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Excellence of God’s People: Doing Our Best

I stumbled upon the below text in my studies. It orginates from a book called  “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” and thought..AMEN! See if you agree 😉

“In this spirit (of excellence), therefore, let us pursue excellence. As we have seen, far from being optional, excellence is in fact a divine mandate that applies to every aspect of our lives, for God himself is characterized by excellence. Mediocrity, sloppy workmanship, and a half-hearted effort do not bring glory to God or advance his kingdom”.

Powerful statement!

How many of us wake up with a focus to be excellent for God? The daily grind of employment, home-schooling, ministry commitments, and activities keeps us in a routine of tasks. Do we ever take a moment of pause and ask, “Am I doing my best?” More importantly, “Is my best a reflection of God’s glory here on the earth?” In the midst of the struggle to balance all of our activities, we often become distracted regarding our fellowship with the Spirit of God, especially throughout the day. He is our Beloved One, it is only fitting that He receives worship by way of mindful work in the Spirit of Excellence?

Included in Believer’s love for the Father through Christ our Lord, there should be a desire to do our best for Him; not from a works-based motive, but from a sincere organic closeness to engage with Him as the leader and active participant; and as the writer stated, of every aspect of our lives. If Emmanuel was with you every day, how would you operate? Would mediocrity be your norm?

The focus of Excellence in terms of it’s effect on the Church along with her individual members can be a bit blurry. Societial norms coupled with pride of life has had its effect on our efforts operate in excellence. The result is either an exaltation of excellence or a complete dismissal of the idea of Excellence in the life of the Believer. It can be viewed as legalistic, however, if we look closer to this idea we can soundly argue that excellence does not equate legalism.

For it is written:

Psalm 16:3 – As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Proverbs 12:4 – An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Daniel 6:3 – Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Secular vs. Sacred

Both secular and sacred(church) culture has provided contributions to the perversion of Excellence. I’m speaking specifically to the perception of our effectiveness in secular society, the tools we may use as expressions of worship, and our ability to execute in Faith.

Traditionally, secular society has tagged persons with exceptional abilities or talents as persons are “gifted”.  The same goes for American church culture. It’s often said that a person is “gifted” in things like accounting, or singing; we’ve even said that preachers are gifted. The perversion also includes exalting spiritual gifts above the Gospel. If we are truthful, God himself has not defined or delegated many of these skills as “gifts”. The result: A culture that exalts or worships exceptional skills, talents and abilities; or, we worship the person(s) with the skill. The perversion of Excellence happens when God the Creator and Soverign Lord is no longer the object of our affections.

On the flip side, you may have a church culture that unconciously surpresses the idea of Excellence, resulting in mediocrity. If Excellence is percieved as legalism the result will be sloppy workmanship and half-hearted efforts which can be as equally sinful. Mediocrity can’t be an option for God’s people….because He is Excellent!

Therefore, service unto the Lord and His people is done with joy and, with excellence. Whether working in secular society or ministry, inside the home or the Arts, the idea of serving the Lord and His people with excellence should be in consideration in all that we do. It’s a part of stewardship and it is worship!

 For it is written:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Lastly, the idea of Excellence in the preaching of God’s word is not left out of this equation. The same issues of idolatry and lukewarmness is evident when Elohim is not the object of worship. Preaching is worship. Excellence in preaching is achived when the Holy Spirit is in charge and there is a resolve to trust God’s Word. Faith in God and full confience in His word (logos) by the Power of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of humility. Preparation is a key component because we know that the those that preach (teach) the Word will be judged with more strictness (James 3:1). I’d like to think that most preachers and teachers of the Word rely on God’s grace, the Word and the Holy Sprit, however, I still have an expectation that ministers of the Word are dilligent to ensure proper preparation that includes sound doctrine.

The Believer’s decision to be Excellent isn’t based on how we do things; but who we do it for.  More importantly, Excellence is a vehicle by which we reflect his glory during our exile here on earth.

Selah

click Propaganda’s Excellent

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The Beauty of Hymns: Jesus, I my Cross I’ve Taken (Music written by Bill Moore, Lyrics Henry Lyte)

1. Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

3. Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.

4. Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

5. Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

6. Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

© 2001 Bill Moore Music.

