"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
The Church of New Wineskin
Many of us are asking, “When this pandemic is over, what’s next?”
We all know that the Day of the Lord draws near and we will soon see the Lord’s return, however I also believe that this troubling time that we live in has another purpose.
I believe that God is not only disciplining His church, but showing and preparing all of us for what is to come in the next few years.
Mark 2:21-22 (KJV)
21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.
22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.
My grandparents and even parents grew up in a time where kids got holes in their jeans, especially the knees. Their parents would sow patches to cover up those holes because back then it wasn’t cool to go to school with torn jeans. However, most people did not have the means to buy a new pair of jeans every time they ripped or were worn out. However, if the parent sowed in a piece of patch that was not pre-shrunk or flexible and then washed the jeans, many times it would create a new tear worse than the first. I have seen it happen to patches that go on uniforms and the like. You just can’t put a brand new piece of cloth on a broke-in or old piece of cloth and expect things to be alright.
The concept or thought process of an ancient wineskin/bottle is the same here. Jesus is saying you wouldn’t put new wine into an old wine’s bottle. The two would mix together when they weren’t meant to be together. It would not only distort the taste, but totally ruin the whole aging process. They just simply do not go together.
But what does this have to do with the Church today and this current crisis we are in?
God is simply allowing us to be purified, to go through the process of becoming new/purified/prepared!
The proof is in the pudding they say!
Has the church not been going through a recent stirring the last couple of years, especially the last few months? I have noticed myself a huge burden and stirring for reaching out to the lost and broken.
However, this burden has also magnified our impurities.
Why would God allow this new wine, this new generation/harvest He is about to bring in be brought into an impure church with old wineskins and old cloth. He won’t! He is actually renewing and purifying us as I write this today.
Along with some of the businesses that are seeing their business model not stand up and prepared for today’s circumstances watch their future wash away as fast as they were established, many churches who also find themselves clinging to a worldly business model are also seeing their last days.
Before you write me off as harsh, understand, I hurt just as many of you for many of these small companies who simply cannot weather a storm that has mostly been controlled by man-made government. However, in these troubling times, God has also warned us that He “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
This current crisis not only impacts these companies. Remember that many churches have also now become business based around the cult of “prosperity.” Their whole existence is based upon the false gospel that God only wishes to prosper us financially and allow only positivity in our lives. They leave adherents with the attitude that the closer we get to God the more we are blessed with material things and finances. Perhaps many even teach indirectly that even negativity is something that God rejects and therefore does not allow His true believers to experience if we are truly believers.
We know if we read the Holy Bible that this is false because even Jesus dealt with negativity and rejection. We are talking about a faith based around a man (who was also God) that was rejected and ridiculed to the point where He was crucified. Of course His resurrection gives us life and victory today, but it does not mean we are to only experience positivity and financial prosperity in this life. God has given His greatest commandment as well as the Great Commission as standing orders in our life. Our mission should be His will whether or not you personally believe or agree with it.
These same organizations based on false teachings are also often built on business models that require vast amounts of revenue to keep their bills paid. Not having this revenue stream due to lack of attendance from these current circumstances may soon find themselves closing their doors. Many smaller organizations will also experience this and it is unfortunate, but there is an opportunity for them to join others in ministry. There will come a need for many local and small churches however and I will explain that in a bit.
A Period of Preparation, Rest, & Reflection
Prior to this crisis, many ministries and churches were experiencing a move of God unlike anything we have seen in many years. Many organizations had begun preparing outreach and ministry teams to go out and serve. Some may have been already been in this process many years before. Others had maybe thought or prayed about it, but did not have the support or push from the Lord that they though they may need in order to make such bold moves for ministry.
This current crisis has allowed us to stop, reset, and reset. A co-worker friend of mine said recently, “God has caused us to slow down and focus on the basics of this life.” Just as He renews the church, He renews us. Many of us were headed in different directions from His purpose and will for us in this life at the speed of light. Just as quickly, He turned it all upside down, casted it aside, and asked us “what now?”
