Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Does this sound familiar?

You are faithful. Every Sunday, you meander in to the “Church in any City, on any corner.” You mingle with a few people in the lobby before heading in to the sanctuary. If you are really spiritual, you will walk around the sanctuary and pray that the Lord would “have His way” during the service. Depending on which auxiliary you serve in, you take your post and you seek to do it wholeheartedly; as unto the Lord. The service begins the same as it has last Sunday and the Sunday before that and the Sunday before that. A prayer to open the service, praise & worship, some church announcements, the choir sings, another prayer, then tithes & offering, the choirs sings again before the preacher, the preaching, invitation to “accept Christ” and join the church and maybe another song to wrap things up. Depending on how long you’ve been a member there you will either head straight on out the door after service or you might stay and mingle a bit with those that you know. Some services are better than others. Some songs are better than others. The preaching might be better this time than the last. The Spirit (or a "spirit") might move a bit which causes more people to join the church or some might have quite emotional outbursts, but for the most part it’s the same ole routine.

Throughout the week you will probably attend some sort of mid-week service or a ministry meeting or two if you have become more involved with the church. Your church may even have cell groups focusing on a certain predetermined curriculum. You may or may not have relationships with other members outside of these services or meetings but there usually isn’t much significance to them unless you have really become friends or if the church has assigned you a mentor or accountability partner.

It all seems good until one day you feel stagnant. Stuck. You're not growing spiritually. You feel like you aren’t enjoying church very much anymore and you can’t seem to “tap in to God’s presence” during the worship portion of the service. And the sermons, well, haven’t I heard this before? You don’t really feel much of anything anymore and the harder you try to “press in”, the further it seems God gets. You just can’t seem to get yourself hyped for these things and you feel like you need a break from it all so you take a week or two off from the weekly activities, but you wouldn’t dare miss church on a Sunday because that would only speak for your lack of dedication and doesn’t the Bible say that we should not become weary in well doing or forsake the assembly?

This is all you have known since you’ve become a Christian, but what else is there? With a pure desire to please the Lord, you earnestly serve your church believing this is the pinnacle of your Christian existence and the key to breaking out of your spiritual rut so to speak. You never learn much of the pure basics of the faith and you struggle with things that you probably shouldn’t be struggling with at this point in your walk but don’t feel comfortable enough with your "brothers and sisters" to tell them you need help. After all, you don’t want them to judge you (or spreading your business) and they definitely don’t want you judging them. You notice many struggles (dare I say blatant and unrepentant sin) in the life of your pastor and other ministry leaders as well which spills over to the members, but who are you to say that they need deliverance or anything else from the Lord. It is not your place…the Lord will deal with them. You just continue to lift them up in prayer. Besides, you don’t really know them anyway and it’s not your responsibility. So long as you do what you are supposed to do and that is go to church and give them your ALL! (I mean give the Lord your all). This is ministry…..probably about as good as it may get.

You are dying on the inside. The very environment that you are in does not foster any spiritual growth and it is painful. You don’t know what to do but seek another church to fill the void that this one has left you with. Finally, one day, you find a church that seems to have all the right things going for them. Loving people with a heart set on serving and pleasing the Lord, and a pastor that seems caring and interactive. The teachings seem to be a bit more challenging spiritually and you think this is the spot. You even do a bit of outreach here and there. Your relationship with the Lord could very well sky rocket here and you will reach the proverbial “next level in God” that you and everybody else have been trying to get to. The last church wasn’t as spiritual as this one. They sinned a lot and made a lot of excuses for their sin. This one calls out sin and has even set parameters (fear tactics) for you to follow so you don't fall into sin. Most importantly, they have taught you how to submit to leadership. (Make sure you don't put your mouth on the man of God. That's rebellion and witchcraft and the Lord just might kill you for that). Finally, something new. Something fresh. This is right where you need to be.

After some time, when the high has worn off, you realize this is no different. The details may vary but you are left in the same state. Sure, you’ve learned a few more things and met some really cool new people, but it is all the same. There has got to be a problem with you. The last place wasn’t good enough and now this place isn’t either. You have strayed from God. You are rebellious in your heart and don’t want to submit to authority. That’s what you have been convinced of. You’ve heard it preached from the pulpit so many times. The man or the woman who is no longer “on fire for the Lord” in services is a sure sign of a backslidden state. Woe unto you!

Again, your desire to please the Lord has failed. You are not steadfast. You have no endurance. What do you do?