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Music Review: Mali Is….(Mali Music)……A DIVIDED LOVE…MUSIC VS. GOD

MaliMusic_MaliIs

 (By the way…He is now a secular artist)

First the good news:

“Mali Is” is Mali’s Music’s long awaited second completed project ( The 2econd Coming was his first project released in 2009). This project was well worth the wait for those of us that like his music; and a great introduction to those that may have never heard of him. Mali’s very unique sound and positive lyrics will continue to grow his audience and expose this generation to quality music artistry and composition. What I have always loved about Mali’s work is that he’s very thoughtful about what he wants to communicate. It resembles a secret agent that speaks in code, yet everyone has the capability to understand if they are truly listening. I would only ask my brother to consider adding more instrumentation (horns, strings, banjos, woodwinds etc.) and start moving away from the “cookie cutter” beats and samples. Learning the art with God’s intent will yield a higher return. This rule is not Kingdom specific.  This will also challenge you to grow as an artist, build relationships, and appreciate the skill of musicianship.

For the lyric heads, he doesn’t disappoint. Tracks “Ready Aim” and “Heavy Love” grab the listener’s ear. Excellent lyricism and bangin’ mixes automatically prompts one to crank up these tracks at a level that will definitely annoy the person in the next car or in the upstairs apartment..lol. In the piece titled “Make it”, I wasn’t sure if he was trying to compel his audience to think about eternal salvation or not; but I liked the construction of the song. It’s “catchy” refrain is universal. We may hear it in a commercial someday. This project definitely had more positives than negatives. I was disappointed to hear a “familiar spirit” (Nina Simone) in the piece “Little Lady”. What may not be understood (or may be indeed) is that her voice overshadowed the message; which in turn detracted from the intent to save or raise awareness, hence the earlier exhortation to move away from sampling. Mali’s more popular single “Beautiful” will be a commercial success and will “minister” to many. “Beautiful” is well written, well mixed and well produced. Overall, the project is worth supporting from an industry perspective. Unsaved associates and friends will love the project, but they will not be compelled to turn away from sin. They will feel positive and uplifted. If this was the intent…he will have succeeded.

………………….FROM A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW (with as much love I can muster)…………………………………..

I AM SICK AND TIRED OF so-called “Christian” musicians, artists, actors, or whatever skills (not gifts) you have; using the Lord’s status and His people as a platform to launch their careers.

The pattern is always the same. Early projects have scripture in the music and God is glorified. Once “someone important” notices them, they loose their flippin’ mind!

One of the hallmarks of compromise is that the so-called Christian artist will gradually remove the words “Christ”, the name of Jesus, and scripture from their music. With every completed project…you’ll hear it less. Therein lies the conflict and a divided love is evident. Many musicians within the body of Christ have his battle as well as homosexuality. Most will not openly admit and those in the church continue to ignore it. When the “church” fails to address these issues individually, as well as the sin issue, the skill becomes the idol. You may notice that I address this as a skill not a gift because the bible does not specify that any artistic ability is a gift. The only two gifts mentioned in the Bible are Salvation through Christ and the Holy Spirit. From those two gifts the Lord allows us to steward our skills for His glory.

So the conflict continues. If the “artist” desires to be mature, than he will come to understand that Jesus calls us to bear fruit…(John 15) You cannot bear fruit while trying  to “influence” a culture that is set in their heart to do evil. Moreover, when the skill and/or the music becomes your god, You’ll loose (For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”(Mark 8:36-38 ESV)..  The question I have for these artists…..Is the contract worth the risk?

Please examine your motives and be mindful of the enemy from within. For it is written:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin (which is rebellion), and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

My prayer for these artists:

Heavenly Father, you who are great, and unmatched in beauty, majesty, and wisdom. I ask that you forgive us of our thoughtless actions that take you and your gift of salvation for granted. Please reveal the sin of pride in our hearts so we may turn back and worship you…and only you. Lord, I would ask that you continue to protect those you have called that may have walked away from the our Shepherd, in heart and in action. Lastly, I pray that your Holy Spirit reveals motives, tricks, and loopholes in contracts that your children are asked to sign. Please share your wisdom with them and thwart any plan of destruction to them. In Jesus name…Amen