Friday, June 28, 2013

Why Secular Love Songs Make Us Love More

Again, many Christians may beg to disagree here, but if you're honest enough (and religiosity aside) you'd see how most secular love songs sound better and more inspiring than Christian love songs to God do. For instance, you'd see how lots of Christians are familiar with secular songs but few in the world are familiar with Christian songs. Or worse, many Christian composers imitate the tunes of secular songs to ride on their popularity.

Sometimes, when I listen to the radio, familiar tunes are playing which I know to be secular. But then I discover that they are actually Christian songs patterned after popular secular songs. I get disappointed because the Christian world seems fond of pursuing after trends in the secular world. Don't they have the imagination to create originals? Why imitate?

Well, the songs of some Christian artists, like Don Moen, are exceptional. You can readily sense how they have original tunes as well as lyrics. None of them were derived from pop music or songs. They originated from Holy Spirit inspiration. You cannot have a Christian song sounding like a popular secular tune and claim God's inspiration. Worship songs should be as unique as the Word of God is in the bible to say they are Spirit breathed or inspired.

Secular Love Songs Sound More In-Love

Most secular love songs sound more in-love than some Christian love songs that are supposed to be love songs to God. Why is that? Sometimes I can't help but ponder on this. Even believers tend to be more in-love when they hear pop love songs on radio and easily get carried away, even getting the lyrics right so easily. With some Christian songs, especially local ones, I sometimes struggle to see what they're talking about. Then I realize they're often talking about the same themes that pop songs talk about--they just put in the name of God to make the difference. But the genuine inspiration of love isn't there.

Now, because they are Christian songs, many folks dare not find something wrong in them, or else be labeled as heretics. We shouldn't be religious like that. We should use our God-given discernment to check things out--whether they are of God or the world. So, why aren't the songs inspiring so much love for God in us as they should?

I mean, look at pop love songs. The moment they play, folks both young and old begin to love at their best, do sacrifices in the name of love, become sleepless over their loved ones, do amazing things they've never done before, and display dedication, love, and affection for the person they love. Love songs do that, or at least inspire people to do these things. And often, it all eventually end up in a life commitment--marriage.

Now, why don't Christian love songs do that to us? Why can't we end up with a serious and desperate life commitment to love God alone and sacrifice and become sleepless over Him and do things we have never done before? Why are so many of us just content to attend church and sing songs and be active there but not live the radical life of my Jesus that turned the world upside down?

We're not Loving God as We Should

The answer, I guess, is that we're not loving God as we should. We're not that crazy in-love with him. I often look at how pop singers sing pop love songs. They're intense and so emotional. They feel the song. They absorb the song and don't care how their faces twist. Then I also watch how Christians sing in church. Most of them are so conscious about how they look, being careful not contort their faces as they express the song.

A lot of "worship leaders," on the other hand, do nothing but do poor imitations of their favorite pop or rock singers. There's no real, sincere emotion; there's only stage presence. 

Real Love-Experience Factor

The factor probably missing in most Christian love songs to God is the "real and personal love experience." Pop love song composers and singers get their inspiration from true-to-life love experiences. The thing is so real in their lives, so they easily express it. They live it and can even "touch" it because it's so real to them.

Probably, to a lot of Christians, God isn't that real yet. The love they feel for God (or think they feel for God) is all theological, a matter of doctrinal belief. The love is yet head knowledge and hasn't gone down to the heart. Yeah, you love God because you're supposed to, as a believer. Or, you love him because you're afraid to go to hell. Believers do things for God to avoid his ire, not because they're madly in love with him. You mouth lots of stuff on loving God, but it's all empty talk, mere intellectual belief. And it shows so obviously during "worship." All they can do is close their eyes, look sweet, and softly shake their heads.

Some even don't do that. I've seen pastors busy reviewing their sermon outlines, paying no attention to the congregational worship. I've seen worship teams busy about what song to sing next during worship while others are busy with the projector. Real worship with God's genuine presence makes every human activity stop because of his awesome majesty. Temple worship in the Old Testament produced God's cloud so that the priests could not perform their usual, ritualistic worship duties. That's what I'm talking about!

Sometimes, after a while, everything gets boring in church worship. So what they do is adopt or borrow tunes from pop or trendy secular songs to add flavor to the Christian songs. It does the trick sometimes, but not for long.

We need to honestly and genuinely be in love with God. That's the first step to improving the quality of our Christian songs. Maybe, we need to go up and down Mount Sinai several times just to hear God speak. Imagine Moses, in his old age, going up and down Sinai several times, just because he loved to hear God speak! Some Christian stage performers worry more about how their voices sound or how they blend with each other, instead of forgetting about all that and zero in on their desperate love for Jesus. And that can only happen if we desperately love HIS WORD, if we seek His Sinai voice.

