and attending to kingdom business because they are being intentionally busy in their service unto God. And there is nothing wrong with that but my question is, “How much of ministry and service to God is about doing vs. being?

I ponder this because every so often I get stressed out that I am not “doing” enough. I feel I am never out in the field laying my hands to the obvious plow. But then someone will stop me and tell me that another was touched by something I said. Someone was encouraged by a word. Someone was blessed by something I gave them or something I wrote. Because of this, I’ve been redefining what it ministry mean.

Not everyone is called to foreign missionary status or to serve in soup kitchens or to intercessory prayer or whatever multitude of activities a church might officiate to get their congregation involved. Bigger than organized religion and the activity it dictates as necessary for Christians to be involved in is that the fact that the individual must “be” a servant outside of this construct.

My thought lately has been that if I do nothing else, I make sure that I am doing what is necessary according to the word of God. Psalm 21:6 says that we are made blessed to be a blessing forever. We are blessed to be a blessing in our spheres of influence. That means you are a blessing in every place that you go day to day. On your block, on the train, on the bus, in your car, on the job, in school, in the store, etc. Wherever you go, you should be a blessing unto others and I have found that in being that blessing to other you are spreading the good news. A while ago a preacher told me that Christians are to show the world what life is like in heaven. He challenged us to let the Jesus inside of us speak because as Christians we are not called to debate anyone. Dare I say we are not called to proselytize in the way that some denomination do because that isn’t showing the love of Christ or the mannerism of our awesome God.

Don’t let me be misunderstood, I am not saying that organized ministry is a waste, but what I am saying is that at no point should you beat yourself up if you find yourself not involved in it. If you are truly representing the kingdom of God, your daily life will be a reflection of it. You will touch people without knowing it even if it wasn’t intentional–I can say this because it has happened in my own life. When I look at what others do and frown upon myself for not doing the same thing, I am constantly reminded that my place in ministry is markedly different.

So don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses of ministry, just worry about how your walk will help you to be the 67th book of the Bible because you might be the only Bible that some people read.

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