ClydeStyle

Healing broken relationships and building better lives – ClydeStyle.

We owe him praise

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It seems as though God should get praise and glory for the things he has given us and done for us. No one would argue that we serve an awesome God who can do everything and has everything.

Well, he has definitely blessed his people, but sometimes his people will not tell the tale about what he has done in their lives. It’s like some of us are ashamed to be blessed.

We want to help out in secret. We want to keep quiet the excitement in our hearts when God has shown up and showed out.

Nicodemus was not without reason when he had Jesus over in the evening. You see he was a Pharisee and they refused to believe who he was. Nicodemus saw Jesus do enough things that he wanted to get to know him, but not at the expense of his relationship with the religious sect.

Today we don’t have such a dilemma because it is actually fashionable to claim Jesus.

The other issue that I have is that some of us are living a struggle every day of our Christian lives. We are living that struggle so much that it now seems like the norm. If we followed the scriptures, particular the psalms and proverbs we would live better than most people. There is advice in there about finances, folly and females. There is info for personal growth and development, but we must not be reading. So then, to pray to God for something he already granted is vain.

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Not to sound like a complainer, but my only point is that God deserves credit for the things he has done in our life. When you have overcome, it needs to be shared with others who are struggling in the faith. This is something that our fellowship demands and our posterity depends on.

So don’t hold back, share God’s blessing, give your testemony and honor our Father in heaven for he is more than worthy! Amen!

It’s time for a Crusade for Christ

resurrection-website-imageFor more than 2000 years the gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached to this dying world.

Unfortunately we have preached more of the facts of the gospel, than the application of that gospel. I mean, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is very important to know but if it is given without context, where is the power?

We are saved by grace through faith and the bible calls this a gift that no man can take credit. (Eph. 2:8). Moreover, the fact that it is Jesus’ blood that reconciles me to the father and his life that actually saves me (Rom. 5:10) is just the beginning. How this all works together is the crux of the matter and ultimately redefines who I am and my purpose.

To make his gospel come alive, you must believe that it was an act of love on your behalf. Does it matter that Jesus died for you? Does it matter enough for you to die (crucify the old me) for him?

Further, if I say I know and believe in Jesus, does the life I live say the same thing? This is why we need a crusade. We need to be reminded of the facts of his gospel. We need a call back to the original commission to share the gospel with the rest of the world. It’s time to reveal the hope of our calling and surrender God’s truth without apology.

If you are anywhere near San Antonio, TX over the next 6 days, stop by the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown and experience God’s love toward us. Come and hear the story of Jesus presented in a bold and loving way. Come and hear that in the midst of our struggle is when Christ died for us! Come and sing praise to his name because he made it easy for souls in danger. All these souls have to do is look above because Jesus completely saves!

The Culture of Christ

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I recently attended a symposium and a question came up about culture to which some answered that the “scriptures transcend culture” and that when it comes to Christ “there is no culture.”

Many arguments were made using scripture and culture was not taken into consideration. Imagine something as important as culture being taken out of the interpretation of scriptures…say it ain’t so.

For the culturally challenged I offer this discord: Jesus gave a great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We would never be effective or even clear in our learning if we attempt to disect cultural understanding from scripture.

Culture is simply defined as the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. There is a pop culture in America that is demonstrated collectively in music, fashion, food and arts. We have culture in religion as the Nation of Islam has several distinctive characteristics that have become their culture.

In the Lord’s church there are many things that have become the cultural norm for the body. These, like other elements of culture, have been intellectual achievements by the masses.

Christ dictates the culture of his people. He said that love would be a definitive way that people will know his people. Unconditional love is an intellectual achievement regarded collectively. We learned the principle of love from the love that God showed toward us. We understand this love and we immulate it to eachother. Forgiveness is another cultural item that defines God’s people. The world has their own reasons for forgiveness and God’s people only have one: We forgive because we are forgiven.

Serving one another, peace keeping, what we eat, how we treat our bodies, or collective feelings about salvation and sin are all the collective achievements as exercised by our intellectual capacity to understand.

I thank God for the culture of the church. Because of it I feel so comfortable with the collective true brotherhood who elevate Christ more than mankind.

I am thankful of the many brothers and sisters in Christ I have who have loved me unconditional, even when I made it difficult to do. I am grateful for all the mature members of the church who treated me like a grandchild and corrected me in love when I was wrong. I am indebted to the teachers of the word who have instructed me in righteousness and taught me the very doctrine of Christ I stand on today.

Culture is where doctrine and application harmonize for the world to see and for God to be glorified.

Comments are welcomed!

Mediocre in the pulpit?

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There is an interesting phenomenon happening in little leagues all over America. Every player regardless of skill or ability gets a trophy. In baseball if you lead the league in hits, RBIs or home runs and another player sat on the bench the entire season, both will get the same trophy.

The reason is because there is a contingent that frowns upon those who can excel. They believe that when a person shines bright that it makes they others feel bad. The competitive edge which was always used as a benchmark to make us all better has been eliminated so that we are now raise a generation of children who will expect something for nothing.