Well, I don’t know what you should do but I will tell you what I did.

First, I started to ask the Lord questions without fear. Lord, why do I feel this way? What is the issue with me? Why can’t I just “get with the program”? Is it okay for me to feel this way? Are these teachings what you taught?

Ultimately, it was revealed to me (by the Lord Himself) that I was looking to church to fulfill what only the He could fill. I had the incorrect view of what church really was and what it was supposed to be. I was also shown that Christ's teachings were at conflict with this “system” and it would be impossible to reconcile being free from it and being a part of it at the same time. My desire for Christ had surpassed what these churches and services could offer me, but I didn’t know any other way. My pursuit of Christ had always been confined by the church and its beliefs and not by the Spirit or the Scriptures. In essence, there was nothing wrong with me. Everything was right and going exactly as planned to help me make my great escape! Escape from Churchianity and into the bosom of Christ! And that was the beginning of a long, and admittedly, hard road.

What I have described above is ritual and routine that stems from religion. Pretty much all religions. It may be packaged differently depending on the religion and even denomination within Churchianity. Trust me…this will get you nowhere with God. It will be as if you are walking in circles. It is quite insane and you know what the definition of insanity is. We serve a God that wants us to know Him just as He knows us. No ritual, no routine, no performance or man pleasing required.

Do not wait for the pastor or preacher to tell you what to do nor should you allow the environment of whatever ministry you attend to determine or set the standard for your walk with God. Pursue the Lord first and foremost with your whole heart. The Lord WILL connect you with like-minded believers when He sees fit. Sit as His feet, let Him teach you, cry out to Him. Trust Him in the wilderness. He will provide for your food. He will answer your questions and wipe your tears. It will all come to make sense as you continue to seek Him for His perfect will. You will see what the Church truly is and Christ's direct role in and above the Church and everything will flow from there. You MUST start with Christ as the head and allow things to be worked out from there. You cannot begin with man and think it will get you to Christ. And do not become weary in well doing for you will reap a harvest if you do not faint.

Look to Jesus, the AUTHOR and FINISHER, of our faith. He will never lead you astray.

Friday, April 27, 2012


You don't always need the TV on. For what does it profit you? Feeding you with food that provides no nourishment. You don't always have to have the TV on; to distract you from your flaws and perpetuate them all at the same time. You REALLY don't need to have the TV on; to poison your mind with a poison that doesn't kill immediately...it lingers to torture you slowly...almost painlessly until you just give in. As a matter of fact, TURN THE TV OFF and listen to what your brother has to say and just reflect on your day...because I am sure you missed something important. Your daughter is crying and wants to play, but instead...you turn the TV on (or it turns you on) and you tantalize and titillate one another until your senses diminish and the picture fades. And the only thing that's real to you is what comes out of that box. READ A BOOK!

Love Letter

I was looking through a box and found an old journal that I used to keep. I ran across two short pieces that I wrote like back in 2008 or so. The first is entitled "Love Letter." Here it goes:

If I wrote you a love letter, it would say this:

I haven't the words to put together to accurately proclaim my love.

You are the fresh breath that I've needed and never will I forget, My Love, that the sun rises with you and all things live for you, My Love. And there is nothing, I mean nothing that can ever replace your love.

It is deeper than the deep and wider than all that is wide. It is true, it is pure, it is undying. Unselfish, selfless and relying.

I could have sworn I had found you before when deception I lived for, but I was only living a lie time and time again.

I nearly gave up, My Love. But you sought me out with your love and gave me the Reason to love....My Love.

Freely I give you me to love unconditionally because without you....there is no me.

That's what I would say in my love letter to you, Jesus.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Why good morning to you this morning! I am up a bit earlier on a Saturday than I am usually accustomed to. My daughter (YES, I said my daughter) wanted to wake up so I have been up for the past hour or so.

There have been quite a few changes since my last entry. All changes for the better I would say but these changes did not come without challenges. I just thought I would take a few moments to jot down a bit of what has happened.

Well, the first MAJOR change (which I mentioned in the first sentence) is I had a baby! I remember a post awhile ago saying how ready I was to bring a little one in to the world. Shortly after that, I found out I was pregnant. Now, she is already 8 months old. My how time flies! And we love her dearly. She is so much fun and enjoyable. I am sitting here feeding her breakfast in between typing spurts as we speak. The thing I love about her the most is she is always (at least 90% of the time) happy and smiling! Someone said, "This baby has the joy of the Lord!" All I could say was AMEN! That she does and through her God has given us even more of His joy and love. Praise the Lord for little Charity!