Use this time to rest your bodies, minds, and souls. Make time to dive into the Word of the Lord, study, pray, and spend quality time with your family. Many of us were so busy; we hardly did any of these things before we were forced to spend our time indoors with nothing more to do. These items on our “to do” list should not simply be a dependent factor on which it depends on our left over time or energy. Rather, they should be the focus of our lives if our priorities are where we say they are (1.God, 2.Family, and 3.Church)!
Also, use this time to prepare or regroup as an organization. If your church was already in the process of outreach, media, or some other type of effective ministry, use this time to organize and prepare yourselves for what awaits us on the other side of sickness in our land. I will talk a little more about that in a second, but first I must touch on what this will require.
New Wineskins With New Methods
If you grew up watching some of the stuff like I did, cartoons were not an option 24 hours a day as they are now. Many of us watched some nature or outdoors shows every now and then.
What is interesting when it comes to watching someone fish is that the lures or methods of catching fish seem almost unlimited. Matter of fact, they are only limited by your imagination and resources.
Recently on Facebook, I saw that a couple of my old high school buddies had won a bass fishing tournament. I am sure if you asked (and they were willing to tell!), they would tell you they used a few different lures and maybe even changed them according to the color of the water, the season, temperature, etc.
Many factors are considered when determining what type of lure to use when fishing at that high of a level. When I watch this one show about individuals living off the land in Alaska, many times they switch up the nets when different seasons of fishing come up due to the size of the holes in the nets to catch the proper size of fish for that season.
Another video on Facebook I watched had a man fishing in what looked like a muddy marsh using soda and Mentos tablets. As he put the explosive mixture in the holes, the fish came rushing out right into his hands.
All of these fisherman have and will continue to adapt their methods to the season and opportunity that is presented to them.
How come even though fishing is used as one of the largest illustrations of the Bible when presenting the gospel, the church never adapts to opportunity and need as fisherman do?
For years and even generations now, our society has been changing all around us. Some ministries have been obedient to the true purpose God has given to us and adjusted, others not so much.
Don’t misinterpret this! This is not an attack against tradition, biblical standards, or righteous teaching, rather against the attitude of “same old, same old.” We must adjust our methods and process for how we “fish” in these different days.
If you always use the same color plastic worm every day at the lake are you likely to get the same results fishing as you did on a different day with different weather and water color? Most likely not!
Just as these fisherman switch their methods/lures, we must also adjust to the changing times. For decades now as we learned from our forefathers, we have sat on pews, allowed the pastor to preach, and waited for the fish to walk in the door. So what happens when the fish no longer come to us?
God says we must change our methods and “Go Fish”!
Many of your local ministries and organizations in the coming days will begin to change your methods and process of doing ministry as a result of this current crisis. This is perfectly fine so long as you follow the will and Word of our God.
The Coming Healing and Harvest
When our bodies get sick, they do one of two things. They either heal or die. Burned land is also very similar. What separates the two? Opportunity!
If God saw no opportunity for further repentance and revival in the land, resulting in more harvest for the Kingdom of God, He would return, bring His children home, and you know the rest of the story (or should).
The fact that He appears to have allowed us to not only live through this moment in time, but shake up the whole world in the process shows us that He has a future purpose for us here and requires us to learn from this experience to achieve this purpose.
To achieve the purpose, He has provided many of us already called into His ministry a new vision. He will also raise many others, followed by the future generations. The reasons are many.
First, He needs those who have fallen by the wayside to be replaced. Secondly, He needs those He has equipped with a new skill set now needed in today’s ministry field to bring in new methods. Third, He needs the established churches and ministries with their resources and stability to help lead and guide the coming harvest.
What about this harvest I speak of?
Well, if you were paying attention at the beginning when I mentioned the burden many ministers and their congregants have been dealing with as of late, it is there because God has place it there. There is a burden because there is a need.
