Undergroundchurch Blog

Preparing the Church for the future

  • UnderGroundChurch

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 16 other followers

  • Subscribe

  • Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘history’

Can the Star Spangled Banner Stand?

Posted by undergroundchurch on September 25, 2009


The Star Spangled Banner (our national anthem for those unsure of the title) is a very brilliant anthem.

This great anthem is totally written in the form of a question.

Why a question?

Francis Scott Key wrote it so that every time you hear or sing it, you will reevaluate, “Is it still true today as it once was?”  He wrote it in 1814 when the British attacked Ft. McHenry.  When he witnessed the large flag still standing over the fort at the end of the battle, he wrote the poem which would later become the nation’s song titled, “Defense of Fort McHenry.”

Let’s take a look line by line, and while doing so, ask yourself, “Can the Star Spangled Banner Stand as it once did?”

Oh say can you see?

This is question that every American should be asking every day.  Can you see what’s happening to our nation, to our freedom, to the things that made this country great? Is the greatness of this nation and its freedom deteriorating?  Not only that, but are we still the leader of the free world, or are we becoming the follower of the rest of the world that has given up their individual rights and freedoms?

By the dawn’s early light…

What will the “new day” bring?  A progressive view says, “We need to change?” But do we, and if we do… What will that change look like?  Darkness is blackest just before the dawn.  Don’t surrender everything we are just because it seems to be night.  For the light is going to come and show that the flag of freedom is still needed.

What so proudly we hail

I am a believer in Jesus Christ first.  That said… I love the nation God has chosen to allow me to live in.  There is now, nor has there ever been (except for early Israel) a greater nation.  Freedom here has historically been the banner we fly under.  The most known symbol of that freedom stands in a New York harbor.  It’s at the end of our pledge “liberty and justice for all”.  I am a believer first, but while I breathe in this flesh, I am proud to be an American!

At the twilight’s last gleaming

I will be proud to be an American til the last bastion of our freedom still remains.  Once that is gone, I will fight hard at the last twilight to win her back! That day is fast approaching, may God continue to show us the grace we do not deserve for the sake of our children.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars

Thirteen colonies became thirteen states.  The intent to start something that had never been tried (white), the blood of men and women that gave their lives for the freedom of the people (red), the robes of leadership we have shown the world over the past 200 years (blue) and the brightness of 50 states united as one (stars).

Through the perilous fight

A heavy, heavy, heavy HEAVY price has been paid for our freedom.  Freedom is not free and it cannot be legislated from Congress, it is earned by the people willing to stand firm on principle while the truth is the only thing marching on.

O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming

Ramparts  represent the walls of defense that must be put up to hold back the tides of change that take us from our position.  We cannot back down and thus let the walls fall else, the flag will cease to stand for anything.

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there

The battle now is not on a battlefield, but in the hearts, minds and souls of every American out there.  We must remember what made us a great nation and never forget.

Glenn Beck has an illustration – In 2001, September 10th, we were apathetic, caught up in our own world. On September 11th, we cried together, our world was shattered and we were broken. But on September 12th, we were united, we lived and loved, we remembered why we were the greatest nation on the earth.

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

That day, September 12th, the flag was still there.  Is it still waving today?

O’er the land of the free

Freedom is not, never has been and never will be the government taking care of us.  It has always been people loving people, with the government ensuring that our freedom is not destroyed. Are we still free?

And the home of the brave

You cannot be free without being brave.  Brave men and women died to give it to us, and it will take brave people to hold on to it.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some Great Old Routines

Posted by undergroundchurch on July 11, 2009


I grew up listening to a group called Isaac Air Freight.  They had some great routines.  I since lost the albums, but I found the routines on Youtube the other day.  They are only audio, but that was how they were intended. They are good, even today. Hope you enjoy.

You can see more at the source in Youtube by clicking HERE.

Blessings

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Martyr’s Death

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 22, 2009


Neda Soultan is becoming a historic icon through nothing that she did, only what was done to her.

Her fame has swept the world as today’s Iranian symbol for freedom. I’m sure that she did not travel into that street thinking that she could be anybody.  She probably had no ambitions of her own to think she could ever lead a revolution. However, her innocent demeanor has landed her on the front pages of a nation’s revolution, and her tragic death by the bullet of a soldier has fueled an entire nation’s rally cry. She is and forever shall be – a martyr for the cause.

Martyrs have always been a catalyst for revolution throughout history.  The word for martyr comes from the Greek and it means “witness”.  Their deaths testify or are witness to some cause, situation or movement and empower people to do more, be more and overcome more.

Most martyrs die never even expecting or possibly imagining the symbolism they would personify. Nevertheless, timing, circumstance and fate expands their seemingly small sphere of influence to a world changing stage.

Some martyrs, like Neda, are unwilling participants that become a symbol; others become a martyr because their passion and drive put them in situations that brought about sheer risk.  Martin Luther King Jr. is a good example of this.  He exposed himself to danger, but it was not his intent to die. He had a passion, a drive and a dream, but they did not including becoming a martyr.  That was for the rest of us to decide.

Still there is a level of martyrdom that even goes beyond this. It is where a cause or purpose is so important that death itself is possibly a byproduct for your belief.  Many people around the world die for a cause because they believe in something. 

Though he did not die that day, “tank man” became a symbol for the freedom in China that fateful day in Tienanmen Square where many others were massacred.

 He simply stood there knowing that it could very well be his last moments of life.  He didn’t really stand a chance against four tanks, but he was going to do everything in his power to make his belief made known to those who would try to kill him.

From a biblical point, Stephen was this type of martyr. He stood before the leaders of the Jews of his day who were accusing him, and testified of Jesus. He knew, as many others who were tossed to lions, burned on stakes and skinned alive, that his words could very well be his last. In fact, Paul the apostle, at that time called Saul, held the coats of the people that murdered Stephen giving his approval.

As powerful as the faith based martyrdom is, there is another more powerful and potent martyrdom that lasts beyond death.

This martyrdom isn’t about ideologies or belief systems, it is not about politics, movements or fate.  This martyrdom is about one thing only… Love.

This is the martyrdom that Jesus says is the greatest love that any person can show another person, “That you lay your life down for your friends.” (John 15:13) This description of perfect love comes right after he challenges his disciples to “love each other as I (Jesus) have loved you”.  He not only tells them to love each other, but he shows them how to do it by laying his own life down for them, you, me and everyone in between through his voluntary death on a cross.

The famous scripture posted at every sporting even (John 3:16) tells the whole story of the love of God.  He loved us, not just in word, not just in life, not just in healing a few people, not just in preaching a good message, making bread out of nothing, turning water into wine, or even creating the heavens and earth.  He loved us “so much”, the verse says, “that he gave us his only son” to die for us, that if we “believe on Him, we will have life everlasting.”

You can tell me you love me, you can write it down, you can live it out, you can do everything for me to show you love me now, but when you die for me, you are showing me that your love is not constrained by our temporal existence, your love is for now and forever and that you are willing to give it all to prove it. That is what Jesus did for you.

He was the greatest martyr the world has ever known.

Posted in politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What is Your Purpose Statement?

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 26, 2009


One of the goal setting techniques “self-improvement” instructors tell their students is to set goals. When setting goals, don’t set them too high, too far out or too unrealistic. Set your goals in phases – short-term and long-term. Set limits (very important), and establish general timeframes.

I’m not a huge fan of “self-improvement” thinking, but I will say that setting a “Purpose Statement” for your life is a good one because… well, God established it first.

Today’s Biblegateway scripture is John 3:17

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

This scripture is very important for us now because it is the current goal God set for Jesus. We know that there are other tasks and goals that have been achieved and will be achieved by Jesus, but for now, this is His purpose statement.

Look at some of Jesus’ past and current goals

  • Creation of the universe and specifically, the earth and man
  • Establishment of a tabernacle that pre-figured his coming ministry on earth
  • Fulfillment of hundreds of prophetic statements while on earth
  • His successful journey to the cross
  • His establishment as the savior
  • Obtaining a name above all names with power and dominion

These are all important, but are in no way the end. He has some long-term goals that are yet to come to pass.

  • He will return with a sword in judgment of the world. In other words, he will one day come to condemn the world; He didn’t do it the first time He came because He had to first come as savior king.
  • He will rule with an iron scepter.
  • He will destroy and rebuild heaven and earth.
  • He will establish a kingdom that will never end from the New Jerusalem.

These goals are yet to be accomplished, but if His track record is any indication, there is no doubt that He will be successful.

So what about you? What goals have you set – both long and short term?

Posted in Bible Study, Living | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Fair and Balanced Gospel – We preach, You decide

Posted by undergroundchurch on May 2, 2009


I’m stealing this title from Fox News, and I think we the church need to take our cues from this philosophy.

The purpose of the Bible is to present a true and accurate depiction of God’s interaction with humanity.  In it we see his love, holiness, kindness and justice.  Someone reading it might even think they are seeing mixed messages – how can a loving God let evil reign or send down judgments on the human race, or my favorite, how can a loving God send people to Hell?

Part of the confusion is found in how the church understands the balanced nature of God. God does not change, he is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The God of the Old Testament is alive and well today.  The question is how do we reconcile this in our hearts.

I have listened to many sermons in my life and watched the evolution of teaching in the church throughout the years.  Two hundred years ago in the holiness movement, the messages were more about repentance and righteousness than the love of God. 

A hundred years ago, the messages evolved into the movement of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fifty years ago, they translated into a global outreach with crusades, evangelism and building the church body through salvation of the world. 

Thirty years ago, a movement known as the “Jesus movement” began a transition the church into seeing God as a loving savior and deserving of our worship – accepting of anyone and everyone. 

Twenty years ago the church began to be marred in the eyes of the world through pride, and in some ways sort of lost its identity.  It began concentrating on building big churches, programs and other off message works.  

Each era of the church tended to concentrate on one side of God with an emphasis toward one characteristic or another. Today, I would say that as a whole, the church is floating.  There is a movement within it to move, but complacency runs amok and it’s going to take a change of heart to get it going.  A sign of the times is that many in the church feel that we are ok and that there is nothing really wrong, but  we have lost our relevance. Just lookat society around us.  We used to set the tone for society, now our voices are ridiculed as intolerant when the opposite is true. 

The question is where will the church go?  What will the church of the next decade look like?

For all my criticism of the current situation within the church, I am exceedingly optimistic and excited for its future.  The church is the tool Jesus is going to use to change the world, and it is going to go through a dramatic transformation to get there.

I have spent some time studying the rising movement within the church, I want to give a glimpse of where I feel the church will transition.

First, the church will balance its teaching.  The most prevalent teaching in the church today is about the goodness of God, the love of God and the mercy of God.  These are all good and true, but like the generations of the past, they look at God rather one sided.  The next transformation will be in the balance of teaching.  It will be a culmination of the last 200 years of church history with a flavor of first century methodology.  It will be strong in every area by balancing the love of God and the fear of God, balancing the mercy of God with the justice of God. 

Second, it will see salvations like never before that really impact those being saved through real repentance, change and power.  No longer will we just pray a prayer from the stage and leave it at that.  You will see people broken before God in their salvation experience.  They will not be getting saved on Sunday mornings only, but throughout the week.  Believers will be sharing the good news of Jesus with those in their workplace, grocery stores and restaurants and witnessing transformations that turn people from their sin and empower them to chase after God – an element lacking in many being saved today.

Third, you will see a fear of God arise that will drive believers to powerful prayer.  The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Fear is not the kind of fear you experience going to a horror  movie, it is the understanding that God is everything and you are nothing.  It is knowing that this God who loves you cannot let sin abide in his presence.  The believer will no longer live two lives – one of sin and one of Sunday morning facades. Holiness will be a sign of the believer’s life.

Fourth, you will see the gifts of God explode in the church.  Gifts that far too many in church believe are extinct will rise to a prominent state.  Miracle, signs and wonders will happen in fulfillment of Jesus’ own words in ways that have never occurred in common man.  The power of the Holy Spirit will empower the believer with all boldness, fruits and gifts necessary to usher in day of the Lord.

Fifth, Sunday is not going to be enough.  Like the first century church, the place to be will be with fellow believers.  You will begin meeting daily together because you will find that Jesus is showing up every time you get together.  Home churches, fellowships and just get togethers for prayer, teaching and worship will be in every neighborhood.  The church will blend into the lives of people and not be relegated to a building.

Finally, (and I’m sure there are more) the church will make an impact once again. Make no mistake, the world will hate the church more and more as we stand in righteousness, but the mercy of Jesus will shine through us as we reach out to meet the needs of the downtrodden.  We won’t be just about ourselves; we will have most of our ministries focused on those outside of our local churches where it should be. 

Ever notice that Jesus ministry was mostly to those that weren’t following him? He simply taught those following him, but to those that weren’t he healed, fed and brought the good news. 

Our preamble will be something like this… 

We the church, in order to form a more perfect union in Christ, will establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense of the Gospel, promote general welfare of the downtrodden, and secure the blessing of liberty in Christ  for ourselves and those living around us, to ordain and establish this Gospel of Jesus Christ for the people of the world.

Posted in Bible Study, End Times, Living | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »