The “Crazy” Things We Say In Church!

You can ask any of the members of the church I serve and they will tell you that one of my pet peeves is the ridiculous things people say in church! I am really disturbed by many the sayings and clichés that people put forth as “gospel truth” but in reality, are not the “gospel” and neither are they the “truth!” Let me show you what I am talking about: How many times have you heard someone say at a funeral in reference to the person who died, that God just picked a flower for His garden? Or how about the case in which a young person is murdered and somebody says, in a vain attempt to comfort the family: “God don’t make mistakes, the Lord just took him!” I mean, seriously! Think about it! I know it is an attempt to make the family feel better, but such sayings are really on the verge (if they are not already) of blasphemy! For one thing: God doesn’t cause people to die, just to beautify his “garden” in Heaven! (The Bible talks about Heaven as a city with pearly gates and streets paved with gold, but I have yet to find scriptural references for the heavenly gardens! Perhaps it may be a veiled reference to the ultimate Garden of Eden, but even then, I can’t see God “killing” people to beautify it!). And how can someone’s murder be an act of God? It is the enemy that wants us to die early! The Lord wants us to stay here as long as possible so that we might be witnesses for Him and cause others to be saved! We really are more useful to God, doing His will on earth than being “up there” sitting around the throne or singing in the Heavenly Choir!

But I am really annoyed by some of the songs that are being sung by choirs and quartet singers with their lyrics constantly repeated by preachers, deacons, and other church people as the “God-ordained” truth who should know better! Try to count how many times you have been in a worship experience and heard the words: “When (the) praises go up; (the) blessings come down!” I’ve even heard preachers and deacons say: “Everybody Praise the Lord! You ought to praise Him because when praises go up, the blessings come down!” I mean, seriously? Where is that idea found in the Bible? Not only is that idea not found; it is not even remotely implied! If you were to do a search on all of the Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible that are translated as “praise” and are associated with the concept of praising the Lord and/or God, you would not find one single occurrence where anybody in the Bible praised the Lord in an attempt to get a blessing! In fact, you would discover that in the Bible, people didn’t praise God to get Him to do something; they praised God for what He had already done! People didn’t praise God to get something from him; they praised him for what he had already given them! In the Bible, praise was always the response to the goodness of the Lord! People in the Bible didn’t praise God to get a blessing; they praised Him because of the blessings he had already given! We can’t “bribe” God with our praise! He is not some “cosmic slot-machine” in which we pull the “praise-lever” and He sends down the “blessing-coins!” NO!!! If the Lord doesn’t do anything else for us, He’s already done more than enough for us to praise Him throughout all eternity! PRAISE THE LORD EVERYBODY! PRAISE THE LORD EVERYBODY!  CAUSE. . . .HE’S BEEN, AND HE IS. . .  MIGHTY GOOD!!!!

What Is Your Name?

In the Bible there is a story about a man who was living in the cemetery! This man was wild and out of control; no one could handle him! He was a menace to his society. There had been attempts to contain or control him by binding him with chains, but every time someone would bind him, he would break the chains! The man was possessed with unclean spirits and was suicidal, for the Bible says that, daily he would be in the mountains and in the tombs, cutting himself with stones!

When this man met Jesus, the Lord asked him; “What is your name?” In those days, it was believed that if one could discover the name of an evil spirit, then one would be able to exercise control over it. One of the spirits within the man responded by saying; “My name is Legion, for we are many!” You see, that was a big part of the man’s problem: He had lost his identity because he had tried to answer to too many names!

Could that possibly be what is wrong with many people in our society today? Could it be that many are suicidal, out of control, disoriented or dysfunctional because they are trying to answer to too many names? In ancient Jewish and African societies, a person’s name was more than just an appellation by which they were called; the name revealed the essence of a person’s character. The name was not just a label; the name was who a person was! What is your name? I’m not talking about the name on your birth certificate or on your marriage license. When destiny calls you, by what name do you answer? Have you accepted the labels; the names that people have given you and spent your life trying to answer to those names? Or do you answer to the name calling you from deep down within your spirit?

I believe that there is an ultimate calling or name (if you please) for each and every individual! The goal of life is the discovery of, and the living up to, that name! However, that name will never be discovered and it’s purpose will never be served if we allow ourselves to accept names given to us by other people! Too many people just accept that they are who other people tell them they are instead of discovering their true identity for themselves! What is your name? You will never be all that you can be until you discover what and who you were meant to be! This is something that you must do for yourself! Don’t allow others to name you, for then you give them control over you! Don’t try to answer to too many names, for then you will eventually lose yourself in the process! You will never be able to achieve your full potential and purpose until you can answer that basic fundamental question: “What is your name?”