I bring this up because there are jobs where it doesn’t matter how well you do in the job as long as you meet the standard. And then there are other jobs where you cannot take a chance with mediocrity because there is too much at stake.

No one wants a doctor or dentist that barely made it through school. No one wants the new pilot to fly you to your destination. We don’t even want the new barber or hairstylist.

One area where this principle needs to be applied is in the pulpit. Sadly there are conditions that exist where a church has had 30 members for 30 years with the same pastor or minister and there has never been any significant growth.

The larger problem is that the body of believers of the same faith simply mind their own business regarding this situation. There are some who believe that one preacher is just as good as another and as long as whatever he is saying comes from the bible, it’s fine.

Scholastic ability, style and oratory skills come second or third to a nice guy who doesn’t cause any trouble. In the meantime, the congregation is spiritually dying, the younger generation is absent and God is not glorified.

These little churches should merge with larger sister churches to form one church and honor God together. If you are in one of these little churches you have to ask yourself or those leading, why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish? Is there even a plan?

The goal is never to embarrass anyone, but to bring to the social conscious where we are spiritually. Jesus promised an abundant life, not a mediocre life. It is pretty difficult to see God in the plan when there is no growth and our standard for the pulpit is so low.

Is your church a placebo?

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So we know that the church is the body of Christ and Christ’s kingdom here on earth.

He reigns supreme in this gathering of believers. Some might call it cultish due to the unfeigned faith each member has for the king.

Throughout the New Testament one can find many examples of how the body of Christ functions and relates to head of the body. And from here its even easier to see how the relationship with the head effects the horizontal relationships throughout the membership.

So, things like service, forgiveness, unconditional love, faithfulness, compassion, truth and longsuffering should abound in such places. There is a definite togetherness and sense of having all things in common among the believers. Judgement has no place here, only encouragement to be the best you can be and assistance when you stumble.

A placebo is a measure designed merely to calm, please or pacify another. It is more for a psychological benefit than for any spiritual effect. A placebo church only exists as a method to control. It is only a form of godliness, but it denies the power there of.

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The largest problem with this type of church is there is no spiritual growth, there is no support, there is no fellowship and there is no forgiveness. When trouble comes you are on your own. When Satan attacks you are judged instead of helped.

You stay in this system because it looks right, but it is far from righteousness. So I ask you this day: Is your church a placebo and more importantly why are you still there?

How bright is your light?

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We are consciously aware of the spiritual warfare going on inside of us. The physical world that we live in is a manifestation of that war.

When we see the darkness of this world, it sometimes looks like we are losing the spiritual battle. We see sin reign, hatred in abundance and ego elevated beyond the heights of selfishness.

Somehow we lost sight of God’s plan…or did we ever know it?

Here’s the plan: God wanted to show his goodness to us so he gave us grace and mercy. We were to show our gratitude through imitation of his son and obedience. The model he gave us was the burning bush. If we are doing it correctly then we would be surrounded by the fires of this world, but never consumed. We would remain in this state until he sent his son back to get us.

He would take us from the burning bush to a new tabernacle not made with hands. We would then dwell with him forever. But in the mean time we are to simply let our lights shine bright in the mist of this dark world. We were never supposed to eliminate the darkness but create as much light as we could.

The light would be in the forms of love, justice, forgiveness, service and goodness. Despite the evils of this world, our God wants to see the flourishing beauty he created. He expects for this creation to not conform to the world, but be transformed by a renewed mind. This is creation is precious to him. He called this creation Christians!

Accepted

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This past week saw the taking down of the confederate flag in South Carolina and it was not without its controversies. Highlighted in that week was congressional sparring about the event and a much choosing of sides by political pundits.

There was also a huge buzz on social media where some felt South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a decision that would make or break her political career. There was talk about this event thrusting her into the national political scene and perhaps even a vice president bid. Others felt that she had ruined her career and she even received cowardly death threats.

I was not that vested into whether the flag stayed up or came down and I did not even watch it. What turned me off was this: Our country has an acceptance problem. Many of our troubles and struggles come from our inability to accept one another.

So, in our initial relationship with our heavenly Father, we were separated from the commonwealth of God by our sins. It is impossible for us to be accepted by God on our own. Despite many failed attempts over thousands of years, we only proved that we are sinners and lost forever in darkness.

Then, Jesus comes and dies for the sins of the world so that we have the opportunity to be “accepted in the Beloved.” Now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we who believe live to bring this joyous occasion to others. Acceptance not only says that you belong, but it also says that you belong just the way you are. Acceptance is the bridge that allows the sinner in darkness to fellowship with the light. Without acceptance a connection cannot be made. And it’s in that fellowship that the magic happens. The apostle John wrote that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin — that’s a pretty powerful fellowship! But if I am not accepting, it’s all for naught!

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Have you ever felt like you did not belong? Have you ever been in a situation where others have made you to feel that way? It’s a horrible feeling, but do you know we do that whenever we decide that another person does not matter. I don’t have to conform to the way you think to accept you. You don’t have to look like me, live like me or eat the same things I do for me to accept you. I accept you because I have been accepted. And the thought of me cheapening my acceptance or taking it for granted because I don’t accept you, is not an option for me. My acceptance of you is my judgment of you and as for me and my house, we choose to accept.

I’m not the Wolverine

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One of the heroes from Marvel comics Xmen series is a character called the Wolverine. This character has the ability to heal himself at an accelerated rate, making it nearly impossible to destroy him.

Imagine that. With every hurt comes almost instantaneous healing. No scratches. No scars. No fuss. You cut him one minute and in less than 30 seconds he’s healed.

This is not a point where art imitates life. It’s the contrary.

Sometimes we say things to each other that really hurt. The whole “sticks and stones” saying is a lie: Words cut! And the problem is that we are not the Wolverine. We take time to heal and depending on how deep the cut, it could take years.

Now imagine being in a relationship with someone who constantly cuts you with their words and you do not have a chance to heal before the next cut. And this person does not give you any assistance in the healing. They just cut away at their leisure.

And then you tell them it hurts and to please stop. You become vulnerable with them and because of the close relationship you thought you had established, you pointed out the areas that would hurt the most. And instead of honoring and protecting those areas, they come at you like Freddy Krueger and continue to stab.

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To subject yourself to years of that is sick. To think that it will get better is psychotic. And to allow it to continue exposes just how much you love yourself. You enter into a relationship with another person to make each other better, not worse. There are people who bring out the worst in us and there are people, praise God, who bring out the best.

Life is too short and you are not the Wolverine. You have been taking cuts for far too long. It’s time for you to make some cuts and empty your life of all those carrying knives. This will be the best Independence Day of all!

Let’s get serious about this marriage thing

The outpouring of emotion and anger surrounding the Supreme Court decision has prompted me to write this post.

There are some things that never change. Same-sex relationships have been around for centuries. The struggles with sin have been around just as long and the word of God has been around longer. For those who were outraged by the decision, I hope this is a new beginning for you.

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I hope that this decision forces you to study to show yourself approved of God. I hope that this decision makes you hold your spiritual leaders to a higher standard and I hope it encourages you to be the best you can be for Christ.

Satan has allowed this to become a religious fight and it is not. This is about civil rights and that is supposed to be as important to the Constitution as salvation is to the bible. In our preamble it says we are to, “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” although this country does not always do this, the decision today was a strong attempt….and rightfully so.

Our Constitution and our bibles are two different things. But what they agree on is free will. Our God offers us a choice and holds us accountable to that choice. I do not ever want the government to attempt to control my choice. But insurance companies were controlling the choice of who your spouse could be and whether or not they would pay benefits based on who you chose as your spouse.

So if the insurance companies allowed for their customers to define who gets the benefits they are paying for, then there would have been no need to incorporate marriage into this situation. Civil marriage has taken a hit, but holy matrimony has not. I would rather same-sex couples simply refer to their relationships as civil unions and the same benefits given to married couples be extended to them as well. That way everyone would satisfied. But I’m not the president.

Furthermore, we have never had a righteous president in the history of America. Every single president has innocent blood they must give an account for, whether what they did was direct or indirect. So why are we looking for righteousness in unrighteous places??

What every child of God needs to do is not react to what has happened with emotion. And definitely don’t try to be the bible scholar you are not. Instead place all of your blame and expectation on yourself — first for joining this fight so late and second for not having any influence in the matter what so ever.

What you can do right now is make sure that your own household is in order. Make sure that you are leading in the education of your family and not relying on Congress to guide your moral compass.

Allow the world to be the world and allow the word of Christ to dwell in you richly. Where most see chaos and turmoil in this decision, I see opportunity — to God be the glory!

Our hypocrisy

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I struggle with the evils of this world. But I’m struggling more with the hypocrisy of America.

Only in America does it matter how you were killed and the circumstances around your death play a factor in who even gets involved.

Yesterday’s shooting was a huge tragedy and I can relate in so many ways. I can relate as a member and as a pastor. I have thought about what I would have done as the pastor. I attempt to change shoes with the deceased. I’m thankful that no one ran background checks on the victims or attempted to somehow blame them for what happen.

Think I’m crazy? Is this going too far?!?

I watched the press conference at noon today and heard how many government agencies came together to assist in this tragedy. I watched as Charleston’s Mayor, police chief and the Governor of the state got choked up over what happened. They spoke of bringing everyone together to heal.

Then I thought about Walter “Lamar” Scott who was gunned down by a police officer in the same city. Someone please tell me what is the difference in these two incidents?

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Are we to believe that it matters who pulls the trigger? In each shooting, those who died won’t come home. Are my feelings supposed to understand the difference?

I can relate to Mr. Scott as a Black man who has been pulled over by police. I share his same fear whether or not I will survive the encounter. I have to consider if I have fostered enough respect, credentials and support in my life to withstand the criticism left for my family to hear. The criticism that argues what I may have done wrong to justify my murder or how it could somehow be my fault that I was gunned down.

There were lots of prayer vigils tonight and not nearly the amount for Mr. Scott. I’m  saddened that this is our reality. My heart goes out to ALL who have suffered loss. I repent for my part in the hypocrisy and I pray that God heals our land.

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