Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Whether Christ will appear in flesh at the Advent or Second Coming is topic, today, with more on divine forgiveness and judgment.  In remembrance of America’s birthday, I again recommend the music ministry of Deitrick Haddon & Voices of Unity; readers should hear the MP3, One Nation available with the August 1999 album Chain Breaker.  The “Yahoo! Answers” writer using ID “harmonia” (Level 1 with 29 points, since June 17, 2013) has posted the following:

Do you think Jesus will return in spirit or flesh?

THE BATTLE AXE:  Theoretical Forgiveness? (07/03/2013)—It may appear that divine judgment and forgiveness casually dismiss cruel and hateful sins as if they never happened.  However, many subtle (i.e., barely visible) differences must be weighed in divine judgment that go beyond the specifics of ones behavior and conduct.  Judgment to establish eternal being and permanence must occur within multiple aspects of unseen truth.  In addition to the social, there is the emotional, the psychological, and the spiritual.  Such carnal and material features as whether ones actions immediately resulted in another’s death; the number of fatalities; the age, gender and soundness of ones victims; how recently ones offenses have been committed are all secondary to their agreement and fulfillment of divine proclamation, promise and prophecy.  Life process is examined to identify the outworking of divine endowments, the continual acknowledgment of sacred presence, and the accomplishment of eternal purpose.  See Job 8:  11-15, Romans 11:  33-36 and Revelation 15:  2-4, KJV.

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:  but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  (Romans 8:  5-17, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  When Jesus Comes Back (04/19/2013); What’s The Way Out? (04/20/2013); Suddenly Absent, Suddenly Present (03/31/2013); A Family Affair? (04/01/2013); Before Abraham Was… (03/14/2013); Titles and Respect (03/15/2013); How Was GOD Known Before Jesus? (10/06/2012); Jesus, King of Earth? (10/07/2012); A Man in Heaven? (09/23/2012); Aliens? (09/24/2012)

“harmonia”, here are some points important for those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their redeemer and savior:

(1)  The operations of GOD to fulfill divine promise and prophecy are also intended to alter mankind, to end mortality, and to preserve eternal divinity.  The make-up and substance of GOD is such spirit matter as faith, holiness, joy, longsuffering, love, righteousness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.  Even so, GOD has ability, authority and power to generate carnal, material and physical being.

(2)  GOD is revealed to Creation as Godhead through multiple sacred operations that express exalted being, purpose, sanctity, and sovereign will.  Included are Creation, the present ongoing judgment, and the appearance of GOD in human flesh as Jesus Christ (we say, Incarnation). 

(3)  Almighty GOD is unchanging, and employs differences, diversity and variety as tools that establish meaning and value for created beings and living creatures, who must rely upon patterns that continually shift within fixed frameworks of time and space.  The ministry of Jesus Christ to establish eternal life is accomplished by a permanent joining of flesh and spirit.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example,  (4)  The return of Jesus will be in glory and in power.  In addition to proclaiming promises and prophecies from GOD to encourage hope upon the earth, Jesus suffered the cross to demonstrate that death and resurrection will allow a transformation whereby mankind may become immortal and incorruptible.)   Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

      How to recognize true prophets is the topic today. Also, there is more on why Jesus authored no books to keep his teachings “pure.” The “Yahoo! Answers” writer using the ID “Andrew” (Level 1 with 58 points, a member since April 30, 2013) posted the following:

CHRISTIANS: What are the marks/signs of a true prophet?

In the bible God says he reveals himself in dreams, what other ways does God speak (if he still does) to people today?