Another change that we have undergone is my husband and I have decided to no longer "attend" church services, but we are beginning to understand what the Lord meant when He said He was building His Church! I will most definitely do a separate blog post for this one because it was quite a journey! QUITE a journey. A time of real spiritual testing (and still is at times). I will say that it all started when I began asking all those questions and feeling awkward about the ministry we were attending at the time. Its funny how you start at point A and end all the way up at point Y without even intending to be there or knowing that its even where you are going. While the first change was probably the biggest, this one here was and is probably the most rigorous and challenging. Even more so than child birth....Well, at least it felt like it at times.

My marriage is wonderful. I mean it has always been, but it seems to just get better and I thank the Lord for that.

Ok, so Charity is getting a bit fussy. I am going to tend to her and get back soon.

Until then.....

Hold tight. Stand Strong. Rejoice for the Lord is doing some great and mighty things!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Awkward Position

Have you ever been in a place (physical, mental, spiritual or where ever) that has been so uncomfortable that you felt as though you were barely able to function? Every movement, every thought, every prayer just seemed so out of place. Well, if so, I can definitely relate.

I am serious about the things God, if not just for the the fact that God is serious about them too. I do not take things lightly and I appreciate genuineness when it comes to dealing with the people of God. My life belongs to Christ and I desire to know HIM for who He is. Sound familiar, relatable. Well Praise God that He has given us a heart after Him. What's so awkward about that you ask?

Deep Breath: Here goes. I have been involved with a ministry for about the past year and a half. Like so many, I was hungry for more of God. I wanted to experience more of God and be among those that do more than just pay Him lip service. I desired genuine fellowship and love amongst the saints and just something more. What more I could not clearly articulate but there was a longing in my spirit. I did not feel that the church I was attending at that moment was fulfilling that desire in me so I ventured on from one church to another, convinced that the Lord was leading and even convinced that my fiance' at the time about the same. At first it was all gravy. The praise and worship was liberating. I'd even let go and danced before the Lord. The preaching was very simple and easy to grasp. I witnessed people operating in giftings that were not widely used in the last church. My fiance' and I were able to minister and serve at a capacity that we hadn't at the last church. The people were loving and the pastor was giving. There were things happening there that I had NEVER heard of in my life. Was this the "something more" that I was desiring? Had the Lord answered my prayer?

Let's focus on this line: things that were happening that I'd never seen or heard of. For a few months things were all good. A-okay. Oh but then, silly me, I started to question some of these things. Not because I doubted them, but because I wanted to know what God's Word said concerning these things. As I started on my journey excited to see what the Lord had to say in favor of these things, I began to realized that some of what I was hearing and seeing did not line up with Scripture. And while I have a relationship with the Lord to where I know I can pray and He will answer, I still wasn't very sure. I am, by no means, a Bible scholar so I wanted to dig a little deeper and see if there were others that were experiencing and believing the same sorts of things. To my surprise, this thing was bigger than I thought! Much bigger, and the more I saw the more skeptical I became and the more I studied the Word the more I was convinced that I was amongst a people that were following after things that they shouldn't. What a pickle!

So now you see, I am still there. My fiance' and I have since married. The people are still loving, the pastor is still giving, the teachings and experiences are still occurring (or at least the claims are being made) and I am growing more and more intolerant of this nonsense. I have had several moments of just crying out to God asking Him to make it all a bit more bearable for me. My husband loves the ministry and I would hate to deprive him of that (especially if he feels he is growing in the Lord). He is not really akin to a lot of the experiences but he holds to the teachings (which aren't all bad) and who can blame him really. If you commit yourself to a ministry you would hope you could consume of what is being offered. Plus he enjoys the opportunity to serve.

Some days are good. Some days not so good. I have gone through many feelings of doubt about my relationship with the Lord while involved with the ministry. I never felt that I wasn't "saved", but I have often felt that I did not have enough faith or was being critical and judgmental or was just plain rebellious and carnally minded. Not able to discern the things of the Spirit. It seems like it would be easiest to just go with this flow, you know. But I cannot. Something won't let me. Some would say its the devil, others would say that I'm battling with my fleshly reasoning and doubt. Very few would say that the Holy Spirit is doing a work in me, but that's what I believe. I cannot submit or fully commit to something that I feel is not of God. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying everything about this ministry is not of God but I feel quite a bit of it is a bit suspect and contrived if you ask me. And while I admit that I would still, in a sense, consider myself a babe in the Lord I am finding this time to be a testing of my patience, character, love for others and commitment to Jesus Christ.

