“Social Club is the Best”

Okay, so this weekend I’ve been doing a media fast, but I’m here now writing to keep up my end of the “blog about an awesome, out of the box (Christian) artist each weekend thing”. So, here it is.

Last week I covered Josh Garrels, who is much more of a folky (kind of hipster) artist. This week, I’m going to write about Social Club – who is very much a rap group… But not your typical rap group.
I found them about a year ago sometime after the release of their album “Misfits.” These guys are based out of Miami, Florida and have both been doing music for awhile, but now “MartyMar” and Fern are together, rapping and making music. And it’s fantastic.

Their music is quirky, and very different than your average “Christian rap” sterotype. These guys are hilarious – and show it in their music. They also both love Jesus an awful lot, and have had their lives completely changed by God, which is always an encouraging testimony.

A few weeks back they released their 10 track album – Misfits 2. All the songs on that album are pure gold, but the ones that are really sticking with people (based off of what I see on twitter) are Awkward 2, Coogi Sweater & Burn the Bridge. And hey, Cops is pretty good too.
(also, a slight side bar, but example of who Social Club is: after my post on my “secular media” fast, I somehow was picked to be given a copy of Misfits 2 which was such a timely blessing. Plus, gifted music is always precious.)

So, follow them on twitter & instagram, and check them out on youtube.

As their tagline goes, “Social Club is the best.” 🙂

 

we are healed

It’s that time of year again. We break out all the pastels colours, get ready for the Easter events at church, go out and buy those wonderfully delicious Reese’s peanut butter cream eggs and try not to remember how many calories there are in one…. But, are we really remembering what – and Who – we are celebrating?

 

The other day I was thinking about scars.  I’m quite a clumsy person and was looking at the amount of scars I have on my body… All (for the most part) with a somewhat comical story behind it, and it reminded me of Christ, and how He humbled Himself to become a human like us, and bears many physical scars… and they are still there even today, and we will see them when He comes back again. But His scars – at least the ones I’m referring to – have such a significance and beauty behind them.

 

As humans, we bear scars in many different ways. Because of sin and the fall, we are scarred physically, mentally, emotionally and sadly, spiritually. Where our scars are, there once were brutal, painful wounds. Real hurts that were deep, and at the time, we thought we’d never recover from.

But in Christ, there is healing. He WILLINGLY took the fall upon Himself for us. He took our pain. He took what we deserved. He bore our sin on His shoulders so we could have new life.

 

Yes, we have scars, but they ultimately represent our healing that is from Christ. They are a reminder of His love – to be willing to heal them, His faithfulness – to heal them without fail, His Deity – to have the ability to heal, His saving grace and our past sin He has redeemed us from.

Christ’s scars are beautiful, because they remind us that He is our atonement for our sin, our Salvation, and the healing balm for our wounds. Where there was once pain, there is now beauty and healing.

At Easter, we celebrate this.

 

grace & faithfulness

So I`ll be honest.

In the last few months since I`ve written last I`ve learned a lot. Grown a lot. Been hurt a lot. At times been quite distant from God, and since then have been drawn close to God again. In many ways this past year has been the most monumental year of my life.

The two main things that I`ve learned most about is the depth of God`s GRACE and His FAITHFULNESS.

He. Is. Faithful.

This means that He is never changing. He won`t give up on us. He is – and will be – who He told us He is in His Word. No matter what we walk through, He will be there taking care of us.

When we feel distant from God, it is not HE who is distant from us, but we who are distant from HIM. He will NEVER leave us, and when we are ready to repent and be drawn into the Lord again, He is standing there with open arms, welcoming us back into fellowship with Him.

No matter what we`ve done, what we`ve said or where we`ve been is too much for God to not want to forgive us. No sin is new under the sun, and every sin is equal. If we have a repentant heart, God will change us and make us more like Himself. He will give us BEAUTY for our ASHES – and for NO other reason than the fact that He loves us. (I`ll never understand this one..it completely overwhelms my heart.)

`But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.` – Psalm 86:15

`If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.` – 1 John 1:9

His grace is sufficient.

This is something I`ve been learning most recently. Over and over I have had the phrase `My grace is sufficient for you` in my head. When I`m out walking, while I`m falling asleep, and when I`m in a moment of weakness. He is abounding in GRACE. God`s grace is so deep and far beyond our comprehension… His love and grace will never run Continue reading

Playing judge.

“Don’t judge me!”

We all have heard or used this phrase at some point. It has become highly used in media and our society. People use it as something to get others off their back when they don’t want to receive any flack for what they’re doing. To be honest, I get that. But this phrase is something that lukewarm Christians love to use, and cling to. They use it as a get out of jail free card… Do they really understand what they’re saying?