THE BATTLE AXE: Why Jesus Authored No Books (05/01/2013)—(5.) The plan of GOD has long been the preservation of divine truth upon the earth through created beings and living creatures. The longevity of Adam (930 years, nearly one millennium) and that of the several Patriarchs ensured eyewitness accounts, and a living oral history would be in place along with the sacred priesthood for offerings and sacrifices. In the accounts of Noah (who was a husbandman, a farmer) and Abraham (who accumulated wealth despite being a nomad, yet avoided the baggage of books, and established no libraries), we continue to see GOD maintaining divine truth through flesh and mankind. Building upon the widespread herding, pastoral and oral traditions of the Jews, GOD introduced written law through Moses after first proclaiming the covenant to all those who had left Egypt. David and those who served after him, contributed the rich treasury of hymns, music, psalms and sacred song along with prayer and proverbs as further tools to preserve and transmit gifts and resources from divinity. Oral traditions rely upon face-to-face exchange, and communicate feelings as well as thought using body language, facial gestures and nonverbal expression. Christ encouraged and promoted specific forms of truth. Included were parables (we say “object lessons”), personal testimony, preaching, proclamation, promise, prophecy, and witness. Unlike the impersonal technology of writing used by governments and those of a merchant class, personal word of mouth provides interaction cues for trust, and continuing relationship. (6.) In the plan of GOD that is being carried out through Jesus Christ, faith comes by hearing, and is certified by miracles and other sacred works. The breath of life, and divine utterance, are the imparting of awareness, life and virtue. The Holy Scriptures convey spirit substance inseparable from faith. Included are forbearance, holiness, humility, joy, longsuffering, meekness, righteousness, wisdom, and wrath against sin. See Romans 10: 10-17, Nehemiah 8: 1-12, Ecclesiastes 12: 11-13 and Romans 8: 1-18, KJV. (7.) The union with GOD, and the oneness mankind is to achieve is not “sameness”. Diversity is the tool of Divine Person that must be used to establish the peculiar completeness and fullness of GOD, who is immortal, who is spirit, and who does not change. Thus, the revelation of GOD to created beings and living creatures is by their discovery of shared identity in Jesus Christ.


THE GOLDEN ARROW: And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19: 5-10, KJV)


THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Confusion 2013 (01/13/2013); Why A “Spokesperson” (01/14/2013); No Contradictions? (01/15/2013); How To Have Conviction (11/24/2012); A Text for Lives Today? (11/25/2012); Pornography from the Bible? (11/26/2012); Signs of a Prophet (03/14/2012); The Rules for Sharing Christ (03/15/2012); The Prophets (02/24/2012); Bad Luck (02/25/2012); Prophecy Fails? (03/15/2011); Bible Benefit? (03/16/2011); Prophets? (10/28/2010)

    
     Andrew, in the course of their growth, most mature Christian believers also have asked the question you pose, because it’s in line with ones desire to know whom to trust for sacred truth, and how to be certain that ones own experience of what appears as divinity is truly coming from GOD. Where you will first acknowledge GOD in prayer with gratitude and respect, you will be more well prepared to recognize whether or not the following points are being shared with you in obedience to Christ:

(1.) True prophets are sent from GOD as messengers, and do not pursue a personal agenda, secular and social goals, self-justification, or self-promotion. Even so, they also provide eyewitness reports and personal testimonies (i.e., spoken evidence in judgment) that pertain to their experience of GOD.

(2.) In Christian belief, the proclamations, promises and prophecies declared by the true prophets are corroborated and harmonize with the words and works of all the prophets sent before them as well as that of those who will come after them. Even so, it is not the “sameness” of their message that reveals their genuine identity as holy and sent by GOD. It is the oneness of Spirit.

(3.) True prophets all operate through spiritual endowments from the makeup and substance of GOD. Included are faith, holiness, humility, longsuffering, truth, wisdom, and wrath against sin. Where one of these sacred elements appear, all of them must appear; for they are inseparable. False prophets are recognized by their self-contradictions and display of such devices as accusations, covetousness, cowardice, deceit, envy, fear mongering, lying, pride, scorn and slander.
    
     There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, (4.) The holy writings serve as a proven standard that allows those endowed from GOD to correctly discern and recognize eternal purpose, sacred operations, and the anointed agents and representatives sent by GOD. Also, believers quickly and correctly recognize those under the Adversary (Satan), spiritual confusion, and sin. See Isaiah 8: 20, Hebrews 4: 12 and 1st John 4: 1-6, KJV.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

     Complaining against clergy and leadership within the church, hypocrisy, truth, and more on the language and process of the Scriptures are shared, today.  A BATTLE CRY acknowledges the new status of Pope Benedict XVI as emeritus and the music ministries of singer Joe Ligon and composer/arranger Dr. James Cleveland.  The “Yahoo! Answers” writer using ID “Badwolf” (Level 2 with 434 points, a member since June 7, 2012) posted the following:

Does the fact that you are spiritually guided by hypocrites like Cardinal O’Brien and such not scare you?

if the cant be true to themselves ,how the hell do you know if the can even tell you the truth of religion

Additional Details

haha ..like all the non catholics in here ..its not like the Evangelists and pastors up and down the land act any better

say what ..you have hit the nail on the head ..this could have easily been a question about political leaders