THERE! I said! It is out in the open. Let me say this. I have nothing against any of the members there. Not the pastor, not his wife or anyone. I love everyone that is there but you can imagine how awkward I feel when like mindedness and unity are highly promoted (which should be in the Body of Christ period)and I feel like the joint out of socket. Only getting with "the program" to make it through the service but heart and mind are totally not in it. I believe one of two things are happening right now. I am either dying spiritually or God is really trying to refine somethings in me and show me some things. Allowing me to see where my heart truly is concerning Him when in the midst of uncomfortable situations. While I am in an awkward position at the moment, I know that this will not ALWAYS be the case. God is faithful to those that love Him and I believe that, in time, He will reveal and deliver where ever deliverance needs to take place. Whether it be in me or whomever.

If any of my dear brothers and sisters that I attend service with is reading this, I apologize if I have offended any of you or hindered your faith in Christ in any way. I do not seek to tear anything or anyone down. Please pray that I will allow God to have His way in this situation. That He would make things clearer to me and give me His peace.

Let me say this,(and this is a bit of what God has been showing me) whether you believe that the institutional church is the best thing since sliced bread, needs a makeover by the Holy Spirit or needs to be downright destroyed or whatever (I definitely feel that we are falling short on so many fronts) please be in prayer for those that are involved. Pray that God would draw hearts and minds back to Him and not allow us to be sucked in to the humdrum of the system and to make no idols and to recognize when we have that we might repent and be turned back to Him. For those of you who feel that you should be a member of a congregation or church...please be prayerful. Do not make any decisions based on emotion and be sure, above all else, that the Gospel is being preached and that you are receiving sound instruction in the Lord. The church that you choose to attend should NOT be the pinnacle of your Christian existence, experience or service. Christ and ONLY CHRIST should fulfill that (a lesson that I am sorely learning). Your best work for the Lord is done when He leads you, where He leads you and how He leads you. Whether it be amongst believers in a building or outside of the confines of the church walls. Church should NOT be something we go to but it should be who we are.

1 Peter 2:5 - 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.

Titus 1:9 - Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

2 Timothy 1:13 - Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-24 - Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Be Blessed.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


My husband asked me a really irritating question last night. As he washed the dishes he asks, "What motivates you LaTika?" On the surface, it does not seem to be an irritating question but it rubbed me the wrong way, mainly because I have not been feeling very motivated lately. All I had to offer was an even more annoying, "Every new day that I am able to see is motivation enough for me."

At first hearing, it may have appeared that no thought was put into this. This is not something that I ponder regulary and the nice Christian answer to give would have been, "I am motivated by the blood of Jesus Christ" or "I am motivated in knowing that Jesus loves me and I seek to live my life for Him everyday." Now while both of those are true, all I could muster was I am motivated by everyday. While my husband probably wasn't feeling my answer or thought I answered to hastily, I actually took a moment at that moment to think about it. I even went to sleep thinking about it and the more and more I pondered the thought I began to ask myself the same question. "Ms. Thing, what are you motivated by? Who or what keeps you going everyday?" Still, all I could say, I am motivated by each day.

I realize that each new day God allows me to see is a blessing in and of itself no matter how I am feeling. Each day holds great possibilities. I don't know from day to day what the Lord is going to communicate to me. I don't know from day to day how God will show me how much He loves me. I don't know from one day to the next how much more God will reveal to me about Himself...but I do know that each day I am given is a day worth being motivated about, whether I feel it or show it or not. Tomorrow might be the day that God uses me to lead someone to Him. In a couple of hours I may have the opportunity to be a blessings to someone, not just in word but in deed also. Tomorrow may very well be the day that God delivers me from something that has had me bound. I never know but I am expectant.

So in actuality, my motivation doesn't just come from the day itself but it comes from the fact that I am trusting and believing God to be involved in each of my days and I never quite know what will happen. I guess I just need to be ever mindful of this everyday.

