Hey peeps,

I found this post at http://theresurgence.com. There’s great stuff there. Posts, videos, etc. This one is by a pastor at a Church in the U.S (Seattle) called Mars Hill. His name is Mike Wilkerson. Enjoy!

Grace and Peace,

Hassan

Creativity and the Creator

A great artist can stun us with creative brilliance—a ray of light from some beautiful realm beyond, shining through the window of this painting or that song. When I’ve been so captivated by great art, my soul bursts in praise to the Creator who, among his many great works, has made this artist—a masterpiece in his own likeness—capable of expressing an extraordinary measure of his own infinite creativity.

A Reputation

Amy Winehouse, judging by her unprecedented successes at the Grammys, her influence on new artists like Adele and Lily Allen, and critical acclaim from industry peers and legends, was one of those great artists. Tony Bennett, after recording a duet with her said: “Amy Winehouse was an artist of immense proportions…an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist”. Jay-Z credited Amy with ushering in the resurgence of British music. 

Yet, Amy was known not only for her remarkable talent but also for her volatile and controversial lifestyle. The first lyrics I heard belted by that powerful voice now ring with irony, “They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, ‘No, no, no.'”

The sin we tolerate always pollutes, always corrupts, always disintegrates what God created good, and—if not stopped—always ends in death. 

Reckless Abandon

The accounts of Amy’s personal life sketch a woman chasing something with reckless abandon through a drug-induced fog. According to Amy, her violent marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil was based entirely on drugs. The couple had been arrested together and separately multiple times. But then, in January 2009, while he sat in jail, Amy fell in love with another man. She said: “I’ve finally escaped from hell…I’m in love again, and I don’t need drugs. Look at me, I’m glowing!” 

Yet within only few months, her parents were quoted as saying Amy needed rescuing. “Amy is in denial all the time,” said her mom, Janis, who went on to suggest that Amy’s body was to blame for her addiction. “She probably feels trapped, her body is trapping her. But I know with addiction you do not have the choice because the substance itself directs you.” Meanwhile, Amy’s father, Mitch, reportedly blamed her ex-husband Blake for influencing her drug habit. Previously, he had confirmed that it was the passing of Amy’s grandmother in 2006 that had first pushed her into addiction.

So Which Was It?

A drug-pushing husband? Her body leaving her without a choice? The substance itself driving her? Grief or aimlessness after the loss of her grandmother? Or a desire for happiness that just might be satisfied by the right relationship? Probably all of these factors played their part (though the idea that “the substance itself directs you” is surely an overstatement).

One thing is certain: Amy needed rescue. She was enslaved, and though the addiction was a slavery of her own choosing, she was helpless to escape on her own. At present, we do not know whether the drugs finally caused Amy’s death; but it was clear long before that her addiction was killing her quickly.

Sin’s Corruption

Those of us whose sin has not yet consumed us should not be too quick to judge Amy. For her, sin’s pace was intense, and its end came quickly. But the sin in your life and mine works the same way. Maybe slower, like some poison dripped over a lifetime, but the sin we tolerate always pollutes, always corrupts, always disintegrates what God created good, and—if not stopped—always ends in death.

The Only True Rescue

Amy’s death seems all the more tragic for the loss of such a talented artist. But in fact, sin’s effect is always tragic: every person is created in the image and likeness of the Creator, and to corrupt one’s self and wreck the lives of others is in some sense to desecrate Another’s masterpiece.

Those of us whose sin has not yet consumed us should not be too quick to judge Amy.

The only true rescue from addiction and all of sin’s other forms and effects is to be freed from the bonds of that slavery by the Redeemer, forgiven by the Creator for spoiling his good work, and to be re-created by his Spirit to live a new life. No vaguely defined higher power made in my own image can do all of this—it is through Jesus Christ alone.

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Genesis 20: Liar, Liar…again.

Posted: July 14, 2011 in Devotionals

After a ridiculously long break (since mid- February), we continue making our way through the Book of Genesis. We pick up in chapter 20 with a story that sounds eerily familiar. It involves Abe and his wife Sarah.

Abe and Sarah are still making their way to the land the LORD has promised to give them (Remember chapter 12.) Once again, Abraham selfishly puts his own safety over the well-being of his wife. He tells the King of the land he was visiting that Sarah was his sister (which is part of the truth). He does this because he’s afraid that the King will kill him if admits that Sarah is his wife. Apparently it wasn’t uncommon at this time, if you were a King and you saw a woman you wanted,,,,to just take her….and if she happened to be married then you just knock off her husband….problem solved. Needless to say, Abe was afraid for his life.

The King of Gerar sends for Sarah and takes her into his palace. Then the LORD graciously intervenes…He comes to the King in a dream and warns him that he’s as good as dead if he touches Sarah . The LORD steps in to ensure that Abimelech (the King) doesn’t sin by sleeping with Sarah. And he also works to ensure that the promise that he made to Abraham will actually come to pass. You see…Abraham risked having his wife become pregnant by the King of Gerar. But the LORD promised that Sarah and Abraham would have a son.

Again we see the grace and mercy of the LORD. In spite of Abraham’s sin, the LORD works to protect the promise to give Abraham a son.

The King is spared from sinning. He sends Sarah back to Abraham, but not without charging Abraham up about his deceit. He asked why Abraham would sin against him and bring such trouble on him and his house. In contrast to Abraham’s selfish, sinful actions, Abimelech shows incredible integrity, kindness and generosity. He sends Abraham away with gifts, including silver which he gave as vindication (proof) of Sarah’s innocence (that she didn’t sleep with Abimelech).