Many have heard the old quote, “luck is when opportunity meets preparation.” If you understand that saying, you understand that luck is eliminated because without the preparation, the opportunity would pass us by. However, there is a third element to the equation. This third element is surely “action.” Without works (action), this opportunity for harvest in our coming season will not be realized and our period of suffering (reflection) will be our loss.
I know you can feel it if you are a child of God. I can feel it every day as I go through the streets of cities where people are losing their jobs, walking down the aisle of the local store, or even browsing the news feeds of social media. The need for our “action”/ministry is surely here in these perilous times. The harvest is ripe, as it is surely an opportune time to take advantage.
Would we allow this opportunity to pass us by, relying on the old methods of sitting and waiting on the few fish to come to us, or will we be children of God who are prepared for a harvest that is overflowing?
The Hour of the Sober Saints
1 Peter 1:13 (KJV)
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Thessalonians 5:6 (KJV)
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Ephesians 5:18 (KJV)
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit
God instructs us to be Sober, to be aware, to be vigilant. This does not necessarily always mean sober from substances or alcohol, but sober from all distractions. Nothing offers more distractions, nor have there ever been more distractions than there are in today’s society that we live in.
God even tells us why in a timeless answer saying:
1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
However, you may ask yourself, “why does God care about our attention, our sobriety, our alertness in a world that is not our home and that is beyond our control?”
The answer is that when you are drunken, you may stumble. When you are not aware of what is going on around you, what the enemy has placed in your path, we become easy to be stopped. Asking why a Christian needs to be sober in this world is like asking why you would need to be sober from alcohol in a calculus class. The answer is obvious.
The Types of Drunkenness:
Substances: Alcohol, Drugs, Medication
Today we have more intoxicating substances than ever before at our disposal because we are the leading drug consuming nation in the world. Both legal and illegal substances equal in the billions of dollars profit each in our nation, yet we are also considered to be the leading Christian nation in the world.
Although we lead the world in the financial support of non-profits and ministry as the most generous and prosperous nation, we also lead the world in money spent on drugs and other substances. According to the CDC, excessive drinking is draining the U.S. economy. Alcohol is responsible for 2.8 million premature deaths each year world wide. Do you think all of those individuals though before they consumed their drug of choice were ready to meet their maker face to face? Not likely! Like many they probably thought they had time to “get their life straight and get old”!
Complacency: Convenience, Laziness, Selfishness
Along with the highest amount of drunkenness in our country the world has ever seen, we also have the highest amount of complacency I have ever witnessed. People everywhere are wrapped up in the complacency of convenience and laziness
We live in a microwave society. Here in America as in many Western World countries, we want things now with no waiting. God doesn’t move on our timing, He moves on His and many times we get inpatient. We want an answer now and God’s methods require faith. I can’t tell you how many times I have grown inpatient or weary, only for God to be perfect in His timing and come to the rescue. It has taught me some valuable lessons about waiting upon the Lord.
Selfishness is also a huge character flaw that I see largely in today’s society. As carnal human beings having a natural sin nature, we have always and will continue to have a tendency to be selfish as long as we are in our flesh bodies. The old saying is, “if I don’t take care of me, who will?” The truth is that God takes care of us and if he can feed the birds even though they do not produce their own food such as according to Matthew 6:26-34, why can’t He take care of our needs. This however requires us to be vigilant and stay alert. While the birds don’t necessarily produce, just by observing you can see that it is evident they are certainly not lazy! However, the type of selfishness I see today that our society is drunk off of is that of self-care, interest, hobbies, and so forth. While it is true that the best work for God comes out of the activities and living every day life, how much more could people see the Jesus in you if every now and then you reached out to serve someone in a bad situation, a church member in need, or that lost individual who needs a helping hand?
So, don’t get caught up in the drunkenness of complacency, the allure of convenience and the bad habit of laziness or selfishness.