Some church folks think falling madly in love with Jesus comes when you keep singing Christian songs to him and sing expressively and lively. Wrong. It only comes with desperate and deep searching of the rhema Word of God. Then, as Jesus promised, he will love us and come to us, along with the Father, and show himself to us. Then we get the real-love experience factor without meaning to.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Jesus Should Terrify You Now and Then

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. [Matt.14]

You should find Jesus terrifying at times. This means you are moving with him from glory to glory. This means Jesus is taking you to a higher level of walking with him. This means Jesus is taking you to a new and higher dimension, like what he did with Enoch who walked with him for 300 years. 

It would be alarming if your days were monotonous all you life, without Jesus showing you new, awesome supernatural things and revealing to you his various multi-faceted glories. It would suck if all you saw was the world, and worse, the worldly church that men invented and called "born again."

Jesus could have crossed the lake using another boat, or he could have told the disciples to wait for him at the foot of the mountain or somewhere else while he talked with the Father. No, he had to make them go ahead in a boat so that winds would hinder them and stall them till evening when he could come to them walking on water. There was a purpose; it wasn't just flexing of supernatural muscles. 

Don't Be Afraid, But Fear GOD

The Israelites were trembling in fear when they saw God's mountain with deep black smoke on top plus the awesome lightning and thunder. The ground was shaking terribly, moreover. Moses told them not to be afraid. These terrible things were shown them so they'd have the fear of God always in them. You see that? Don't be afraid of God's terrifying; they're designed to keep the fear of him in you. If Jesus does not terrify you now and then, that's the time to be afraid. 

Church Today Rejects God's Terrifying Things

Church today is especially allergic to God's terrifying moves. It hates being disturbed from its comfort zones. When Jesus terrifies you, it is to wake you up and get you out of your comfort zone. The genuine Jesus move is always radical, always into something unique and strange that will earn you rejection and persecution from people of this world, especially the worldly "born again" church. Your ego or flesh can never find any safe and comfortable place in God's present move in Christ. It's got to go.

Peter got out of his comfort zone to walk on water with Jesus. I can imagine how terrifying it was to see someone walking on the lake, especially the part that is so deep, and most especially at night! Was it really necessary to walk on water? Peter could have just marveled at Jesus and applauded his stunt and tell the whole world about it. Nope, that was missing the point. Jesus walked on water precisely to challenge the disciples to do likewise. Only Peter was daring enough to be like his Master.

To Jesus, believing is not enough. You have to do it yourself. James said, be doers of the Word, not just hearers, deceiving yourselves. If you really and genuinely believe, then Jesus would show himself to you with terrifying stunts or awesome wonders, impressing deeper the fear of God in you. If he does not, then you should beware. You may already be left behind, without knowing it, from the present move of God in Christ. 

If all you have in your spiritual life in Christ are church Sunday programs and church activities and concerts, cantata, medical missions (that use expired medicine for "healing"), prayer meetings (that do nothing but pray for what the ego and flesh desire), non-stop worship (that worship more the performers than God) and things like that--no terrifying, supernatural, weird, moments with Christ now and then--then you're not in Jesus' rocking boat.

What? Jesus' "rocking" boat? I thought they said Jesus' boat never rocks? Oh yes it does! That's why they also say you have to sit down. Jesus' boat rocks and that's where the excitement in walking (or boating) with him comes. That's how you prove to yourself that where Jesus is, it's the safest place on earth!

So, how about giving up everything for starters? Give up your ministry, position, titles, degrees, accomplishments, achievements, so-called "success" trophies, your self--in fact, you life--as my Jesus did, emptying himself, making himself "nothing." Does that terrify you?

Be God's flesh on earth.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Shallow and Boring

If it's not shallow, then it's boring. Sometimes it's both. A lot of churches are attractive because they are full of action and surprises. They have this and that ministry, they are seen showing social concern in the marketplace, they travel a lot for missions, they easily plant new churches, the works. Yet, they're shallow. You never hear them talk of God's awesome presence or visitations.

In fact, they prefer using expired medicine for their medical missions instead of rely on God's supernatural healing. Well, not all of them.

When they gather casually, they just talk about their ministries and the things they do and are good at, and the things they receive recognition for. Yes, they often talk about "ministry" but it's really just about themselves. You never hear them talk about how God moved in their lives supernaturally, or marvel at God in Scriptures, especially his supernatural works. In fact, they often mock at anything supernatural of God. They're shallow, though they can point out verses to defend their cause and preach the Word intellectually.