THE BATTLE AXE:  Non-existent Debt? (03/06/2013)—Created beings and living creatures owe no debt to Almighty GOD for the endowments of divine substance, eternal life, repentance and wisdom that are bestowed upon them through Jesus Christ, nor must they make payment for the sacred operations to nourish, console and maintain existence such as creation, judgment, redemption, resurrection and sanctification.   Even so, because humans presently rely almost entirely upon language and tools for communication that emerge from a “common ground” of carnal, material and social experience, appeals and explanations regarding need for change in the makeup of existence must go forth.  Awareness, behavior, belief, expectation and myriad processes of self-will are built up, corrected and restored through the holy writings; and this is to prepare mankind to become permanently incorruptible and immortal.  The systems and traditions that were introduced to crystallize acknowledgment of the Invisible included animal sacrifices, free-will offerings, a tabernacle/temple tax and tithing to support the earthly priesthood.  However, these are all completed through the atonement by Jesus Christ; and the Scripture proclaims that following judgment of the wicked, mankind will no longer be mortal.  GOD will dwell with men, and there never again will be a temple or worship to counteract and remove the effects of sin.

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.  Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.  (James 3:  12-18, KJV)

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Attending Church? (11/12/2012); A Holy Kiss? (11/13/2012); Double Standard? (10/12/2012); Family and Romance (10/13/2012); A Sanctuary? (08/21/2012); Shaken Once More (08/22/2012); Why Confess Before Priest (02/27/2012); GOD Was Sorry? (02/28/2012); Binder 28:  Purity (10/25/2011); Binder 27:  Confession (10/24/2011); Binder 26:  The Priest’s Lips (10/23/2011); Dispatch 43:  Mercy (09/22/2011); Dispatch 41:  Victory (09/20/2011); Lip Service? (03/01/2011); To Give a Life? (03/02/2011); Church a Duty? (01/11/2011); A Good Name? (01/12/2011); Two Wisdoms? (10/12/2010); Why Sacrifice? (10/13/2010)

THE BATTLE CRY:  Readers are encouraged to hear “I’ve Been in the Storm Too Long” rendered by Joe Ligon, a music minister for many years with the vocal group, The Mighty Clouds Of Joy.  When it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI would be leaving office as leader of the Catholic Church to become the first emeritus since the year 1415, this gospel lament that demonstrates fervent prayer and importunity immediately came to mind.  While the lyrics, music and vocal styling draw upon the rich treasury of “sorrow songs” found in African American culture, this piece composed by the Reverend James Cleveland, is held to be a matchless classic of modern, Southern gospel music, and one of the most memorable and thought-provoking captures of Black gospel tradition.  Cleveland has been called the “King of Gospel,” and is credited with having been the driving force behind the creation of the modern gospel sound that brings the daring of hard gospel, jazz and pop music influences to arrangements for mass choirs.  In 1967, along with Albertina Walker, called the “Queen of Gospel,” Cleveland founded the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA).  MP3 files are available from the 1979 Mighty Clouds album “Changing Times” as well as the 2003 Aretha Franklin album, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”

     Rightly understood, the church does not focus upon communities, families, isolated individuals, nations, and the animal aspects of our human condition.  The church established upon the earth by Jesus Christ is a divine tool to (1) make known and visible the action, person and presence of GOD in the earth; (2) complete various ongoing sacred processes including creation, judgment, repentance,  revelation, salvation and sanctification; (3) impart divinity and sacred truth that emanate from the Divine Person.  Through the church, human nature and mankind are to be altered, changed and transformed.  Thus, many mature Christian believers agree that ones assurance and security as a member of a local congregation derives from their personal experience of continuous spiritual discovery and growth, rather than upon the beliefs, opinions, service and works from clergy, and other individuals. 

     The church as a social institution is a mechanism to ensure that specific practices and sacraments are maintained.  Included are baptism, confession, contemplation, prayer, preaching of the Gospel, public worship, and sharing the Lord’s Supper.  While donations to comfort the poor may be distributed by those who regularly assemble, the church is not to be a primary provider of burial, clothing, food, health care, housing, or protection and psychiatric services that address sexual violence. 

     Those who acquire identity as new creatures in Christ acknowledge that the church must respond to realities of the earth, yet can never be simply another product of the flesh (i.e., appetite such as hunger, thirst, sexual craving; sensation such as hearing seeing, touching; and mind such as desire, fantasy and imagination).  Only when grounded in the Holy Spirit may believers achieve the self-discipline that allows embracing others of the church without conflict, criticism, gossip and slander, because their continuing activity, consciousness and focus are then by, through, and upon spirit substance (such as faith, forgiveness, hope, humility, joy, longsuffering, love, sanctification, wisdom). 