Distraction: Media, Politics, Sports, Money, Interests & Entertainment
Going back to 1 Peter 1:13, we may ask what exactly is God saying here?
One version says it like this, “preparing your mind,” and another “think clearly and exercise self-control.”
Being that we were all once in sin even if we are now saved, therefore we are former drunkards, it takes the work of the Spirit as well as self-control to keep us away from drunkenness.
However, notice that the midnight hour is upon us!
Take a look at the Parable of the 10 Virgins and compare it to modern times.
Matthew 25:6 (KJV)
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Why would the enemy desire for us to be in this “drunkenness” and not ready for our groom’s return?
It’s clear my friends that the enemy desires above all that we not make this meeting in the air and eternal life. The enemy wishes for us to be distracted so like the virgins with unlit lamps, we also get left behind.
Don’t be the unprepared virgin, but be the bride who is prepared, ready, and on full display of her beauty at the arrival of her bridegroom.
How Do We Become Ready?:
1.) We Must Seek the Lord!
2.) We Must Remain Holy!
3.) Protect Our Minds and Hearts
4.) Spread The Gospel
As we saw in Matthew 25:6, we are certainly in the midnight hour, a time of awaiting the Lord's return. It draws near my friends, but many are still drunken and not sober. What is the most popular time to be drunken? I would say it is around midnight when people often begin to lose all sobriety and continually be under the influence of other things. If today is the midnight hour and mankind seeks to be drunken with worldly things, we should seek the opposite and run to God. If our focus is on Him and remaining focused on what is going on around us, we won't have time for drunken games, influence, and the stumbling blocks of the enemy. We will be ready for the return of our groom as the bride of Christ!
Mary, You Did Know!
Last year in honor of Christmas, I wrote an article titled “The Perspective of the King’s Expecting Parents!” In that article, I wrote from the perspective concerns that Mary and Joseph may have had as a young newly formed couple about to embark on the journey of their lives, raising the King of Kings! It is similar to another great work that I often run across around Christmas time. Many of us have heard the song “Mary, Did You Know?” It is sort of a Christmas tradition in many churches to play this song every Christmas season, while others hear it on the radios this time of year. It’s written from what appears to be Mary’s motherly perspective and asks some very emotionally charged questions for any mom in her position. I will post the actual song on the end of this post, but for those of you who rather not listen, here are the lyrics:
Mary, Did You Know?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God
Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?
Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect lamb?
That sleeping child you're holding is the great I am
Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know?
Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Mary did you know? Oh
Mary did you know?
Song Writers: Buddy Greene/Mark Lowry
Not to knock the meaning and value of the song as we know it, but I want to pose a challenge. Mary not only knew who that little baby boy was that she held in her arms, she also knew quite a bit about his purpose. As a gentile mother she may have had nearly all of the questions that the song presents, but as a Hebrew mom, knowing the history and faith she was taught, I highly doubt many of these questions ever remained a concern for her. Out of all the Hebrew women in the nation, God chose her and for good reason. Mary was pure and had never known a man. Hebrews in those days would have grown up hearing the scrolls of the Torah (The Law) and Tanakh (whole thing) read in the Synagogue. They would have heard the precious words of God even in schools. The Torah includes the 5 early Old Testament books Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and the Tanakh is the entirety of the Jewish Bible. From these books we find prophecies about the soon coming of the Messiah (Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ).
Prophecies such as:
The Messiah would be in the lineage of the tribe of Judah:
Genesis 49:10 (KJV)
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
King David would be part of the lineage of the Messiah:
2 Samuel 7:12-16 (NKJV)
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the [a]blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before [b]you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
The Messiah would certainly be born in Bethlehem:
Micah 5:2 (KJV)
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”
The Messiah would approach Jerusalem riding upon a donkey:
Zechariah 9:9 (KJV)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
The Messiah would according to scripture, suffer, match a description, would be silent during his trial, buried in a rich man’s grave, and would be resurrected from the dead:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” –v.3
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” –v.5
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” –v.7
“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” –v.9-11
All of these details and hundreds of others were established centuries before the birth of Christ and would have been part of Mary’s faith and traditions.
