Friday, April 1, 2011

#229-Where do we go from here?

This is a very serious post. I didn't really mean for it to be, but it just happened. This has been on my heart now for what feels like an eternity, and I finally manged to write some of what I felt down. This isn't all that I feel though, but this was as concise as I could be for the time being. Just bear with me as I go solemn.

Just an aside after my first aside: but, I am posting this at work. Hopefully I do not get fired.

Now as we all know, Pentecostals, because they cannot wear jewelry or other fun things like colored nail polish, tend to go overboard on ordinary things like clothes and shoes. It explains why men have cutesy little bowties made out of floral designs and women have mounds of ruffles on their shirts, jackets, skirts, and purses.

I don’t really understand the ruffle. In my opinion, it causes one to look like King Louis XVI or his wife, Marie Antoinette. This, in and of itself, is disturbing because that bunch of royalty were known for their ridiculous extravagances and tendencies to ignore the little people of France. “Let them eat cake!” Marie Antoinette famously cried. Meaning that she was completely ambivalent about the people of France who were currently starving and wearing rags. The people have no bread? Let them eat cake.

This reminds me of today. Today is all about the “saved” generations staying saved and in their finery. “Let them stay lost!” we cry. Because in all honesty, who wants to take time to dirty their hands and win a soul? Who wants to take time to reach out to the community around them? No one. That would require us to step out of our ruffles. It would require us to look beyond our insipid, fleetingly attractive appearances and delve into a matter that is greater than ourselves. Basically, it would require us to stop playing dress up.

See, this is where I have such a problem with Pentecostals. We sing about “giving ourselves away so He can use us” (just a side note, but the lyrics of that song beg to be misinterpreted) or “coming back to the heart of worship, where it’s all about Him”, but have we really done that? Have we stepped outside our Pentecostal boxes?

Youth Congress of 2009 was about “Going Beyond the Normal” or some such inspirational nonsense. But when I went, I saw nothing but repetitions of the same vanities. I saw nothing that actually went beyond any kind of normal, except for the odd explorations into large flowers, ugly bowties, and skinny jeans.

I don’t really have a point to make here, except that if we cannot learn to cast aside our “ruffles” and throw ourselves, heart and soul, into what really matters, then the Revival that God has promised us will never happen. And we will sit in our pretty churches with our pretty appearances and die on the inside.

I want to do more than just make it to heaven. I want to win a soul. I want to do something for the Kingdom of God – more than ever, I want to be so consumed with doing the the will of God that I get to the point where nothing else matters. I don’t want to be worried about the number of ruffles on my skirt or if my shoes match my purse. Those mindless trivialities are not for the children of God and they are most certainly not for the unsaved world that has no idea about the love and purpose of Christ.

This post started off about ruffles and how ridiculous they are. In reality, a ruffle is just a ruffle. In the larger sense, however, it stands as a symbol of a much bigger outward problem. My question to you today is this: what will you do? What will you do as you sit here and read what I have to say? Will you go to another youth service? Will you seclude yourself into the four walls of your church and NEVER, EVER allow yourself to reach a lost world? Or will you move? Will you shake off the stupidity that we have cloaked ourselves with, forget about our failing attempts to keep up with the world, and then go after what really matters? Like maybe someone who needs God? Someone who needs a helping hand, a caring heart?

This is the generation that will carry us into the future. We have everything before us. The tools to reach out are literally within our grasp. So, I ask you. Where do you go from here?


  1. Where do we go from here? I have an outreach director who I've never seen bring a guest - how do we change that? Not just that, how do I change ME? Apart from spending tomorrow wandering around gas stations asking people to church (we've all been approached by that guy, right?) How do I have a guest sitting with me on Sunday? This Sunday. I've taken 40 days off of Facebook, so a mass invite isn't an option. I know it's God doing it through me...yet the ball is in my court - I'm not sure I know how to score.

  2. "It explains why men have cutesy little bowties made out of floral designs and women have mounds of ruffles on their shirts, jackets, skirts, and purses."...Very well said, I'm curious what we will see this year.

  3. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing your burden. I tell the church, "Read your Bible every day, pray every day, fast once a week" so that they will learn to hear the voice of God, so that He will lead them to the doors of ministry that He has opened.

    One trifle, and I'm sorry to point it out. You wrote, "..then the Revival that God has promised us will never happen." Please be assured that God will have His revival. If we're distracted by the stuff you so insightfully have pointed out, it simply will happen through someone else. I don't expect we'd very gracious about it, though. We'll probably act like Cinderella's step-sisters.

  4. Awesome post Marissa. This is exactly what I was falling into when I converted at the age of 20. It was all about the look and never about the relationships with lost souls. It didn't matter what was going on in my personal life or what I was doing outside of church as long as I kept a shaved face and wore my tie every service. Thank God I now belong to an awesome church that has done away with the "plastic world" and has brought me back to establishing real relationships with those that are lost so that someday they can possibly come to Christ. I'm so glad I've traded in my trendy shoes for a pair of chuck taylors.