     There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, since you mention “truth”…Pontius Pilate asked Jesus the question, What is truth?  Those who wanted assurance that the doctrine and teaching from Jesus was truly sent by GOD were told their own conformity, obedience and performance of divine will would establish the certainty of their origin.  Similarly, Jesus alerted the church that there would be wolves in sheep’s clothing—those seeking to have influence within the body who would use deceit and disguise their destructive motives.  See John 18:  33-38, John 7:  14-18, Matthew 7:  1-5 and Matthew 7:  15-20, King James Version.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

     Today, I share a response to a writer’s complaint against GOD stemming from the shooting of school children in Connecticut (12/14/2012). Also there is more on remembering the holocaust. The “Yahoo! Answers” user who has the ID “Martin” (Level 4 with 2,768 points, a member since October 26, 2012) posted the following:

Its a music and religous query?

Its that one song titled JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN. are you certain of that, after all that have been murdered? Cause if thats what is meant meaning was that song scripted sarcasticly i sure wouldn’t want to see the almighty’s hatred for us. so bite your tongue we worked all year long sharing our warmth and love of christmas making piano, violin, harp, hand bell musical arrangement for everybody even made those dollar musicals just as nice as the 25 dollar albums for you all and what is the gift that we get back. the news of yet more murders. would you send me the memo when christmas is merry again? this year has ended up being a real downer.

THE BATTLE AXE: Remembering the Holocaust? (12/13/2012)—As a tool provided by divine judgment, holocaust is like a litmus that exposes the presence of elements disguised and hidden within the human heart. Included are blindness, corruption, cruelty, despair, disbelief, distrust, hardness, hate, ignorance, imbalance, immaturity, indifference, malice, and murder. Ethnic cleansing, eugenics, genocide, and holocaust do not proceed as acts of GOD; and all may be classed as human error, and sin. As such, they are less the focus for Christian mind than repentance, rebirth, or the divine content of ones person and its operation through prayer, service and worship. Many examples of spiritually-based attacks upon the people of GOD are recorded in the holy writings. Included are the population control and slaughter of male babies in Egypt at the time of Moses’ birth (Exodus 1, KJV); the Babylonian attack upon the three Hebrew captives who were placed in a burning furnace (Daniel 3, KJV); the planned assault of Haman and the Persian/Median empire ruled by Ahasuerus (Esther 3, KJV); and the slaughter of innocents by the Jewish king, Herod, to destroy the prophesied Messiah at the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2, KJV). It is foolish and immature to argue that the holocaust was more devastating, more “important”, or should be more memorable than the global enslavement of Africans, the calamity of several world wars, the human catastrophe of atomic bombs launched against an island nation, the natural disasters of cyclone, hurricane and storm winds, or even the back-to-back natural disasters of earthquake and tsunami. For Christian believers focus will not be upon emergency preparedness or turning away from human violence so much as upon fulfilling the commands to love, and maintain constant vigilance for the second advent of Jesus. It is their faith that the sure justice of GOD will be provided through that son of the highest who is an anointed Judge, Jesus Christ.


THE GOLDEN ARROW: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1st Thessalonians 4: 13-18, KJV)


THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Does GOD Feel? (10/05/2012); How Was GOD Known Before Jesus? (10/06/2012); After We Die? (10/04/2012); Binder 32: Those Yet Unsaved (10/29/2011); Having Life? (03/13/2011); End of Strife? (03/14/2011); Potter and Clay (12/06/2010)


THE BATTLE CRY: The music ministry of Dietrick Haddon includes a worship medley that encourages believers facing the challenges in life events, and that prophesies the hope and expectation for the Second Coming of Jesus. Readers should hear, from the 2002 album, Lost and Found, Joy of the Lord/Oh the Glory.

     For mature Christian believers, the comforts given by GOD include children, music, and divine promises. There are truths that clarify death, judgment, justice, and righteousness. More than this, there is certainty and unquenchable joy; and so we have a song that says, THE JOY OF THE LORD IS OUR STRENGTH.

     The slaughter of innocents is not a new thing among mankind. The Scriptures record that at the time of Jesus’ birth every child under the age of two in the town of Bethlehem was destroyed as if they were enemies of the state, and “national security risks.” What shocks many of us, today, is to see such cruelty and venom apart from “police action,” politics, and war. Deliberate and planned attacks upon otherwise defenseless children in public schools and care facilities are performed by those who are depraved, mindless, shameless and apparently unloved.