As we can see from Mary’s responses to her “unique” and bizarre situation of being a virgin mother, we can see that she already had expectations and faith in God’s way of doing things:
Luke 1:26-38 (KJV)
“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Notice that Mary doesn’t question if this son would be legitimate, beg God to take such a hard situation away from her, or even question if God could do it. She not only knows that God can, she asks how it would all happen as if to say, “instruct me what to do.”
Even Elizabeth (Mary’s cousin and John the Baptist’s mother) understood what was about to happen. In Luke 1:43 we find her saying, “But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Later on in Jesus’ life, even before the public knew exactly who Jesus was because His ministry had not even begun yet, Mary once again allowed her understanding of who her son was to be on display. Even though we find in John 2 where Mary begs Jesus to perform the miracle of making more wine for a wedding party and Jesus tries to resist due to the timing of ministry not being right, the faith of his Mother inspires Jesus to perform the miracle anyway. What is awesome is her faith, determination, and confidence in who Jesus was and what He could do.
In verse five “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5)
There is a lesson here in this perspective of Mary for all of us. Today, little girls dreams may not be to one day be the mother of the soon coming Messiah, but we can all be excited about the purpose that God has birthed into our lives. In a way, we are all Mary’s expected something the world considers impossible, living with a purpose and a promise of redemption! While the world believes the lie that we all made it here by accident and will meet the same meaningless fate at death, God gives His people a hope for not only a future, but a future filled with “abundant life.”
So, I ask you today, what dream has God birthed into you?
What are you “expecting”?
Notice that v. 37 says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
My next question to you is that if you already have faith in God, are you obedient?
Are you doing as Mary instructed to the servants, “whatever He says to you”?
As you reflect this Christmas on the “Reason” for the season, don’t forget to remember the purpose God has placed in your heart and the decisions that lead you in the direction of the path God has set before you.
Mary could have taken a much different path and a total different direction, but God knew that she wouldn’t because He knew her heart.
Mary may not have known just how awesome the miracle of Jesus would be, but what she did know was that He was surely a miracle and that “with God nothing shall be impossible.”
You also may not know for sure just how awesome and powerful your journey may be, but you have the assurance of God and the promises that He brings to our lives. So with boldness and faith this Christmas season, proclaim the name of Christ to all those you encounter and walk in obedience to the Lord.
Reaping The Harvest: An In-depth Look at Kanye West’s Sunday Service
This thanksgiving as I was gathered around with family, I couldn’t help but overhear to the proud family cooks talking about how grateful they were that everyone loved their cooking so much, but slightly upset that they didn’t get to keep any themselves after others gathered takeout plates. I couldn’t help but to think about how the art of good cooking (southern cooking especially) has been almost been lost with the generations before. People crave genuinely home cooked meals over the pre-prepared and processed food served at many restaurants today. Even the “sit down” places serve mostly factory processed ingredients in their “so-called” fresh dishes. The fake processed stuff just doesn’t do what our bodies need it to. They don’t provide the nutritional punch, but rather a punch to our slowing metabolisms. The only thing growing from all of this are the waist lines of America.
Just like in our food, people spiritually crave the genuine gospel whether that’s what they recognize it as or not. Where there is not a genuine experience with God, it is substituted. For some it may be some type of substance abuse, while for others it may be a more honorably viewed aspect of life such as religion, but regardless the presence of God in our life will be substituted if not present. Those who are tired of the same old routine church services or being beaten down by those who claim to be Christians don’t want what is fake. They don’t want plain tradition, religion, or judgmental attitudes; they want a genuine encounter with God. Before we can tell them how to act, dress, pray, or whatever else some Christians believe it is their duty to enforce upon the lost who don’t even know God yet, we must obey the Spirit and give the people what it is their soul desires, a genuine encounter with the genuine gospel of Jesus Christ.
