Anna's Alcove

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Tag: spoken word

“Counterfeit Gods”

“You might say, “I don’t believe in God,” but the Bible says, “Not possible,”
Everyone has a God, whether or not it’s the God of the gospel…
Even the dictionary defines God as “whatever we make supreme.”
It’s a theme, a thread, it’s inside of all human beings,
The fact we all worship, and no it’s not just about singing.
I know some of you already like “Jeff I don’t worship, I put that on the shelf,”
But I say technically we all do, we just worship ourselves.”

This is the beginning of “Counterfeit Gods,” a spoken word piece by one of my favorite artists, Jefferson Bethke. He has made a number of videos that touch on a lot of hard issues that we, as Christians, face in our every day lives… tattoos, sex, identity, relationships and idols.

Many of us don’t like to admit it, but we tend to place our own personal interests higher in our priorities than God at times (and I’m speaking from experience here):

The anticipation of logging onto the social networks to see who commented on a post or who has the most “likes” on a photo.

The adrenaline rush movies and books provide; giving you the opportunity to escape from the real world and go on crazy adventures all without leaving the couch.

Having a knight in shining armour (or in a really sweet sports car) come whisk you away to live happily ever after!

It may not seem like we’re outright worshiping idols, but think about it… what are we really doing when something of the world takes priority over the God of the universe? Aren’t we just gently pushing Him to the side and asking Him to wait for when we have time to spend with Him.. special time that we set aside for devotions, prayer or journaling… when, in reality, He should be infiltrating our entire existence?!

“Yet, we mock and we laugh at the Israelites Golden Calf,
But we do the same right back; it just looks different than that.
So question, what’s on your throne?
What do you chase so you don’t feel alone?
So what defines you, what do you give ultimate worth?
And what if taken from you would bring ultimate hurt?
Now see, that is your God”

I know I’m getting deep on this one, but God did state in the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:4-6
“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”

Did you catch that the second time? Our God is a “jealous God”! He can’t stand the thought of anything taking higher priority in our lives. Yet, we do it over and over again, sometimes without realizing it.

“And you ladies, no guy can love you more than Jesus already has,
So stop getting your worth from Magic Mike. Jesus is so much better than that.
I know you’re thinking,  “So Jeff, are you saying we should hate money, hate drinking, and never have sex.
No, I’m not saying that. The Bible says enjoy it all; in its proper context.”

While God is over here trying to tell us that we’re the most beautiful thing He has ever seen, we end up comparing ourselves to the friends in cyber world who have the most “likes” or settling for the fact that we’ll never live up to the Hollywood version of “perfection.”

Without even realizing it, we get so caught up in dreaming about what lies ahead for us (boyfriend/girlfriend, marriage, a career, fame), that we tend to forget that God is already taking care of our past, present and future.

So I ask you… does God have the priority spot in every little part of your life, including your things, friends, social networks and countless other way that you connect to this world? Have you given it all to Him? What would happen if it was all taken away in the blink of an eye? Would your world shatter to pieces around you, or would it stand firm on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ?

“He exchanged himself for us, absorbing all our sin.
God put on flesh and do you see how we treated Him?
The ultimate war veteran, because He was killed for our freedom.
Nonetheless, He was thinking of you and me, with every whip that beat em,
And to think he did that knowing full well we’d say, “Nah, we don’t really need Him.”
But like a Father, He couldn’t bare His children to not be free
So He thought up that tree, paid our fee, for specs of dirt like you and me.
So my plea is let Him restore His proper place,
I promise you He loves you right now. Just trust in His grace.
Because before I leave, I’ll leave you with this:
What of those other things you worship took nails in their wrists?
Or how about when was the last time money or sex forgave you?
When’s the last time your boyfriend set you free from all you’re enslaved to?
What else is there that died so you could be made new?
Or when’s the last time the world promised satisfaction, and actually came through?”

I’m still learning, just like you… so I ask that, as brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray for each other to not become to attached to the world around us. While it may be enjoyable for a while, it’s never gonna last.

But there’s one thing that can never be taken away… our awesome God who is overflowing with unconditional love and never-ending patience.

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“Be Present”

“I tend to think of life in terms of movie clips or tweetable moments… [my wife] referred to my phone as my ‘black wife.’ Now, I thought it was funny and I’m no expert, but I don’t think she was kidding… she talked about some other stuff that I don’t really remember because in my head I was too busy composing a tweet, where I would quote her with some sort of clever hashtag about marriage and about how much I love her, to be paying attention to her at that moment…”

These are the opening lyrics to “Be Present,” by one of my favorite spoken word artists, Propaganda. I chose this song to talk about because it deals with one of my pet peeves… technology!

Well, ok, I don’t hate technology (it does have a ton of perks, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog), but it seems as if the quality of communication has gone down the more technology progresses.

These days, people can access Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, FaceTime, Snapchat and other social options, any time, any place. We call it multi-tasking – thinking we’re accomplishing things and making the most of life – but in reality, we can get so lost in the cyber world that we forget to pay attention to the reality that’s going on right in front of us.

“Only when you lose her, you learn to appreciate her. Like when I’m with her, I’m itching to get rid of her and she only gives you one shot, blow it and she’s gone… You can’t rush her or slow her down…. she will slip through your fingers like sand. Her name is TIME. She said multi-tasking is a myth. You ain’t doing anything good, you’re just doing everythng awful. She begged me to stop stretching her thin and stuffing her full, stop being so concerned with the old her and future her but love her now. Her presence is God’s present and you should be that.. present.”

As it says in James 4:14, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Think about that. It can feel as if life will never end and that we have all the time in the world, but in reality, life is short. If we’re not careful, we can waste so much time “socializing” on our phones, iPods and other technology instead of investing the time and effort it takes to make real-life relationships work.

I’m not saying that social networking is a bad thing. I love it just as much as the next guy and it is very helpful in connecting with people, sharing ideas and having a broader presence in the cyber world. But on the other hand, it can be a danger.

We can become so addicted to checking our Facebook accounts every 10 minutes or feeling the need to create a cute tweet or status about something we heard or did, that we neglect the moments we’re given to have face-to-face conversations, experience life and create new and lasting relationships.

So, before you go to check any of your social network accounts or post that awesome status, hashtag or tweet that you’ve been working on… take a moment to “smell the roses.” Sounds quirky, I know, but, seriously, take a minute and invest in the friends and family that are around you. Put aside your phone and focus your full attention on listening and conversing with someone, enjoy the outdoors and live life… be present!

“So, I guess you could say I’ve been through a divorce. My phone and I are no longer married.”

“I think I’m ready to be here… now.”

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