What matters to them is their accomplishments in ministry. They belittle supernatural and awesome encounters with God face-to-face and say things like that are obsolete and do not produce anything in ministry. What matters is what grows churches in practical and measurable ways, they insist. "Let's talk about what is real," they'd add. The supernatural and awesome move of God is close to nonsense to them, if not nonsense per se. Yes, they produce, but they're shallow.

Genuine Men of God

I love listening to real men of God who often encounter God in supernatural, awesome ways. I note that such men are often characterized by meekness, selflessness, patience, kindness, gentleness, quietude, and genuinely God-centered. They seldom talk about themselves or their accomplishments. They are often interested about you when they're not talking about God.

Well, there are fakes, of course, pretending to be deeply spiritual. But you can easily see through them if you're deep in the Holy Spirit and in God's spoken Word.

Genuine men of God have regular church ministries--they have compassion for lost souls but they do everything the way Jesus did things. They listen to the Father and not just do what they like to do. They're plain-looking and live simple lives, yet they are far from being shallow. They can talk about God deeply and tour you to God's Throne Room and chambers and courtyards. They can catch God's scent and know if he passed this or that way. And you can tell the veracity of their God-sensitivity by the fruit of their lives--their Jesus character. Jesus said you will know them by their fruit.

You won't catch them bragging about self-centered stories with arrogant "successful" people. If they find themselves trapped in such conversation, they just quietly listen and smile and nod at the super stories of conceited people about themselves. You'd sometimes see a slight discomfort on their faces when the self-centered talk goes too prolonged and pronounced, and you'd see how they'd wish they were some place else where only God is honored. Some people are just full of themselves, using God and his work to gain more glory for themselves.

Two Kinds of Christian Churches

So you'd see two kinds of Christian churches today--the shallow and the boring. To the "Shallow" also belongs churches that just want to make noise "for the Lord." They do this to attract more people, especially the young. All they want to do is make music to the Lord and sing for him. When they gather casually, all they talk about is music and musical instruments and this concert and that singer. Sometimes, they sing casually to blend their voices. Oh, how they love singing (and probably they love to sing for the Lord, too), but they're boring nonetheless. 

In reality, they don't know much about God, and what they do know is just a figment of their imagination, their own concepts of who God is. There's no depth in the spoken Word. There's no real, supernatural, awesome encounter with God's spoken Word which comes direct from his own mouth. All they know is how to sing and blend their voices and their musical instruments. These kinds of Christian churches are shallow and boring. They have a lot of activities and make a lot of noise, but they have nothing, really. Without the awesome, supernatural spoken WORD and presence of God (the WORD is Jesus), you have nothing.

Then there are the boring churches. These are church people who remain in their church to grow old and die someday. They take part in activities (because that's spirituality to them), and they support the ministry and the pastor. But if you listen to them--really listen to them--there's no real depth in the spoken Word of God. They're actually empty and miserable, though they have a vague feel of "joy serving the Lord." But it's nothing but the same "joy" people feel when they are active being part of Lion's Club or Kiwanis or the Rotary. They feel happy and content to have themselves used for something beneficial. But it's not the joy from the Holy Spirit.

Genuine joy from the Spirit of God comes when you experience his awesome, supernatural presence through God's spoken Word. There is no other way you can enjoy God authentically except through his holy and supernatural ways and Word alone.

Thus, when you are with these kinds of Christian churches--yes they have the Word, they teach and preach it, but it's all boring because they have no real LIFE and power. Often it's also because they're shallow. You sit there and listen to the preaching but get nothing. You may get carried away by the solemnity of it all and be good for a while, but it's only for a little while. No real permanent and radical change in Christ. Yeah, the Word of God is powerful and it always brings something beneficial to you. But Paul said the Word can also kill you if you just hear the letter of the Word. The Letter kills, he said, but the Spirit brings life. Some churches and preachers can give you nothing else but the Letter of the Word--all information.

When you are God's flesh on earth, you look for nothing less than real Manna from heaven. And that Manna is awesome and supernatural. It cannot be produced by intellectual study and preaching of the Word. It cannot be through human theology. It comes only straight from God's own mouth. God's flesh can be fed only by that Manna--Jesus who comes straight from heaven. Jesus, the very flesh of the Father. God's flesh cannot be fed by artificial food and synthetics. It will spew out anything of man, not because of ill-will or hatred or insult, but because of their God-nature. A genuine God's flesh on earth will scour the whole earth, desperately seek even the ends of the earth, just to get fresh Manna from heaven, the spoken Word, who is Jesus Christ.

Shallow and boring and dead tired of being like that all your Christian life? Tired of man and his church activity and ministries? You need God's supernatural and awesome presence--and his spiritual activities. Get out of all the kinds of Christian churches around you which are man-made. You need to be God's flesh on earth.

Well, it's a lot worse if you're not yet dead tired of men's churches..

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