After the death of Billy Graham and many great heavyweights of the faith recently, I began to think in my conscious that maybe God is either preparing the next generation for a great move or He has already chosen someone to be the next source of a great awakening in our country. My faith and God’s Word tells us that “He’s not done with us yet.” What I didn’t know is that God was doing quite a work in Kanye West. Yes, you heard that right, the rap artists that has won numerous awards and prided himself off his own abilities to make masterpieces in the music industry. As one can imagine, Christ-like behavior, demeanor, and language is not what the popular hip-hop artist is known for. However, after doing quite a bit of research into Kanye’s life for the past year and seeing some interviews of important people in Kanye’s life, it appears that Kanye has experienced a genuine conversion experience in Christ. He has not only recently produced a gospel album called “Jesus Is King,” but has begun a series of worship services in various cities called “Sunday Service” held in arenas and venues around the country.
I must admit, when I first heard Kanye West had a plan to introduce the gospel in a “music concert” sort of style or fashion, I was a little skeptical. My next thought was that he must be having another “moment.” As it turns out it was nothing of the sort, but rather a product of his newfound genuine faith in Christ. After Kanye’s conversion, he took a familiar path like many of us; however the circumstances were certainly a little different than your average new “babe in Christ.” After hearing Kanye’s testimony, it appears that after his conversion, he began connect with local pastor Adam Tyson. Although Pastor Tyson’s church is not the size of a typical mega-church in California, Kanye somehow connected with the pastor after randomly attending his church for a few weeks. Kanye even began flying Pastor Tyson out to his ranch in Wyoming after a few weeks of meetings and Bible study at the church when Kanye had to travel. It is at that ranch where God began birthing the dream of “Sunday Service” in Kanye. This “service” has not only been effective, it’s attracting a lot of attention outside of the Christian circles. While it is rather early in the series of the event to gather analytics and prove with numbers the impact that the service has, it is obvious that the Sunday Service has had a huge impact on people’s lives all around the world. Just looking in the comments of the archived services on YouTube, you will find comments like “since the day this record came out, my life has changed” and “I met God at this service.”
This article by Rolling Stone is an interview with Kanye’s Choir Director and talks about how Kanye’s vision grew into a reality from simple songs to massive events over a course of a few months:
Looking at it from God’s perspective, Kanye has the perfect platform for God to impact the world through. He has a following of millions all across the world (even though there have been radical statements and scandals that have turned some away from him in the past), he has some of the greatest live performance skills of anyone ever in the music industry, he’s been a producer for nearly his entire career, and he has the financial resources to do much of it without any resources being fronted to him. However, all these things can also be obstacles to someone who can’t handle such access to resources and popularity. The great thing is that Kanye has risen out of such an environment by the strength of God and although he has chased all of these idols in the past, he now seeks God above it all. This is an artist who I listened to as a young man while he blasphemed against God, calling himself the savior. He now not only claims Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, he professes that his new purpose is to “serve and glorify Christ in all he does.” In one service Kanye even mentions how, “the devil had me chasing a golden statue (referring to music awards),” but now he chases God and the purpose that God has given him.
So, what is it about Sunday Service that works so well? Well, remember what I said about the people thirsting for a genuine gospel? This is what I was talking about! A recent convert, fresh off a year-long growing process in the Lord, fired up by a dream planted by God with all the resources needed to share the gospel through the methods that the enemy once used him for being genuine with the people. That is what works folks. Billy Graham wasn’t just effective because he was a good preacher (I actually believe my local pastor may be more gifted in that aspect), but Billy Graham was a genuine believer who was on fire for God and was given the tools necessary to share it with the masses. He knew how to connect with the everyday people of American and Kanye knows how to not only connect with much of the world, but especially the younger generations of America.
Sunday Service doesn’t do away with traditional Christian songs or even many of the traditional church methods of having service. The service still utilizes a choir, sing old gospel hymns, and include preacher giving the gospel message. What it does incorporate however are the smooth music production skills of Kanye and other professionals God has placed in his life, along with keeping the basics of the gospel intact throughout the entire theme of the service. At points throughout the service you may hear the testimony of Kanye himself and many other subtle elements that are effective at delivering the gospel message. Even the worship music crosses over cultural boundaries. I may be no musician, but I know good worship music that helps me connect with God when I hear it. During the first Sunday Service, the worship songs varied from traditional black gospel to hymns and included added flavors of genres such hip-hop, reggae, and many others. While this may certainly be outside the boundaries for many who are used to the “traditional” ways of worship and doing things, we also realize that these services aren’t mostly geared towards seasoned believers, but the world who will be reached by Kanye’s methods. While many in the church may have spiritually grown past being attracted to this type of service, remember that every ministry has its own culture. Kanye’s culture in this season of his walk will be one of attracting the lost into a genuine encounter with God.
When God does a work in someone like Kanye, it does awesome things to the confidence and faith of a whole generation. What our nation and the entire world frankly needs is a movement of God sourced in the youth framework of this country. When great revivals come about in the young generations, the movement has an impact not just for today, but for generations to come. While the world may be changing (and not always for the good), God is doing great things among the spiritual warfare brewing all around us. Psalm 27:3 tells us, “Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”
Let us not continually discount and dismiss the work God is doing in Kanye, but let us celebrate what the Lord has done. Even if Mr. West is lead by the wayside tomorrow, the work that has already been done through the dream that God has manifested through the hands of this man, will continue to have a spiritual impact for generations to come. Let us learn a lesson to take back to our own local ministries in that genuine faith, genuine love, and getting back to the basics of Christ is what the people need and are seeking. Big conversions like Kanye’s surely won’t stop today, as he isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last. The question is, with the mighty army of servants that God has prepared in these last days plowing the fields and sowing the seeds, is the local church ready? Are we ready for the harvest God has for us at hand, or are we idly standing by waiting for rain, as the harvests pass us by? Let us not miss this opportunity due to closed-minded arrogance in our legalistic and selfish ways, but embrace what God is doing even in the most corrupt corners of our society. Isn’t that just like Jesus? From the penthouse to the whore house, God is doing a work in us!
Here are some archived videos from the previously recorded Sunday Services:
David (God’s Molded King)
1 Samuel 17 New King James Version (NKJV)
Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.
And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was [a]armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. 8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
12 Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse, and who had eight sons. And the man was old, advanced in years, in the days of Saul. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had gone to follow Saul to the battle. The names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. And the three oldest followed Saul. 15 But David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.
16 And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.
17 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. 18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” 19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
20 So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle. 21 For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, army against army. 22 And David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and greeted his brothers. 23 Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard them. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid. 25 So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.”
26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is[b] there not a cause?” 30 Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did.
31 Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
38 So Saul clothed David with his [c]armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off.
40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine. 41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained[d] him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.
And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of [e]the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the road to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 Then the children of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their tents. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.
Some of us have found ourselves recently in a position of asking God, “what next Lord”?
Only to be given an answer that makes you question, “why me Lord”?
David found himself in this exact position many times. What he would often soon realize is that he was right where he needed to be in that moment of time for God to grow and mold him into the man that His people needed. He was being transformed from a lowly shepherd boy into a king and in those days, that took a huge transformation. One of those moments, just so happened to be while Israel was at war with the Philistines and lined up perfectly with God’s will for David.
David was sent to the battlefield for a simple task that day, which was to take lunch to some hungry brothers. In those days, armies depended heavily on the citizens of their people to help feed them. The Scripture tells us that Goliath had taunted Israel for 40 days (scriptural evidence of a period of transformation). Scripture often uses a period of 40 days or years to separate two time periods.
