Friday, April 20, 2012

Urban Praze - the Hip Hop Church in north London

"From Sunday, Parishioners of Mill Hill East Church, in Salcombe Gardens, will be able to attend the 9.30pm hip hop-themed service Urban Praze, during which Christian rappers and other artists will perform contemporary worship music."  So said "The Press", a north London newspaper earlier this week.  Not quite how I would have put it but certainly accurate in its essentials.

As far back as 2006 the "Christian Today" news site was reporting that, according to Roney Henderson, founder of UK’s first-ever Gospel and Church Awards, ‘Oasis Awards’, "the overall Christian music scene in the UK looks ‘very urban’ at the moment".  For "urban" we can read "hip hop", the two being often used synonymously.

Hip hop is the music of the streets and the heart music of many people, by which I mean its how they express themselves.  This being the case it is appropriate, I would go as far as to say necessary, for hip hop music to be used more widely in church worship.

My prayer is that Urban Praze will provide a place for people to worship from the heart and be a catalyst for more hip hop worship of God in churches across north London.  However, Urban Praze is not just rapping, it includes preaching from the Bible and prayer. The music is wider than just rap, it includes Hillsong and Soul Survivor style contemporary worship too.  Sounds exciting?  Tell me about it, I can't wait!

When is it? 9.30pm this Sunday and every Sunday.  For the map on the church facebook page click here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jesus, a reflection...



You can't just try to be more like the Lord Jesus Christ. If you try to simply imitate the him, you will become a cheap imitation like a poor photocopy or worse a bander copy (remember those?). Or a better comparison is that trying to be like Jesus will make you like one of those plastic Jesus models (see above) - looks like him but does not have anything much going on inside. That's not how to be like Jesus, to be like Jesus you need to have his Spirit inside you. And this is how that's done: mirroring. Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person copies another person accurately and unconsciously usually while in social interaction with them. It may include all aspects of their behaviour. Mirroring is like looking at another person as if they are a mirror, so you end up reflecting them. Look at Jesus and reflect him - to do this effectively the image must be clear, no clouding on the mirror surface! Unforgiveness, either you not forgiving someone else or you not repenting of some sin can have this clouding effect. For this, you need Jesus to forgive you and set you free from sin. You can't do it in your own strength. Then you need to face in the right direction to see in the mirror clearly - this means that to be like Jesus you need to determine to go the way he wants. This entails reading the Bible regularly and praying. If you take on these three habits you will mirror Jesus and become like him: 1. Forgive others unilaterally 2. repent of your all your sins big and small to God and ask for forgiveness 3. read the Bible and pray each and every day. But what is the advantage of being like Jesus?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Christian escapology

Harry Houdini was a magician who specialised in spectacular escapes.  No locks or handcuffs could hold him. They did all kinds of things to try and incarcerate him.  They could seal him in coffins.  He would escape.  They riveted him into a boiler.  He escaped.  They sewed him up in canvas bags.  He escaped.  They locked him in a milk can.  He escaped.  They  sealed him in a beer barrel.  He escaped.  They put him in a maximum  security prison and he got out.

However in October 1926 Harry Houdini died and he was buried in a grave. While he was still alive he had told his wife, ‘If there is any way out, I’ll find it. If there is any way out, I’ll make contact with you on the anniversary of my death.’ For ten years she kept a light burning over his portrait.  At the end of ten years, she turned out the light.  Death had Harry, and he couldn’t escape.  Thank goodness that in the end any believer in Jesus can do better.  

United Traits of America (satirical video poem)

America was ready to explode even before George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police. The twin tragedies of 40 million people — one-q...