So I guess I have my husband to thank for causing me to think about this and I am so grateful to God that He has opened my eyes through my husband to realize that I can and I should trust Him more each day and acknowledge Him even more with each day, each moment.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Pretentiousness in Christian music

I would, to say the least, consider myself a musician of some sort. I am not an instrumentalist but a vocalist. God has blessed me with the gift to open my mouth and allow musical tones and notes to be produced that don't sound too bad. I love music. I love the art of writing and creating a song. I don't do much of it but the thought of doing so excites me. I have not always been akin to singing songs about Jesus but from the age of about 18 up until now....if you hear me singing anything it will more than likely be to give praise to my God. Sometimes when I pray I sing to the Lord and I love to enter into His presence by worshipping Him through songs that I sing to Him (in my private times with the Lord). It is also an awesome thing to be able to lead, or as I would like to say, sing WITH other believers as we ALL lift our voices in praise to our God.

As a twenty something African American female I gravitated towards gospel music. Gospel music is essentially what the music industry has termed black folks singing soulful songs in the the name of the Lord about the Christian faith. Would I REALLY call this "gospel" music? I have my opinions and maybe some of those will be revealed as I go along. Anywho, this music (or the sound of the music) related to me on a cultural level. I could identify with the sounds of the voices and the instrumentation of the songs. I will honestly say that many of the songs have served a place in my life to connect me with God to a certain extent. The lyrics were uplifting and many served as a means to express how I felt about Jesus. I have performed, YES I SAID PERFORMED, with several groups and choirs from the time. We sounded great! If you weren't moved by the "spirit", whatever spirit it was, you would be moved by the sound. I didn't realize it at the time but it all had become a show....lights, camera, action, you're on!

Then one year, I had the privilege of being elected as El Presidente of my college gospel choir. We did the same thing as usual, we performed but with limited musicians and limited voices (quality voices truth be told). During my tenure as "El Presidente"(lol) I began to realize that this was so much more than just singing at what we called GospelFests (GospelFest - a day when several colleges get together to perform at a concert) and at other events around campus and surrounding areas but that most of what we were doing was futile if none of the members in the choir were growing spiritually. There were so many issues afloat amongst the young people in the choir that it wasn't even funny. They had so many questions about God and some weren't even sure if they were saved. Truth be told, I was not very confident in my relationship with the Lord either and had my fair share of "college mishaps". Most of us did not have our bearings in Christ and His word and didn't quite understand how to get there, but singing in the "gospel choir" was a means to maintain some association with Jesus regardless of what we did or said after rehearsal or those many performances. I will say this, I did experience growth while in the choir but it was definitely NOT because of the choir or because of any of the songs that we sang. It was because of the people I met in the choir and some the things I'd experienced while in college. And the fact that I actually had an earnest desire to know the Lord.

Then after college I was involved in a group of young people that sang but there were some bumps along the way and the Lord disbanded that...and rightfully so! Here is the point...while I believe that there is definitely a place in the Kingdom of God for music, we must know its proper place. Can Christian music change lives and convert others to live a life submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ? Possibly. David played his harp and and the evil spirit in Saul was lifted as he played but it was only a temporary solution. But as I have seen lately, Christian music (gospel, contemporary, rock, hip hip, rap or whatever genre it is in) has become rather self serving and tainted by many, many...(did I say many) strange and worldly spirits.

What makes (some) Christian music pretentious? Personal agenda and it bleeds through every pour and fabric of the song from the production choices to the lyrics. When listening to your Christian musicians/songs of choice ask yourself these questions:

- Does this song appeal more to my emotions or is it edifying my spirit?
- Are the lyrics Biblically sound? If the song is not actually Scripture, are the themes and content of the songs strongly based and rooted in the Word of God?
- Does the background music (beats, instruments, production etc.) take away from or drown out the message that is being portrayed by the lyrics? I have listened to Christian songs that I like just because of the beat where the lyrics were secondary. This is not wrong all together but should most definitely NOT be the first criteria. The beat can be hot but the lyrics could be garbage.
- Why do I like this song? What is it really that appeals to me? Be truthful with yourself.
- What is the actual focus of the song? Is it to give praise and worship to the Lord? Is it to edify and encourage the saints ACCORDING TO WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS?
- Does the song give me a false hope in my own ability to overcome?

Ask God to give you more discernment concerning this subject through His Holy Ghost. For those of us who love music, in all of its forms, it is a difficult thing to do but as we follow the leading of His Spirit we will find Truth!

Hallelujah!! (Praises Be To YHWH)