David came to the battlefield as a shepherd boy, but he emerged as “a man after God’s own heart.” David entered the battlefield as a boy in the eyes of Israelites, but was transformed into their soon warrior king that very day. The days to come for David would be difficult and sometimes nearly unbearable as he fled for his own life many days, until Saul’s selfishness, guilt, and jealousy soon brought him his own demise.
David may have already known that he was the warrior king in his heart, but the people had yet to be shown who David was. What was interesting is that even though David’s importance to the land was shown to the people that day, they still had no idea what David’s full-potential and his soon coming destiny would be. They now knew that David was a well-gifted warrior, but they had no idea that he would soon be their king.
Don’t expect people to always recognize who you know you are in God’s eyes. There is a strong possibility that they may not even recognize the real you inside, because you have yet to be revealed to them. So, the next time you mention your vision, dreams, goals, ambitions, or just something God has showed you and they don’t seem to believe you or catch the vision with you, don’t be surprised. They just haven’t been showed your true identity, true skills, true anointing, or true abilities yet.
The people didn’t know that God had been working on David since the day Samuel anointed him as the future king. They didn’t know that David had been spending some time around the throne, not only playing his music on the harp, but also growing in his understanding of the position he was serving.
The people had not seen where God was preparing David not just intellectually, but physically for the role he was about to assume. They were not there when David slaughtered a bear and ripped a sheep from it’s mouth. They weren’t there when David killed a lion with his bare hands. However, the most important members of the military were there when David killed the giant who no one else dared to stand against in a time of war against their God and nation. What God knew and David would soon realize is that it would take the loyalty and love of not just Jonathan, but every rank of the military in order to become King and have a successful reign. God was preparing David and aligning his destiny. God has a plan for you, on his time, not ours.
You may be going through situations, you may not be slaughtering the bears and lions of this world with bare hands, but you may be fighting the wild beasts and demonic spirits of this world coming against your family, your livelihood, your future.
God may have placed a vision, a dream, and destiny in your heart and now you been through some training, through some trials and you are tired. You may be weary in body and heart, but don’t give up! Understand that God has been preparing you for this very moment in time. He has been preparing you for your future, not the grave. Perhaps you have entered a place, where like David, you are finding yourself in the hiding places, distraught, and in a difficult position to think much about a future.
So, what do we do when we are facing the Goliath (giant) of life when there seems to be little hope for the future? We must fight unbelief with what God has promised us and prepared us for.
So what if you are weary, tired, older, younger, poor, not well spoken or any other excuse.
Acts 2:17 tells us, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams”— I remember Jentezen Franklin once saying, “ it takes young men’s visions to achieve old men’s dreams.
Wherever you are in life, business, ministry, or any area in life, God has something more for you! Don’t worry about the dreams God has given you being to grand or big for your age, God will work it out!
However, to achieve the goal or vision, you have to go through the process of preparation. The process will not be easy and will always come at a price. The bigger the end result, the harder the process. Just look at all David had to do to get where he was taken. Killing a bear and lion with his hands was no feat, but then to also face a giant with a sling shot had to be quite a challenge. However, David was not afraid of the process and he embraced the preparation.
We know that David was prepared because we see the confidence that he had in the abilities that God had given him. We see the situations that David recalls prior to going into that battle. We see that David picks up not one, but five stones because he knows if he misses or requires another shot at Goliaths big head, he has another round waiting to go. We have to be the same way in our preparation and training. We have to have faith and strength in the process. We must be prepared when our number is finally called and God gives us a test. How many battles with Goliath have we missed because we were not prepared? How many blessings from God have passed us by because of our disobedience?
David could have gotten frustrated with the preparation and process, but instead he stayed the course and achieved great things because of his love for the lord, faith, and obedience.
If you find yourself in the process today, stay the course and allow God to mold you into who He needs you to be. The day that David struck down Goliath, the mighty Philistine warrior, he won the hearts and minds of the very force that would allow him to be escorted straight to the throne. God is trying to align your life today in the same way, to be positioned for greatness and what He has in store for you.