Friday, February 24, 2012

When America Went to Church

Dreams come to an end. The lights go off. Sometimes truth comes out, and you realize the glitter wasn’t as bright as it may have looked. But one thing shines through – always. One light never dims or dies. One “legendary name” will never leave you or forsake you.

More and more God is using the stories of our culture and current events to bring this hope to a larger audience of people. Earlier this season, we watched an NFL quarterback revive the game of football for fans and non-fans alike – by getting God and His Word into national headlines. Everyone was talking about Tim Tebow… Jesus… the Bible… and John 3:16.

94 million people Googled that verse after the famed Broncos game against the Steelers on [date] when “316”appeared multiple times during the games stat – which was only noticed because Tebow had been known for wearing that reference in his eyeblack in college, and because of the phenomenon of his faith keeping God in the spotlight, against pop-culture odds. It went so far that “Tebowing” (the “prayer” stance) became a verb and launched a global trend.

Tebowing then gave way to “Linsanity” as another pro athlete’s faith started getting equal airtime. Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks as so captured the attention of NBA fans and beyond that Ben and Jerry made “Linsanity” an ice cream flavor!

Tebow & Lin’s stories turned the spotlight on God in exciting ways. The stories that surfaced after Whitney Houston’s passing were sad, tragic and heartbreaking to the same “phenomenal” degrees. But they resulted in God-in-the-headlines almost as much.

The day before Whitney Houston’s death, while singing at a pre-Grammy party, she spontaneously broke into an impromptu version of “Yes Jesus Loves Me.” On her final day, she kept quoting the story of Jesus’ baptism to friends. Reporting on this, countless news agencies printed these Scriptures in their entirety. The New York Daily News, Huffington Post, TMZ and other notably unlikely sources published Matthew 3:13-17 in full to their massive readership.

The day of her funeral, one headline read, “The Nation Goes to Church,” and ran a photograph of the Houston “Homegoing Celebration” being broadcast live, right into the heart of New York’s Times Square. Words like “We are here today, hearts broken but yet with God’s strength” captured people’s hurts over more than just a pop-star’s passing.

I tweeted the day Don Cornelius (Soul Train founder) took his life after a lifetime of never seeming happy and finally fighting degenerative illness, “Try Jesus…Please.” I can’t say that enough again today. Suicide is a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Drug and alcohol addiction is equally no laughing matter and severe in permanent effects.

Kevin Costner said Whitney thought she was “never enough” – pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough. Few of us attain legendary superstar status – but we all listen to those same lies about ourselves. The Bible says Satan will lie and “accuse” us about ourselves (Rev. 12:10). Costner went on to say that Whitney wasn’t just “enough”…she was “great.” That’s the same thing God tries to tell us – that because of His love, He sees us as…great. That’s the kind of headline I like reading.

We don’t know what the headline will read tomorrow or what our final life headlines will read. We know only one thing for sure. That God gave His only Son…that whoever believes…shall not perish. As Tyler Perry said during Ms. Houston’s funeral, at the end, loving the Lord is the best thing that weyou can do with our lives.

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