To close the chapter, Abe prays to the LORD and the LORD heals Abimelech and all the folks in his house. “ For the LORD had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. (verse 18)

 

The Candy Shop

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Gospel Compassion

Hey folks,

Pastor Ken floated me this video today. It addresses the growing problem of child sex trafficking. My hope is that the LORD would break our hearts over sin like this….and any sin for that matter (including our own). And not only that…I pray that we would be moved to action; that our brokeness over our own sin would end in repentance and obedience to the LORD and that our brokeness over the sin around us would move us to compassionately serve and take the gospel to the world.

Grace and peace…

Hassan

[exerpt]

The Candy Shop is a film initiative to help fight against child sex trafficking.

This film is being made for the Doorpost Film Project, and with support from 12Stone® Church and Street Grace. The Candy Shop is a Fairytale/Parable about the child sex trafficking epidemic that has overrun our city of Atlanta. We are using the film to not only raise awareness but provoke meaningful action towards this issue taking place in our own backyard.

Up to 500 underaged girls a month are trafficked for sex here in our city of Atlanta.
It’s the number one city in the country for child sex trafficking..
The 10th in the world.

This plague has gone on for too long, and now we at Whitestone, in cooperation with Doorpost, 12Stone® Church and StreetGrace want to put a stop to it.

This film represents the spearhead of a citywide and possibly a nationwide campaign.
It is not a documentary. It is not a PSA. It is the beginning of a movement.

Visit the Street Grace website to find out more information and get involved directly.

stopthecandyshop.com
whitestonemotionpictures.com
streetgrace.org

Misplaced Trust

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Encouragement

Here’s a cool post about trust from The Village Church (Dallas). You can find it and other cool things at the church’s high school group blog. http://fm.thevillagechurch.net/blog/high_school/. enjoy.

“Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool…” Proverbs 28:26

In a day of the popular notion to “believe in the power of you” the Scriptures identify this as a problem, not a solution. Many would say the answers are found inside of yourself, when the Bible would say that looking to ourselves is really what caused the mess. And although some would identify this as low self-esteem, knowledge and wisdom actually start with turning our eyes away from self and humbly throwing ourselves before the feet of our Creator.

All throughout the Scriptures, you see that the problem people continually fall into is that they despise The Lord’s instruction, and instead lean on their own understanding. As the prophet Isaiah says, they “are wise in their own eyes and shrewd in their own sight.” The reality is, apart from the God who made us, we have no idea what we’re doing. Claiming to be wise, we became fools, which led us to trade in the God of the universe for a million different things, in attempts to satisfy our easy-to-please souls. We all may choose different types of poison, but again, the root problem is our sin of forsaking The King for self.

How amazing it is though, that this same King would remove His robes and be humble enough to come down and die on a tree for the treason of traitors. Christ, the wisdom of God, was crucified and raised again to pay for the foolishness of men. To those who accept God’s terms of peace through the Son, God writes his laws and ways on our hearts and minds and leads us back into the worship of Him we were made for. May we be a people who do not trust in ourselves, but instead only rest confidently in our Creator. May we be a people who seek life in the Lord, and, in doing so, joyfully find that His commandments are not burdensome. May we be a people who are hard to please, who accept nothing less than the best, Jesus Christ Himself.

Here are a few Random pics from the SGF Youth Retreat this year.

I love the youngins!

Grace and peace,

Hassan

Good Music, Glorious Truth

Posted: June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

I promise, I’m going to pick up with the posts from Genesis that have fallen by the wayside, but in the meantime enjoy this music from Sovereign Grace Music

http://sovereigngracemusic.org

This particular song is about the believer’s union with Christ and all the hope that it brings. A lot of passages of scripture come to mind, but I thought of  two especially: Colossians 3:1-4 and Ephesians 2:1-7

Colossians 3:1-4

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set you mind on things above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

Ephesians 2:1-7

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

What wonderful truth….what a wonderful saviour!

Grace and peace,

Hassan

Just follow the link below

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2011/06/22/if-you-are-in-christ-you-have-been-raised-and-you-will-rise/

Love God…Hate Sin

Posted: June 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Romans chapter 8 is arguably one of the greatest sections of scripture in the entire Bible. It is full of incredible things that are true of people who are united to Christ by faith.

there’s no condemnation -verse 1

the power of sin and death has been broken -verse 2

through Jesus, the requirements of the law have been fulfilled in us. -verse 3

Just to name a few.

In Christ, believers are seen as perfectly righteous by God the Father. Plus the Holy Spirit comes to live in us. Both Christ and the Holy Spirit work in us to ensure and testify to the fact that we have victory over both sin and death.

Believers are no longer slaves to sin…but rather we are slaves to righteousness. We love God and hate sin…and for that reason..we fight hard against sin. Make it a point to put sin to death by the Spirit’s power.

” You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. If in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead becaus of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousnes. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.”

Romans 8:9-13

Posted below is a video of a song called “winning” off Brothatone’s latest album, Mic Check. It features Chad Jones.  You can download the whole album for free here: http://www.christiansonic.net/2011/04/brothatone-mic-check-free-download-album.html. A little further encouragement to love God and hate sin.

Grace and peace,

Hassan