Category Archives: Church

A new sound

It is a joy this morning to worship in a new environment and listen to a sound mix produced by a professional. I will link him later. Needless to say jeremy does an awesome job and really helps worship really hit that next level. So far I am really enjoying my visit to Sunridge Community Church where my mentor Rich Kirkpatrick is the Worship Arts Pastor.

What do you have to offer?

So I spend my mornings drinking coffee, trying to translate ancient Hebrew, and finding new apps for my iPod touch. And I find myself wondering today what I will do with what I study. I know that I need to use what God has given me to further His kingdom. And as I review what God has given me I realize how little my gifts are grouped together. I mean by this that the things I am good at are rather spread out. I am good with technology, I am an extrovert, I am an academic, I am a musician (but not a vocalist LOL), and I love teaching. So what do I do with these? I don’t question I will use these things I just wonder how.

As a praise God has given me a job in the technology world, utilizing my extrovert nature and my love of teaching. But what to do with my other gifts?

Please be praying that karina and I can find a church home soon where we can use our gifts to further their youth ministry.

Thanks for reading

God as a Product

Sometimes I feel like when I am trying to explain who God is, I am the stereotypical East-Indian customer service representative trying to speak what I think is perfect English to someone who is hearing it with extreme difficulty and irritation.

Its like I have a Christian accent… and it is thick.

So everything I say, though well-intentioned, comes out muddy and garbled, and all I get in response is “What…? Can you say that again?” And that is what I do, I say it word for word again, and it just starts a vicious circle till someone throws their hands in the air in frustration.

And the problem is, I don’t look at the problem from the angle of the consumer. The one who is checking out the issue. I don’t think about the fact that the problem isn’t what I am saying, but that I am not thinking to articulate it in a way that the consumer understands it. I am just trying to put the right words out that I have been told to say and that by all accounts should work.

But it does not work. They do not understand a word that I am saying.

They don’t get the product I am trying to sell them, or to help them understand the problems they are dealing with it.

I mean if you think about this seriously. We live in a consumer era, and people are getting very frugal, very picky about what they buy. Things are expensive. And God is a product that we not only have to sometimes make a cold sell on, but also demonstrate he is worthwhile for those who are skeptical. So when we attempt to show them how great this product is, in this case God, we don’t think to come at it from their perspective. Yet somehow with everything else as Christians we love, we can portray it with crystal-like clarity.

I am as guilty of this as anyone. I can dictate the dessert list from the restaurant I work with in such a way that those who were not interested in a chocolate souffle are suddenly craving it. The sad thing is, I don’t like desserts, much less chocolate. Yet I can be more informative of these desserts than I can be about God who I am very passionate about.

NOTE: I know I am passionate about my God and His message of salvation.

Now what I am going to say sounds crazy, but I have a theory. I have to sell God like I sell a dessert to someone who already feels like they have everything they need. I actually have no idea if this will work or not, but I am going to try anyways. I have a good feeling though.

I am going to actually get to know the person I am trying to share God with. Then I am going to think about them and pray for them and their needs. Then I am going to think about how I should show them God in such a way that they might see as pragmatic or atleast allowable. Then I will encourage them, then I will hopefully make the sale.

Because that is what I do with desserts. I talk to the people and find out how their feeling. Then I pick a dessert I think they will like based on how hungry they are feeling and what they might pair with their meal so that is something agreeable to their stomach. Then I ask if I can share a method to enjoy something that they might not have earlier considered (maybe they just want peaches and yogurt because the souffle seems too rich) and then I go for it.

And they say no alot. And they say yes alot. It’s hit and miss, but they are not confused about what I am offering them. They are informed and have made an informed decision.

So what you should get out of this Christians… Is that these people may not be understanding your well-intentioned message. So stop, look around, and listen. yes listen to your friend/colleague/family/complete stranger. Find out what they are looking for and make a clear connection to what you have to offer. And when they are understanding offer to help them have the ultimate dessert.

And a word from your sponsor…

okay not really, but how about a quote from the author of this blog.

“Whenever a church legislates rules/morality bylaws that are not clearly biblically-supported, they reinforce the spiritual celebrity paradigm.” — Zach Tanksley (me)

Your thoughts?

Quote of the Day

“I say the future needs artists who are called to the church who love the church and who are in churches who know how to love and lead them.” — Rich Kirkpatrick

I heard this today, and it speaks to everything that I am. I love it because I am an artist. I adhere to it because I do love the church. And I pursue it as I pursue vocational ministry, because I want to lead the church in love.

Onward Christian Soldier pt. 0.1

So this is the introduction to what I have been working on. Will post the actual first portion of the subject matter itself tomorrow. Enjoy

I am not the most eloquent speaker, I struggled through my classes, I spent more time pondering the mysteries of God then being able to actually answer or even properly attempt to address them in my classes. I have no masters, or even a doctorate. I am just one guy trying to share my thoughts with others. But ultimately I am also one thing, a Soldier of the Most High God. And in this I move forward in faith knowing that hopefully one day, this book will affect one more person, to stand tall as a Soldier of the Most High God.

God is powerful despite your immaturity, your incompetence, and in your faithfulness… aka… all the time.

Too often a Christian hears they should be meek, humble, timid, passive. They do not hear “You are strong!” or “You should be Proud” or even “You are POWERFUL!” So Christians duck their heads low, trying to move through life avoiding and chance of potentially offending someone Christian or no. The truth is, Christians, we are powerful. We have the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God at our backs, and as scripture says, “If God is at our backs who can stand before us?”

Paraphrased: “We got God, who the heck you got?”

This thought, idea, concept, has been established time and time again. The Old Testament proves it in a variety of ways both direct and indirect. God has shown his divine power when his prophet was unsure of himself, and even when his appointed elders were too sure of themselves. But best of all is when God has acted upon the faithfulness of his prophet.

So as you read please know ultimate truth I am trying to portray.

God does not fail…ever.

Penny for my Thoughts on Peter

I have been thinking of the Reactions of Christians to anything that defies Christ, Christianity, etc…

And usually these reactions that make it to my ears and eyes are through the media, or a blog, which is usually spawned from something from the Media. In this case I am thinking more specifically of the realm of Fantasy Novels and their friction with the Christian mainstream.

When Harry Potter came out, I think many can remember the outrage, picketing, etc… of the Christian community towards this very “satanical literature” which would lead children to flying around on broom sticks and playing aerieal rugby. There was not a lot of kindness to be shared.

Likewise now with Philip Pullman’s books His Dark Materials trilogy, and the movie “The Golden Compass.” The movement is beginning.

When I hear these things I think of the Garden where Judas brought about the capture of Jesus. When the soldiers came forward to take Jesus, Simon Peter cut off a man’s ear with his sword. Jesus promptly reattached the ear and pointed out that this was his duty to handle.

Likewise when someone asks if we are Christians, often time the mainstream answer is to play it off, or sometimes even deny, or makeup another name for what we are. Similar to Peter when he denied Christ three times.

All this to say, I think Peter was the best choice to be the rock of the church, because I think he represents both the positives and the negatives of humanity trying to follow Christ. From the zealousy of defending the faith, to being timid when unsure of how to be a Christian to a stranger.

So take faith Christians, remember in the end it is Christ’s fight, and do not worry if you screw up with being faithful to him, he is faithful and just to forgive.

Thanks again for listening,

Zach