Monday, June 29, 2009

Praise Riot II Recap

For those who missed it, "Praise Riot II" was BLAZIN'!!! I'm so proud of the Agape Youth and all the churches and groups that represented. A quick recap:

Our own Sis. Alysha did an awesome drama of the woman at the well. The Agape Young Flaggers showed out, and the Agape Dance ministry was wonderful, not to mention the ultimate "hype man" Bro. Jarquis!

St. Paul presented a dance to "Seasons", Bro. Sean Elkins did what he does best (worship), while Elder Michael Scott, Jr. brought a powerful Word "Don't Contain Your Praise".

Greater Apostolic dance team took it to another level with "Stomp", 2nd Baptist Praise Squad was awesome (I wanna join the squad!), Min. Carson & Destiny International capped the evening with a moving dramatization of Christ's power to save & deliver! Minister Christina Chisholm kept it moving and the BAND! OH LAWD! LOL

A great job by all. Special thanks to Min. George Johnson, Jr. & Sis. Tamara, Sis. Satora, Sis. Shameika, and of course Pastor Johnson for pushing the Youth forward.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Drink or Not to Drink?

The Word of God seems pretty clear in its stance on alcohol consumption. It speaks plainly of the sin of drunkenness and its consequences, but also describes the moderate use of alcohol as acceptable. The Pentecostal tradition I'm familiar with has vilified any and all consumption with alcohol, and actually that was more a product of the cultural climate of the early 1900's that gave rise to many of our prominent charismatic denominations. Remember, the formative years of most Pentecostal denominations coincided with the rise of the Prohibition movement, which I'm sure contributed to its stance.

Being staunchly opposed to drinking, I never thought I'd be the one to defend the practice, but too many Christians automatically assume that having a drink = not being sober. It also kills me when saints proudly declare "I don't drink", then they proceed to gorge themselves on mountains of food full of fat, salt, & sugar certain to bring more health issues than alcohol ever could! So it's OK to eat yourself to death, which Christians have been doing for YEARS, but heaven forbid someone has a drink!

Biblically, we know that scripture allows for alcohol consumption, but we should also know that:

1) Evidence is pretty clear that the wine of that day was not nearly as potent as what we find now in distilled liquors. Think about it, parties in those days lasted around 3 days (wedding at Cana), while ours last around 3 hours. If they really drank like we did of the same alcohol content, they all would've died fairly quickly.

2) Wine was a more common drink due to the poor quality of water typically available in Biblical days.

3) Both moderation and concern for the weaknesses of the brethren are scriptural keys to approaching the issue. (I Corinthians 8:9-13)

Even for those who feel liberated to drink, you still should consider your witness to the world (where and how you drink), concern for those believers who are weaker (recently delivered from addiction), and respect for the ministry God has placed you in. In other words, If you truly believe God has placed you under a particular leadership or tradition, you should submit to their authority in disputable matters. (Romans 14)

elder todd

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pentecost Lost?

May 31st was Pentecost Sunday. A day regarded as the "birthday" of the Church, a commemoration of one of the most important events in Christendom, a great day of celebration in churches across the globe....except for most Pentecostal Churches. How can that be so? How is it that congregations who proudly display the banner of Pentecostal, Full Gospel, Charismatic, or any other label that describes emphasis on the Gifts of the Spirit given to the Church and first exercised on this historic day in Jerusalem, all but ignore this day?

The reasons for this are varied:

There is a growing disregard for historical Christianity, which places the modern Church in a vacuum, all but disconnected from a legacy of spiritual empowerment spanning some 2,000 years. In other words, we glory in the NOW, the legacies of our own recent and brief heritage rather than the far more substantial impact of the historical Church, of which we are a part above any other affiliations.

Adding to that is the recent lack of concern for genuine Christian education, which provides the means by which each new generation is informed and brought into prayerful and meaningful observation of the Christian calendar, which brings me to my next reason......

Many contemporaries hold to the false notion that the "true" Church is not bound by ancient traditional or even modern observances.... except Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday, Mother's get my drift.

And finally and most tragically, perhaps our Pentecostal/Full Gospel/Charismatic churches aren't as Pentecostal as we claim. By our very own definition, the Gifts of the Spirit should flow freely and frequently in our worship, but do they? The same powerful move of the Holy Ghost that enables our Pastors, Elders, & Prayer Warriors to move forth in Tongues should be experienced by new generations of believers, not necessarily younger aged, but the newly converted and growing in Christ. When is the last time this has occurred in our churches? When is the last time someone who previously did not exercise the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including speaking in Tongues, receive the Gift and operate in it?

These are hard questions indeed, and one risks being seen as a mere critic to point them out, but from time to time, it is needed. So perhaps, Pentecost is not lost, but we would do well to rediscover it.

John 20:19-23 (NIV)

19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

elder todd