     There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, the human condition is one of mortality, therefore, we have many mechanisms that center on experiencing bereavement, death and separation. The counterbalance is found in the continuity of life, and the truth that life goes on. There is more work to do, more sharing to do, more loving to do. Through Jesus Christ, believers receive a peculiar confidence and optimism we call “joy”. In the face of injustice, persecution and tragedy, we make no complaint against our GOD. Instead, we acknowledge divine gifts that give us peace of mind, saying: The world did not give it; and the world cannot take it away.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Happy Thanksgiving! Topics today include how we first may have been introduced to Christ. Also, there is more on the use of alcohol and drugs along with a BATTLE CRY commending Christian rock group MercyMe. A “Yahoo! Answer” writer using the ID “ l.e.b. ” (Level 1 with 68 points, a member since November 19, 2012) posted the following:

Does god care how you became christian?

I became christian after i found out kanye west is a christian but i don’t read the bible or go to church is this okay?

THE BATTLE AXE: Henceforth, Of This Fruit (11/21/2012)—Many young people in present day society approach the use of alcohol and drugs as a rite of passage, a process of growth, and a matter of facing ones fears essential to becoming adult. In their understanding, the sharing of food and drink should always be an acceptable and legitimate aspect of fellowship. For many younger Christians, their abstinence and putting away of alcohol and drugs are motivated by a desire to have clear grasp and comprehension of their experiences caused by the Spirit of GOD and to avoid all spiritual confusion, rather than by fears of addiction, fear of emotional and mental illness, or fear of punishments by the law and other bad experiences (see 2nd Peter 1: 10, KJV). The refusal of Jesus to partake of wine again pertains to the practice of ratifying a new covenant by sharing a meal that serves as a “deed” of accord and sealing as well as to the transformation of the Passover and its eternal purposes of GOD. New fruit and new life come in to view that emerges by the imparted, indwelling spirit from GOD (see Ephesians 5: 1-21 and Galatians 5: 16-26, King James Version).


THE GOLDEN ARROW: Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1st Peter 2: 1-5, KJV)


THE DOUBLE DAGGER: The Faith of Ones Parents? (11/18/2012); Reading Only The Red Part (11/19/2012); Escape from Racism (10/24/2012); Christians Who Ignore GOD’s Laws (10/25/2012); Double Standard? (10/12/2012); Family and Romance (10/13/2012); Violence In The Bible (02/26/2012); When at Work… (11/08/2010)


THE BATTLE CRY: It has been a while since I last shared a comment on the works of those who prophesy and share as music ministers. Today, I encourage readers to hear an 8-time Dove Award winning Christian rock band, MercyMe. Formed in 1994, out of Greenville, Texas, the members of MercyMe are Bart Millard, vocalist; James Bryson, keyboardist; Robby Shaffer, percussionist; Nathan Cochran, bassist; Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul, guitarists. Be sure to hear “I Can Only Imagine” from the 2008 album Almost There, and the title selection from the band’s seventh album, “The Hurt & The Healer” 2012.


Many young people express a concern similar to yours where they were introduced to Christ in settings and situations apart from family values and “traditional church.” Included are evangelist crusades (tent meetings), mass media campaigns (e.g., Internet, radio, televangelism), Bible study groups, and concerts featuring Christian hip hop and rock music. Often, new believers are first encouraged to accept Christ by strangers who share Bibles, tracts and other materials; by athletes, news-makers and celebrity role models; as well as by those with whom they have or hope to develop intimate relationships (e.g., dates, friends, ones spouse). A person may have beginnings that are quiet, simple, and unexceptional. However, to correctly embrace the Savior is to embrace change, death, rebirth, growth, and eternity.

Where a person is “born again” they also have to “grow up” again. The new believer is like a baby and has much to learn in order to become full grown and mature in faith, service and understanding. In addition to being delivered from sin (called salvation), day-by-day, the believer must be made clean and set apart for GOD (called repentance, baptism and sanctification). All believers then receive duty and work (called ministry, priesthood and sharing the gospel). On the one hand, we cannot save ourselves, and Jesus Christ has done all the divine work necessary for mankind to have acceptance from Almighty GOD. On the other hand, there is a life-work that we must complete in order to have the full benefit from the sacred gifts that now are being shared with us.

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, gaining new knowledge and mental growth are only one aspect of new life in Christ. There must be unseen spiritual growth that can be made visible through church attendance, forming new habits, praise, prayer, sacrificial giving and worship.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.


THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC