There are responses to both your church's focus and recent event as well as my comments and clearly there are more saints around the country and world who are praying for each other to continue our collective efforts to expand the kingdom of God.
I am continually flipping back and forth between our recent messages as I compose this message tonight.
The greatest success that I saw last week was that the curtain of awareness was finally raised for the first time within the eyes of the youth.
Your slideshow had undeniable truths that some African-American artists clearly have not been as responsible with the access to our youth as they should have been. Their access needs to be reduced and eliminated as much as possible. But we must remember to continue to pray for these people to be saved or finally live according to the Christian faith that they profess at award shows:)
God loves them still as well.
A couple of analogies come to mind that babysitting or eating out as activities of life are not the problems as are the providers of such services.
Fire and electricity are equally not the enemies and threats as are uncontrolled, ignored, random, and unattended fires and electricity that will destroy our homes, churches, and everything physical that has value.
Again, I raise my point of saying "Hip hop is not really the enemy as failure to "train up a child in the way that they should go" is. The Scripture must not be falsely restricted to personal responsibility but expanded to include church responsibility as well".
The enemy is not the multimedia that our youth are going to be exposed to regardless of our efforts, but the explicit, negative quality of the content and the lack of parental and mentor involvement within the lives of the youth. Or better yet, the enemy is the world's system of separating us from our children daily.
But should we become unemployed and turn them over to the oversight of the states in order to spend more time with them? Should we begin the first African-American Amish community?
Should we expect them to wear veils, earplugs, and blindfolds? By no means are these feasible solutions. Neither is destroying the devices that will play television programs, DVDs, CDs, MP3s, etc.
Someone has to buy the content in order to destroy it. Destroyed content can be downloaded and digitally reacquired these days. The civil rights movement and nonviolent teachings of Gandhi and Rev. King have already proven that boycotts are more effective. The abstinence message clearly has a place here as well.
Such recommendations to mass destruction of media and electronic devices are better equipped for another battlefield other than ones our youth will find themselves on. Comments like this are immediately disqualified by the youth.
The youth have simply used the messages of the world to fill the empty spaces that responsible adults should fill with the Word of God and example.
Before last Friday night, the youth had either little awareness of a criteria to judge the messages that they were continually exposed to as good or bad or that they lacked the regular effort, resistance, or courage to say no to their peers and others who were consistently offering the content for them to consume. I believe that the latter applies more than the former.
The need is to create the ability to push back against the negative peer pressure and content.
Again, your youth only represent what is happening within African-American youth especially and youth overall in society nationwide and worldwide.
Their "immune system" has a deficiency and if we are not careful, spiritual AIDS will be the result.
Through more parental and mentor involvement, their awareness can be raised to the point that they are indeed empowered and equipped to forcefully resist as we pray that they will.
Today's youth have the boldness and zeal that we know that they are capable of, but it is often misdirected. Only intimate Christian education and corporate church involvement is going to turn this around.
But if the parents see nothing wrong with the content that was shown last week themselves and the artists are not considered threats as a result of releasing the content, then clearly the youth will not be the "cheerful givers" of providing items to be destroyed.
The entertainment companies are just as responsible as they sanctioned each release as well as their shareholders.
Your midpoint service of the series now has the responsibility of providing an alternative or introducing them to an alternative Christian choices more so than destroying existing content.
Provide them with the criteria to make judgment calls as you have done, demonstrate the alternatives or make them just as aware of the suitable alternatives or desired direction (toward God and exalting Him within everything that they do, desire, love, and have an ability for) within gospel hip hop and other talents that they have and develop, and they will destroy or discard the former content on their own.
God looks at the heart and is not as concerned as to what takes place in the eyes of man as He is when we are alone, isolated, and behind closed doors. Everything else will be just a public show.
Hip hop is just the envelope and not the letter itself just as telling parables and miracles were and still are Christ's tool for delivering the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Hip hop and other forms of culture have to be arrested, repossessed, and transformed just as we desire the hearts and minds of the unsaved to be renewed. We must divide the spoils among the brethren as the Word tells us. There is no better way to tell the world that God reigns than the "flip the script" on everything the enemy holds in high regard and make it bow down to serve God instead.
To cast away what has been proven to work is not profitable to our cause.
This is where the healing will begin and the seeds of future success will be planted.
By all means keep the dialogue going especially when one side or the other wants silence instead. Silence expands the generation gap versus closing it.
God's solution is multidimensional and all of us can and will achieve our objectives and missions. Our descendants (physically and spiritually) depend upon our success.
I am looking forward to witnessing the ministries, testimonies, and active lifestyles of Christians who were not there last week as well as those who did not minister due to the need for conversation that was clearly present.
Finally, one thought that popped back into my head is the shock that I had and still have from the sister who considered the internet as a paid access medium versus for free through local libraries, etc.
The thought makes me wonder if anyone has ever trained our youth how to take full advantage of the technological tools that would have been considered as nuclear weapons when we were their ages.
One immediate long-term objective that I envision for our youth to fulfill our pastor's vision is to equip them to organize and operate the multimedia ministry within our church (audio, video, text, internet) from A to Z.
Check out this video to see an example of youth on fire:
Any pastor that does not want this kind of fire within the sanctuary raises more questions than answers.
Don't give up and keep marching onward Christian Soldier!
See you and Greater Bethany Friday night God willing.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Posted by Roney Smith at 10:11 PM
Sunday, January 28, 2007
The Sundance Film Festival has been getting a lot of media coverage and it is great since there are film and movie projects that probably would not see substantial screen venues and opportunities otherwise.
The wildest thing about this year's festival for me is that when I went to Salt Lake City in December and made the ride over to Park City, I had no clue that Sundance is held there annually.
What brought it to my attention was in seeing some of MC Hammer's photos that appear on his blog. He had some aerial photos that reminded me of the photos I had taken from my flight. Then I noticed that the white, snow-capped mountains looked more familiar than just by coincidence.
When I later researched the festival and saw that it is held indeed within Park City, I had a new appreciation for the hard climate and determination that each attendee has to put forth to get there and conduct any business.
I have a brief film segment at the bottom of this message that I uploaded on YouTube that I captured while in Park City. The climate is probably colder and more brutal than it was during my trip. But it clearly is not a walk in the park for anyone from warmer climates.
Park City is definitely one city and atmosphere that I look forward to taking my family to one day. While I could live anywhere based upon the trip there, I am not quite sure if Utah could emotionally support my family and I as residents. But I truly admire the spirit and tenacity of the people there. It is clearly a place where the only way to succeed is "all hands on deck".
Best wishes to the Sundance attendees and conference organizers!
Posted by Roney Smith at 9:58 PM
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I have already started putting together this morning some thoughts and recommendations for not only our church based upon our attendance, participation, and observations of the youth service last night, but for other churches worldwide as well.
I heard many of the same sentiments expressed by older saints weeks ago within my own church family in Austell, GA.
The service last night was great and one clear message that rang like a bell to me is that the younger saints between the ages of 22 to 45 within the African-American church really have to step up and make themselves heard at all times. They have to take a more active role within the lives of youth within the kingdom of God.
These child-bearing years have more natural energy but have not always been there for the youth. The previous generations of such saints were the ones who took advantage of desegregation and equal employment opportunities but did not always look back to help someone in a less fortunate situation.
Hip hop is not really the enemy as failure to "train up a child in the way that they should go" is. The Scripture must not be falsely restricted to personal responsibility but expanded to include church responsibility as well.
Everything within earth was created by God and without Him was nothing made. There are no evil notes on any keyboard, drum set, or guitar string. Only through not including God within every aspect of life does perversion begin to grow.
There is no power other than God. Yes, satan exists but he is devoid of power unless he is GIVEN power by someone.
Freewill is still more powerful than the enemy's devices and this is where he only "appears" to be empowered.
One young sister broke down last night and said something that included "leaving us out here on our own" when the need for change (regarding their consumption and meditation upon the undeniable, negative lyrical content of some popular hip hop artists) was brought to their attention.
Most youth within the black church simply have not been taught. They were either left alone or ignored by older saints who falsely thought that children have no mission within the kingdom of God when the older saints were ignored as youth themselves as well.
The generational curse being repeated and is clearly within range of being broken is that we (older saints now possessing power within congregations) were ignored and overlooked and not heard and we turned out ok, so why should things change?
It is like having someone who has been abused grow up and still endorse the abusive system without recognizing the impact upon their own children when they were always saying that they wanted their children to "have a better life than I did" or "I had it harder than you have it now". The same goes for hazing within college campuses and alumni chapters regardless of what is said. Hazing reduces the possibility and power of Rev. King's "I Have A Dream" prophetic vision.
We must also recognize the trends, impact, and lifestyles of today's baby boomers as well because there are societal problems and not just problems within the church.
Many African-American baby boomers have simply overcompensated for the lack of love and personal attention within their own childhoods and falsely believed and acted upon the thoughts that material things would make up for their absence within their children's lives or make the critical difference in the child's positive growth and development.
They have not appreciated simply their own overcoming lack, difficulties, and obstacles by the mercy of God. They have not always clearly seen how far God has brought us all as a people and not just as a generation.
It is not enough to be a responsible church member to be able to bring home a paycheck to raise your own children even though there have been more than enough of us who chose not to for reasons right and wrong (when unjust pressures of society did not make things easier).
We have the solution in the form of the Gospel of Jesus Christ while all of us need to publish and spread the Gospel as we never have before.
A theoretical-only Christianity is not going to cut it either. Christianity that can be applied, tested, even questioned, and still proven eternal and true must be revealed and shared.
Even when one tries to test whether Jesus is really the Son of God, your decision must come as that He is simply because if He is not, then why does the need for argument or debate still exists? Time clearly has crowned Him Lord of Lords because all of us (even the agnostics and atheists) cannot stop talking about Him:)
Those of us who believe and live and walk upon our faith are simply more empowered and emboldened because we make ourselves more available to Him and His power. Our relationship with Him expands opportunities versus restricting them and this is what the nonbelievers fail to see.
The fruit does not fall far from the tree and I know that after last night, our work has really just begun.
Roll up your sleeves and let's start throwing some blows for the glory of God instead of being reactive.
Alonia (http://www.theessentialsonline.com/contactus.html), I salute your efforts and look forward to being there next week (next 2 Friday nights at 7 p.m at Greater Bethany Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA) and other services just to witness the transformation. I know that I am going to share the events worldwide as well as within our church in Austell, GA.
There are clearly more of us than there are of the enemy.
Posted by Roney Smith at 12:08 PM
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
This article only reinforces the law I call Every Seed Needs Water as it relates to the Super Bowl.
Grossman will play in a supernatural manner while reporters and observers will say that Manning especially played in an inexplainable and unpredictable manner.
One reminder that comes to mind is when Holyfield beat Tyson twice:)
The Florida and southern coastal connection is overweighted in the Bears' favor at this point. I believe that Stevie Wonder is saying "I can see that for myself".
I look forward to your e-mails within 24 hours of the game's conclusion:)
If you see any articles that profile the Colts, please forward them to me.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007 · Last updated 2:26 p.m. PT
Bears like playing underdog to Colts
By RICK GANO
AP SPORTS WRITER
|Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith listens to a question during a news conference one day after his team clinched a berth in Super Bowl XLI in Lake Forest, Ill., Monday, Jan. 22, 2007. The Bears face the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)|
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- It's hardly a surprise to the Chicago Bears that they are underdogs in the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts' high-powered offense.
Even though the Bears have won 15 of 18 games, including two at home in the playoffs, they're not considered as good as their record, in large part because the NFC North is considered a weak division in the weaker of the NFL's two conferences.
"We've won more games than anybody else in the league. That's enough right there," Coach Lovie Smith said. The Colts also have 15 victories, including the playoffs, and four losses.
"As far as us being underdogs, if you look at what all the Colts bring to the table I could see why they would make us underdogs, but we've been in that role before and our guys like the underdog role.
"I wouldn't bet against the Bears if I were a betting man."
The Colts and Bears last met in the 2004 season at Soldier Field and Manning riddled a Chicago defense missing injured linebacker Brian Urlacher for four TD passes in a 41-10 runaway victory. Chicago's quarterback that day was rookie Craig Krenzel, who had four turnovers.
Chicago cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher will be on the spot, trying to contain Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. And then there's tight end Dallas Clark giving the Colts a big threat over the middle.
The Bears did clamp down on the New Orleans Saints and their top-rated offense last week, coming up with four turnovers and yielding a pair of touchdowns, one an 88-yard pass to Reggie Bush.
One similarity between the Saints and Colts that won't mean much: they both play in a domed stadium. But the weather in Miami will be much better than the weather the Saints faced in Chicago.
"We've got to win it. You don't make it this far and not win it. Our goal all year has been to win the Super Bowl," linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer said.
The Bears defense got a lift Tuesday when a judge granted a request to allow defensive tackle Tank Johnson to leave the state of Illinois as he awaits trial on gun possession charges. So, there's a Tank going to the Super Bowl.
Chicago's defense sagged in the final stages of the regular season, missing defensive tackle Tommie Harris and safety Mike Brown, both lost with injuries. Now it will be tested as much as it has all season.
One player who will have a homecoming of sorts in Miami is defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, traded from the Dolphins to the Bears during the preseason in 2004. While with the Dolphins in 2003, he led the AFC with 15 sacks.
"For me it brings it full circle," Ogunleye said. "Going back to Miami is big because that's where I started in this league, and it's going to be a little surreal."
Rookie return specialist Devin Hester, who set an NFL record this season with six returns for touchdowns, also returns a familiar setting. He played three seasons at University of Miami, doing a little bit of everything for the Hurricanes - returning kicks, while also playing running back, receiver and defensive back.
There are also several University of Florida players on the Bears, still celebrating the Gators' national championship romp over Ohio State. Quarterback Rex Grossman, defensive tackle Ian Scott, defensive end Alex Brown and safety Todd Johnson all played at Florida.
"We're trying to keep that going with all the Gators playing well," Scott said.
Smith welcomes the two weeks separating the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. The Bears are expected to leave for Miami on Sunday after a shortened practice week.
"There is a lot of stuff to get ironed out. First off, taking care of all of your relatives and getting them down to Miami, that takes a couple days in itself right there," Smith said
"And then you can get down to football from there. It's a special time and I think just having the two weeks helps you enjoy it more."
This will be the biggest media mob the Bears have ever seen. But Smith, who was in a Super Bowl as the Rams' defensive coordinator, doesn't see any problem there, either.
"Well this is what we do. ... As far as dealing with the media, we're going to answer your questions the same way we always do," he said.
"I think as much as anything you just remain you, true to yourself with everything that you do, and that's what we're going to do."
Posted by Roney Smith at 8:55 PM
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Posted by Roney Smith at 6:29 PM
Monday, January 15, 2007
I just read a section of an article that unless proven false will keep an Apple iTV out of my household until Apple iTV 2.0 comes out at a minimum.
The O'Reilly Network article is entitled AppleTV? Not for me (yet) and it appears that there is a "lack of TV tuner and optical drive means that you still need an additional VCR, TiVo, DVD player, etc."
To me, this means that I could buy a much cheaper adapter that already exists to connect my Macbook to my current tv setup (which does not include HDTV in any way) and still view any video content from iTunes or my Macbook itself.
A hardcore electronics prosumer will probably not be able to stay away however since the Apple iTV may include some HDTV capabilities that mere mortals like myself can not yet appreciate or comprehend.
Posted by Roney Smith at 11:17 AM