Continually Convicted:Thoughts on the Last Things and Beyond...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I just finished preaching to a group of great students, who have a great youth minister, ministry-oriented church etc... I preached on what is one of my top five most taught and studied passages in the Bible,I Corinthians 15. I love this chapter in the Bible because it is one that brings me the most hope for both today and forever. It makes me excited to be a Christian, and causes me to love Christ even more.

I firmly believe that because of our view of the body and eternity, it is no wonder that abuse our bodies, please ourselves sexually, avoid suffering for the sake of Christ, and don't even share our faith... It is no wonder. Verse 32 says, "If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”" That verse explains perfectly, that if we do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, then we should consume all that is because the sinful pleasure of Earth is all the exists for us (not all pleasure is sinful). Let's commit all fornication, let us commit all drunkenness, let us commit all debauchery. Seriously, it blows my mind to think of the inconsistency of many who don't believe in this and still lead moral lives. That is craziness, you are selling yourself short if this time on Earth is all that exists for us...

But think, oh think of the pleasures of God, of the glories of God. Oh Lord, we will have a body that can experience pleasure for eternity. Oh God, we will take pleasure in you for eternity, oh yes Lord... We will rule, we will work, we will be in relationships, we will feast, we will joy in all things. And yes God, we should pursue pleasure, joy, IN you. Wow, God I can experience sexuality in its fullness in You. Yes Lord, thank you that you saw fit for marriage, that sexual expression is something beautiful there. Lord, I can pleasure with food in you, thank you God for taste and feasting. Lord, I can take pleasure from the joys of this Earth IN you. Lord, thank you for the pain you allow, and the suffering that you allow in you. Thank you that we can persevere and glory in you throughout it all. Yes Lord, thank you Lord, that you allow me joy and pleasure now, and an even fuller Joy in eternity. Thank you God, thank you.

Hedonism & Hurt

Wednesday, March 7, 2007
There is so much of this in music today, and it is just a mircrocosom of what the world is going through, below there are some lyrics of Billboard top 100 songs, both in the top 10, and there are many more that could be added to this list, but for time and content, they've been left out.
Disclaimer: These are some hard lyrics, and while they have been censored, the fact that people would really sing these things is still tough to swallow. It is altogether sad and convicting. Take a look:
Lisa is stuck up in the world on her own
Forced to think that hell is a place called home
Nothin else to do but some get some clothes and pack
She says shes bout to run away and never come back
Little erica is eleven years old
Shes steady tryin to figure why the world is so cold
So she pops x to get rid of all the pain
Cause shes havin sex with a boy whos sixteen
Emotions run deep and she thinks shes in love
Never thinkin bout the consequences of her actions
Livin for today and not tomorrows satisfaction
The days go by and her belly gets big
The father bails out he aint ready for a kid
Knowin her mama will blow it all outta proportion
Plus she lives poor so no money for abortion
This is why I’m hot Catch me on the block Every other day
This is the other side of this post!!
Another ____ another drop 16 bars, 24 pop 44 songs, _____ gimme what you got
I’m in there driving cars Push them off the lot I’m into shutting stores down so I can shop
If you need a bird I can get it chopped Tell ne what you need you know I get ‘em by the flock
I call my hommie black meet me on the ave
I hit wash heights with the money in the bag we into big spinners
See my _______ never dragged Find me with different women that you ______never had
For those who say they know me know I’m focused on my cream
Playa you come between you’d better focus on the beam
I keep it so feen the way you see me lean
And when I say I’m hot my ______ this is what I mean
Look at this, what are they feeling? Like I said before, these lyrics are not isolated incidents, just scrolling through the top songs, most all of them could fall into either some talk of hurting or a glorifying of hedonism (def- Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses). There are some exceptions to this, of course, but the point is still clear; there is an immense amount of pain in the lives of the world, and there is a lifestyle of solely pleasing the senses.
What are the implications of this?
Think of this, what is the utopia of the hurting songs? If we could map out the end result of what these people are looking for, what would it be? "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", When I Wish Upon a Star". No, they would want all the pain in their life to dissipate, I would generalize, ladies would most likely for a strong loving caring man, to come and save them from it. These two girls in the lyrics (three in the actual song) would want all this junk to be gone, and would either want a father figure to come and make it right or someone that they would fall in love with to come and make it right. (yes I know there are exceptions.....there always are). Now think about the converse of this, that person comes and they protect and care for them, they take away the hurt, but to what end? What happens then, happily ever after? Wait 'till the sequel. No, we who are in relationships know that our fathers royally screw up in our lives, we who are in relationships know that us men (husbands, boyfriends, fiance, or friend) mess up terribly. We have said things to the one we care for that brings us great pain to relive, we miss the event, or forget the promise, and these are not isolated incidents. So, what happens to the saving, the fixing, what happens now?
Take the hedonism, what is their utopia, all the sexual pleasure one could fathom, food, touch, smell, possession, power that could possible be experienced or consumed? We see this played out regularly in the lives of the wealthy and immature. Cars, houses, clubs, women, (or men for that matter) consume, consume, consume. Different partner as often as wanted, endless resources, the list can go on. So what is the other side of this dystopia?
Often there is a string of broken laws, hearts, and promises in the wake, all in the name of pleasure. Litigation, child support, death, deceit, mistrust, loss of power, respect, and prestige. We can see this in the amount of large sums of money won in different events, or young persons given large sums of money with power and notoriety at a young age, and the lives of the person in 5-10 years (or 1 month-2 years) are no longer envied.
The point is clear, we have to know what is happening here. We can eaves drop on many different conversation out in the public sphere and see this. The selfishness, narcissism in the conversation. How many times I, me, my, mine, how often the stories always directly relates to them. People are living for things that will last for about a minute. Music is such a huge part of our experiences in life. These songs, along with many others, are a fire alarm to a missional Christian. The hope of Jesus Christ destroys all the pain, it overturns the life of pleasure and it sills it will a love that will not wane, and a pleasure that cannot be compared. There is unspeakable hurt, the empty tomb shows eternal healing, there is a hedonistic lifestyle, there is Christian Hedonism. Are we hurt for the hurts, do we see the life of the hedonist, and does it bring us pain? Christian does it, listen to the lyrics of the cultural influences and tell me what they are thinking....


Sunday, March 4, 2007
These are two very distinct kinds of music today.
1. Hedonism talking about the escapades that one goes down and does when they are under the influence of a substance a person or a feeling
2. Hurt all the pain in the world seems to be displayed in these songs, abortion, someone leaving someone, a parent was horrible, rape, murder, fired etc etc etc.........

Check back soon to see some more on this subject and how these two genres are barometers fort he culture and how as Christians we can interact with these in a God honoring sort of way!!!!!!!!!!