The word “judgement,” according to Webster’s online dictionary, means “to form an opinion.” As humans, we constantly are making judgments. We judge whether or not it is safe to cross a street, befriend an individual, or if we can eat something.

As believers, we are called to make judgments regarding teaching, and even other people. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says we are to “examine everything carefully; and hold fast to that which is good.” We NEED to be careful about what teaching we are taking in. We need to judge and discern whether or not the teaching is sound.

Matthew 7:15-20 talks about how we need to judge people by their fruits. If someone is a toxic person, we need to be extremely wise. We need to watch our interactions with them and be careful.

The word condemn means “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation.”

I personally think people actually mean “condemn” when they use the word “judge.” Most everyone judges each other and their surroundings, whether they’re aware of it or not. Some people condemn each other, which is blatantly wrong.

Romans 2 talks about this very subject. Verse 1 says that when we judge (or condemn) another, we bring judgement upon ourselves.

Think about this for a minute…. When we condemn other people, we bring the judgement of God upon ourselves.

We’re all human. We have no place to condemn each other. We’re all equal individuals under God. Verse 11 of Romans 2 says that there is no partiality with God. That is something to rejoice in.

Before I end this post, I’d like to go back to the idea of the lukewarm believers who use the “Don’t judge me, only God can!” card for a minute. This is a tricky issue that typically church leadership or people IN church leadership deal with. Sometimes believers fall into sin patterns and need a pastor, elder, mentor or fellow believer to come along side and encourage the person back to faith. This is to be done with utmost love and care… Not condescendingly, but with the love of Christ.

Legalism. Worldliness. Holiness.

This is a fairly controversial topic within Christian circles… Legalism vs worldliness. Some fall into the trap of legalism, and uphold ridiculous rules that are completely extra Biblical. There also are those who let pretty much everything go… to the point of fault. This dilemma raises a few questions.

What is legalism?

{Right now I live in an extremely Mennonite community.  Most of the people in this town either are currently, or were practicing Mennonites. Because I’m somewhat familiar with some of their customs, I’ll use them to illustrate my point. I’m not trying to hate on them, just laying out the facts.}

Mennonites are the pure example of legalism. They believe that all women should be wearing bonnets and long dresses, and are even very specific about the way the pleats on the dresses are ironed. Men are to wear suspenders. collared shirts and caps/hats, and married men are to wear a long beard… This is merely scratching the surface of the Mennonite dress code. In the Mennonite church, you are to never smile because it is not godly.

Rules like these are so strongly held to, that there have been church splits over silly things like the color dress you wear, the type of wheel on your buggy (steel or wooden), and the color of your horse. If you break these rules, you are living in sin.

They worship RULES instead of God. In this case, their rules are man made and have nothing to do with God. Yet somehow their rules equate to holiness.

What is worldliness?

Alright… I don’t need to elaborate on this one much. We turn on the TV for a moment and it’s right there, blatantly in our faces. Foul language, immorality, violence… it surrounds us. A PG movie is barely PG anymore.

Where do these two lead?

Legalism tends to lead to rebellion (aka worldliness). Worldliness leads to corruption, and the loss of your soul.

What is BIBLICAL Godliness/Holiness?

The Bible says over and over that we need to live in holiness. Philippians 1:27 says we need to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. All over 1st, 2nd and 3rd John we are called to be children of the Light and imitate goodness, for God is good. The book of Romans states that we are saved and justified by faith, not by following a list of rules or laws. In Christ there is grace, and we are no longer bound by these laws.

God calls us to be holy. Ultimately, He is the only Holy one. We all fall short, but we are called to do our best to be holy and righteous. We need to actively put aside sin and choose to walk in righteousness and godliness, knowing that we are justified before God through Christ and undergoing a constant process of sanctification which will eventually make us holy. This process will finally be completed when we reach perfection in Heaven.

But what about non-Christians? Obviously, they can’t be holy or godly. How should we treat them? What about believers that are trapped in sin?

Well that’s simple. We need to treat them exactly how Jesus would, with utmost love and care. We are not called to judge others punitively… we are called to love and forgive one another just as Christ did for us.

Now this whole “legalism is bad” thing is NOT a pass for Christians to live in sin and throw their hands up hollering “You’re being legalistic! Jesus is full of grace, I’m fine!” when someone tells them to change their ways. (Romans 6:1) We are called to walk in a manner worthy of the calling of Christ. Ultimately, walking in holiness is best for us. Walking in sin will only hurt us. We are called to holiness because it is the path that will lead to the least amount of pain. God loves us, which is why He calls us to this standard.

Living in legalism is living in bondage. Your life is dictated by rules, and you have no freedom. At the same time, living in worldliness also is living in bondage. You have a false sense of freedom, but really, you’re a slave to sin. Living in godliness is living in true freedom.