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March 8, 2012

Day 16: God's Not Dead

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

Last night at Zion in Maywood, I officiated and preached at their Lenten Wednesday Vesper’s service. And yes, for those of you who are wondering, I did chant. I guess the voice is getting better.

But this morning, I woke up with a ‘tickle’ in my throat. I am not sick, but my voice box seems a little weak. Not that this will keep me from talking today, but as my throat continues to heal, I have to learn there are boundaries I cannot cross, just yet.

Otherwise, this morning is slightly busy here at Saint Matthew’s. I am going through regular “pastor work” in the church office right now (and yes, I include working on the church website and blogging part of that ‘regular’ work). As I work, I have The Message playing in the background. The Message is a contemporary Christian music channel on SiriusXM Radio. My dramatic transformation on how I view contemporary Christian music continues to surprise me. At one time, I despised all contemporary Christian music because I believed it drove the Christian heart away from trusting the work of God at the cross in favor of trusting ourselves to believe in this saving God of ours.

And then I listened to it.

My opinion has changed about the music. During the past several weeks as my listening daily listening habits have included this music, I have found myself much more drawn to the message —- that Christ died for me. The music directly points to the cross and to Christ’s sacrifice for the world. It causes me to genuinely reflect upon my faith and the strength I gain from God Himself through His Holy Spirit. And, in fact, listening to this music, I have started to read the bible more often during the day.

A little earlier they aired a channel advertisement — March is considered Bible Month; they played some of their listeners telling of their favorite bible verses. One of them struck me — Ephesians 5:1 (“Therefore, be imitators of Christ, as beloved children.” ) To me, I believe the reader needs to continue on to verse 2 to truly understand why we are to imitate Christ: “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Powerfully faith fulfilling.

And right after this little channel ad, they played a song by Newsboys called “God’s Not Dead.” The words of Ephesians 5:1-2 were expounded in the verses of this song, reminding me and all about the importance of being imitators of Christ, or as we are talking about here at Saint Matthew’s during Lent as we “Live for Christ.” Some words from the song:

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To see a revolution somehow

Let love explode and bring the dead to life
A love so bold
To see a revolution somehow
Now I’m lost in Your freedom
In this world I’ll overcome

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

And our Lord lives inside all of us by faith, by His indwelling Holy Spirit. And thus, our Lord Jesus Christ, by His sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension, He truly brings our dead sinful lives back to life again, Below, their music video.


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