  5. Amen to that jr! The same thing happened to me....

  6. Visiting a third world country a few years ago really made me think about these things. Kinda hard to buy 'the extras' when you see how the rest of the world lives. Note-- M.Antoinette did not say those words, it's one of those legends that has been repeated so much that we take it as fact. Poor lady has been misquoted numerous times. Fyi

  7. Not that it's "right", but where I'm going from here includes:
    1. rethinking the goal of filling the seat next to me next Sunday. Isn't our goal and commission to love people, be evidence of His gospel and faithfulness and in general influence people towards Jesus?
    2. to that end, build relationships with people and truly work to understand them. Get to know them and be a blessing to them where they are - no strings. How can I pour blessings into your life - period.
    3. Likewise, allow people to get to know me; I mean really get to know me, imperfections and all. Allow people to know and witness my testimony, worship and thankfulness towards God. But, likewise, allow them (they are my friends after all) to know my aspirations and how I fall short, but want to go further because He deserves it. Do they want to go with me?

    When I do these things, I do influence my world. Trying to change people that we don't take the time to understand or allow them to see us in our human frailty is disrespectful and shallow. Should they have to be so desperate to bare all the risk? No, we, who are under Grace should show our faith and bare the risk and vulnerability.

    I could sarcastically contrast this with what I (we) learned that are anything but effective, but why bother. If we can come to terms with how little control we he have and realize we cannot SELL Jesus Christ - it's not our deal to close. We can only submit, be present and authentic. We can MARKET Jesus Christ to our world (Marketing defined as creating a customer) by reflecting his good news, being living epistles that testify to the very real and very benevolent treasure we have. The natural question will be - where did you get that? Do you like it? Where do I...

  8. Brandon, I like your whole post. The three points are GREAT points, one that I will attempt to incoporate and I like the idea of marketing Jesus and not worrying about "closing the deal." because I think often I skip ahead to thinking the deal could never be closed instead of realizing that isn't my job. Thanks!

  9. Well said, Brandon. I might have to book you for a service, lol.

  10. Marissa this was awesome! I didn't even realize it was you until I got to the end. I am reposting this as soon as I get to a computer. Bravo.

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  12. Amusing thing though, Pentecostals are great at saying "Amen" to any message or blog or article about the smelly corruption amid their congregations as if every single one of them already know this. The response this receives will be an assortment of people who are eager to glance at the criticism but never believe that it applies to them. And if there are some who appreciate that it pertains to them, there will be little or no change. Let’s face it; the ones who are sincere about their cause and change themselves when they hear a message that deeply disturbs them don’t need to read this article. The ones who desperately need to hear these words will be shouting “Amen” and continue on in their outlandishly useless lives. We all know the routine. We can all spot the sincere from the gilded a mile away.
    Ruffles, comical bow-ties, skinny jeans, and foolish skirts and dresses (to name a few) are all a part of the Pentecostal culture. And while it makes them “cool” “hip” or “fashionable” in their world, the rest of us laugh in awe of their ignorance. Then, of course, the scriptures about anyone who persecutes a Christian, blah, blah, blah, will reassure these morons and tuck them in safely at night. What they don’t realize is these scriptures were not meant to soothe spoiled, fashion-obsessed, egotistical monsters, but to comfort those early Christians giving their entire possessions, time and money to a religious effort that others condemned. I’m glad you posted this. And I’m not surprised at all that it will have little or no influence on the Pentecostal people. Sorry to hijack the post with my bitter outburst, but, eh, it's truth. Truth, something we claim to dearly own.

  13. Im embarrassed to be Pentecostal, I rarely invite anyone to church anymore, because of the parade atmosphere. I just love and serve people right where they are, I try to be the church on 2 legs since the church so full of carnality.

  14. Let's talk about hypocracy.....because that is what it is all about. No TVs allow, but the Internet is?? Cell phones?? And the passions for 'possessions?" Where does this all fit into the Pentacostal ways of living? The women use ruffles to make up for their other ways of 'modesty' and they end up looking so 'homely and matronly' that their husbands stray.....because we are sensual/sexual beings.

  15. wow i guess im not the only one observing this. We can't wear makeup, jewelry and all the other "because the pastor" oops i mean the bible says we can't but wear sequins, 8 tiered ruffled dresses, sparkly jeweled out headbands and expensive yall see the double standard? This is wearing me out. I don't wana leave the UPCI because I believe in the doctrine of Oneness and salvation...however, I feel trapped by obeying the pastors rules of not wearing this or that cuz im in leadership versus wearing modest makeup and earring here and there without gettn sat down or the evil eye...uggggh!