Evange-Gospel

6 08 2010

I’m listening to my Crystal Aiken station on Pandora and just had a moment of deep appreciation.

I love Gospel music. Not like, but like and love!

There’s something about good Gospel music that makes my soul explode within me, and if I wasn’t in a public context 90% of the time, I’d burst out singing right along with the awesome artists.

But I don’t. We don’t.

At least I don’t think we do.

I wonder what would happen if black churches took their fervor for Gospel music and for evangelism and combined them together.

What if we shed our misconceptions that Gospel music has to be sung in church sanctuaries, with microphones, choir robes, an organ, drums, or piano and that evangelism has to be raw, confrontational, forceful, unyielding (I mean, Paul was direct, right?) and turned them both on their head by combining the two.

Sometimes Gospel music gets lost in the performance, and worship as a performance, public worship can sometimes lose its’ Jesus.

Sometimes door to door, or just plain evangelism is more uncomfortable than telling of a comforting Savior. Sometimes I feel that we lose more people evangelizing than serving people well at our jobs or being kind to people we encounter in our daily endeavors.

So why not go to a place that you’d desire to evangelize and have what you need at a table (book bags and school supplies, food, meal tickets, whatever) and just sing while distributing them? No talking. No “I’m Minister Smith from Kings Road Missionary Baptist Evangelical Free Church door the street”. No introductions. No altar call. Just a sign that says take what you need and sing with us if you’d like. And dinner will be served at (fill in the time).  

And start singing. The director should have a repertoire of what everyone is singing, but the only words that should come out of anyone’s mouth are glued to a note.

When all the supplies are gone, the church should have dinner with people in the neighborhood. And let the neighborhood do the bulk of the talking. The church should listen to their story and even if they aren’t the wealthiest church, see what they can do to help.

Rinse and repeat once a month.

And see what changes happen in that neighborhood and church, see what friendships form, and see who is affected most by who.

I have a feeling that the lines will be blurred, unlikely friendships formed, and pews or chairs filled in the sanctuary of your church.

 And God will be honored deeply, all because of good Gospel music and a new twist on evangelism.

Advertisements




Why I Hate Preaching

6 08 2010

I hate preaching because it involves writing sermons which involves seeking the One higher than myself which I honestly don’t do extremely well.

There, I said it.

Sermon writing is hard because it puts me in such a vulnerable place that it’s beyond uncomfortable –  not solely concerning content, but presentation – it’s just plain hard, unnecessarily hard if you ask me because it implies none of me and all of God. And I’m not used to not putting myself in things. Or waiting. And writing a sermon requires waiting.   

I absolutely hate having to wait on God, more often than not, until the morning of, at some crazy hour like 3 or 4 am. Sitting at a desk. Until it’s finished. The thoughts and then the construction of these thoughts into a cohesive sermon.  

I hate that.

But maybe that’s my problem. All those “I’s”.

I’ve kind of made sermon writing and subsequent preaching about me. There goes that “I” again!

I’m so concerned with saving face, with producing such an amazing sermon sermon that I forget the spiritual practice and discipline it takes to hear from God. Since I don’t want to give a me-induced sermon, I need to get off of my schedule and get on God’s.

And learn that hearing from God is something I need to work on. And that I may need to change something in my day to day, like including time with God in a good portion of it, in order to hear from Him at some other point other than the morning of.

This leads me to the sad conclusion that perhaps my sermon writing could be indicative of something deeper, and more vulnerable than I want to admit.

Maybe my hatred of sermon writing rooted in fear of a late-message, is rooted in my inconsistent communication with God, study of Jesus’ life and legacy and room for the Holy Spirit to speak to me.

Maybe I don’t want to admit that God doesn’t wait until the last moment to speak, but that I wait until the last minute to put my preconceived notions, guard, over-active, wanna-be-super-creative mind down at the altar and slaughter it completely so that there is no trace of me in it. There is no me alive in my reception of the sermon. But me is sacrificed to God. This is what is required in sermon-preparation: slaughtering, slaughtering that God asks for.

Once I do what God has asked, no matter how hard it is for me, maybe I’ll be able to re-utter what He has said.

But that requires a ton of humility. I may have able half a ton right now, which isn’t enough. So “the-night-before-I-preach” moments of panic will have to do until I get into the rhythm of sacrifice and silence.

Sacrifice and silence.

For I don’t want this sermon to be about me; sacrifice and silence is what it will take to mediate to the people, something from God.

Until I preach out of the book of Tomi. Which will never happen.

As long as I call what I love to hate to do, preaching.





My Perfume Mask

6 08 2010

I know I’m “Mrs. Anti-Vanity”, but I do have a weakness that I can no longer conceal. I am vain in one particular area of my life, scent.

I won’t buy expensive clothing, wear what’s in, wear make-up, nor fall into the shoe fetish that is many a woman’s weakness, but I will buy expensive perfume.

Not a ton at a time, but I will spend a ridiculous amount of money on a perfume whose scent I adore.

It’s an addiction. It all started seven years ago. They all started out as gifts; I’m introduced to them slowly, but then surely I get to know and then lust after them. “Dolce and Gabbana” was a high school graduation present. “White Diamond”, a Christmas present. “Amarige”, a college graduation present from my mother. That was the best piece of advice I took from my mother, make sure you smell good.  

For smelling good was just as important as looking presentable my father urged. But I only took half of their advice. I was too radical to conform to societal clothing norms.

I’m only scent-vain; see, I have a heart! (I’m socially conscious!)

But I’m scent-vain for a reason. I have this philosophy that I should use and wear the best that I have as often as I can. That’s why my shoes wear out so quickly. I wear my “good” shoes all the time. I wear my best perfume every single day (unless it’s a day where I know the bees will be out and will proceed to chase me around the block!). If you’re not going to wear it every day, why have it? Why can’t everyday be a special occasion?

The way I see it, the ground is for walking on; I never understood people who grow grass just for people to not walk on it, but to show it off.  Shoes are for wearing to get wherever we need to go; I never understood wearing shoes solely for presentation sake. Crystal dishware is for eating on; Sure it’s expensive, but there’s no point in having dishes if you don’t use them to eat more than once a year…unless you’re eating once a year. That’d be a different story and quite justifiable. And expensive perfume is for wearing, not dabbing, but wearing because if you want to smell good and deodorant only won’t do, perfume compliments your already fresh-smelling scent with a touch of elegance.

At least that’s what I tell myself. But what about sacrificing what we treasure, what I treasure?

In ministry I want to wear my best everyday or not wear it at all, for I’m sure God’s not interested in in-between dedication. He wants all of you or none of you. Not what you deem to be a special circumstance or special occasion.

He wants our kindness not only when volunteering at prison or a food bank, but when that homeless person approaches your car on 15-501 asking for any amount of money. He wants our love not only when volunteering for Vacation Bible School at our churches, but when our parents are annoying us and we’d rather ignore them. He wants our sacrifice not only when we give our usual $10 dollar offering during church, but when the church asks for money to give underprivileged kids school supplies that will cost more than our designated $20 budget.

God wants our best every single day. He wants us to anoint His head with it.

He wants us to sacrifice what we “just can’t give up”, not anointing ourselves, but to drench Him in it, pour it on Him, waste every drop of our selfishness on His perfection. (Matthew 26:6-10)   

And this hurts. It is a sweet, fatal sacrifice.  

For although sacrifices may smell like death to us – an eerie combination of flesh, blood, hair, and violence – it is a sweet aroma to God.  (Ephesians 5:2)

In sacrificing perfume, we sacrifice our masks.

That which either covers our stench of sin, or enhances our fresh scent, our self-perceived righteousness, is not ours to wear, nor anoint ourselves with. It is God’s. And we’re called to give it to Him. All of it.

And shed what once covered our human stench, what masked our human odor. We shed our mask of sweetness and give it to Jesus, for it all belongs to God.

We die to our masks just before His death.

We expose our weakness, expose our weak self to Christ and douse Him with it. He takes it in preparation for the cross. He wears our sin, our mask, our perception of what we need to be and wear and do to be acceptable before man, and wears it to the cross.

He was set on the cross, wearing my mask, my weakness, my errors, my misconceptions of myself and who I needed and need to be and dies with it on.

And my mask died with Him.

And although His dead body was supposed to be anointed with perfume again, it never was. (Mark 16:1)

Because His body, our body, my body doesn’t need it.

We wear the sweet aroma of resurrection and new life instead.








%d bloggers like this: