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To find the interview and other media from Parkside Church visit their Media Center site.

This week, we switch gears just a little bit. It’s been quite a few weeks since we looked at any interviews with Alice. Songs and lyrics can be used to paint parallels to scripture, but transformation is most clearly seen in Alice Cooper, the man, not his music. The self-proclaimed ‘poster boy for what you shouldn’t be’, who has fully embraced and embodied the parable of the Prodigal Son. His mission and walk is defined by that transformation (Galatians 2:20).

Transformation is the key. As we walk further and further with our Lord, we begin to see His Will guiding and directing our path. A road we would dare not tread is one that becomes the obvious route (Matthew 7:14). The road with less malice. Less strife. Less ego. Less self. (Matthew 5:1-12) In fact, that road becomes more enjoyable than anything we could or would ever imagine. It becomes one worth sharing. One worth walking with others. Something we espouse to be. As Sheryl puts it, “an outward expression of an inward transformation”. It’s a surreal experience that seems unattainable, but it most surely is. It only requires that we ‘show up’.

In the video, Parkside Church’s Pastor, Alistair Begg, introduces Alice and Sheryl Cooper as ‘missionaries of the arts’. How profound is that? The arts, in and of themselves, are parables. They tell stories. Whether It’s through painting, sculpting, dancing, acting, playing an instrument, singing, etc., they are outward expressions of inward thoughts and feelings. It’s in those expressions that we begin to understand one another and if we look close enough, our Lord as well. In fact, it’s in the arts that we often find our connection to Him. An intimate connection. For we are His creation. His work of art (Ephesians 2:10).

However, the arts don’t only connect us with our Lord, but they connect us to one another and society as well. Alice and Sheryl understand that and have reached out to their own community through the arts. Targeting the teens in Phoenix, they have established their own ministry – an outreach organization designed to take ‘extra time off their hands’. A place where those teens can find meaning and purpose in the arts, in their communities, in Christ. As Alice puts it, “Jesus Christ is not much more than a swear word” to some of their attendees. But when they see a group of people ‘showing up’ in His name to help, teach, and mentor them, that’s when things start to get interesting. In fact, Sheryl addresses this point. She states that many of those same teens want to know ‘what’s the catch?’ She admits, “the catch is for you to show up”. And that’s true, the teens have to show up, but that’s what He asks of us as well. Just show up! Be willing to allow Him to use you, change you, transform you (Matthew 5:16).

I know what some of you are thinking… What if you aren’t ‘artistic’? But notice something. Pastor Begg calls Alice and Sheryl ‘missionaries’ of the arts. Have you ever heard that before? Have to admit, I haven’t. But it’s so true. We are all ‘missionaries’. We’ve all been called and placed somewhere. Maybe it’s pouring coffee at the local café. Maybe it’s working in the medical field. Maybe it’s in a garage fixing vehicles. Maybe it’s developing software. Maybe it’s cleaning toilets at the church. Whatever it is… it’s something he placed you here to do. The mission field is full of job descriptions in need of fulfillment. If you have accepted Christ, you’ve been called on a mission (Mark 16:15, 1 Chronicles 16:24, Psalm 96:3, Acts 13:47, Matthew 28:19-20). Work on finding ways to spread His Word. Not only the spoken Word, but His Word in action (James 2:18). Where has the Lord placed you? What’s your mission? Are you using the talents and tools He’s given you?

In conclusion, almost all of us are linked to the arts in some form or fashion. Whether we participate and/or just enjoy them, they are still a part of the fabric of humanity. They connect us in ways that most things cannot. In fact, our home church walks through a series of messages each summer about the proverbial stories we find in movies. During this series entitled ‘Faith Flix’, our pastors draw examples and parallels between those movies and the scripture. It’s amazing how many of the stories we tell parallel the Word. It only takes us fine tuning our minds and allowing us to see things through the eyes of Jesus and His Spirit to understand and see that. It’s pretty evident that a good portion of the world is looking for a savior. We see stories of redemption, forgiveness, heroism, love, and many other scenarios played out on the big screen, and most of those stories are nothing new. They’ve already been carried out by our God through and by His Word. This blog is an example of that. The story of Alice Cooper parallels the lives of many. Maybe you are one of those people. However, have you also come to the realization that you truly need an intervention? Not just any intervention, but a spiritual one. A self-sacrificial one that places you at the feet of Jesus. Humbling yourself before Him and allowing Him to lift you back up to your feet. Then taking His hand. Allowing Him to lead, guide, and navigate you through the biggest adventure of your lifetime. Are you ready? It’s time for you to ‘show up’. Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be The Glory!

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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Nothing's Free - YouTube

“Nothing’s Free” Lyrics:

You, Me
Understand
Shake my hand
Last chance, little man
Ain’t it grand
It’s a bargain, it’s a steal
30 pieces of silver
And a deal’s a deal

Sign upon the dotted line
I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine
Nothing’s free
Eventually
Nothing’s free

From the rules and laws of morality
Free to take your fill
Free from your own free will
Nothing’s free

My boy, it’s getting late
I’ll raise the stakes
So close
Control your fate, why hesitate
Seal the deal, close the sale
Take my hammer, drive the nail

Sign upon the bloody line
A drop of yours, a drop of mine
Nothing’s free
Eternally
Nothing’s free

From your conscience and
Free from the consequence
Free to sin to death
Free till your final breath

Nothing’s free
Free from the claws and flaws of your family
Free from obedient life
You’re cut like a double-edged knife
Nothing’s free, nothing’s free
Oh, you pay me

Free to ignore the bore of authority
Free to spit in the face
Be the winningest rat in the race till Judgement Day
Then nothing’s free
Bow to me if you want to be free
Free from life, come die with me
And when we’re dead it’s for eternity

Come on little one and dance in the fire
The end’s getting close
and the flame’s getting higher
When the music’s over there’s a hush in the choir
Nothing’s free

When the trumpets sounds
and His light is all around
And the saints all raise from the graves
in the ground
We’ll be going way downtown

Way downtown
But we’re free, so free
Trust me (I wanna be free, yeah I wanna be free)
It’s dark, and it’s cold
You’re alone, but you’re free
Isn’t that what you wanted?

This week we again re-visit ‘The Last Temptation‘. An LP which is full of insight and direction of Biblical proportion. Alice admits, “It’s a very strong concept album, a real morality play.” The album does a great job bridging the gap between generations of Alice fans as well. It’s a well-received record and a fan favorite. On that album there are songs about choice, virtue, vice, and redemption. The gravitas of such matters can be felt both in the music and the lyrics. ‘The Last Temptation’ forces the listener to pay attention. Attention to the story – as it unfolds. Attention to the interactions between the Showman, Steven, and Mercy. Attention to the parallels between the album content and the choices which may reside in their own lives. Choices laced with virtue, vice, and redemption. Almost as if the role of Steven could have just as easily been played by the listener. It hits you where you live.

Last week we looked at the song “Freedom”. We discussed where true freedom is found and who freely offers it. This week we look at the opposite. We look at the song “Nothings’ Free”. A song about oppression and captivity. A song about the promise of freedom wrapped in a lie. Instead of freedom through Christ, we find the ensnarement of sin and death. We find the enemy promising things he cannot deliver. He pleads and persuades. Weaving a web of lies. Declaring, “sign upon the dotted line, I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine”, you’ll be free “from the rules and laws of morality”, “free from your conscience and consequence”, “free from obedient life”, and so on. The song spells out what the enemy falsely offers. However, Alice sneaks in a few lines of truth as well. You’re free to live however you want ’til your final breath’. Then as the song dies down, we find the enemy gloating as those ‘freedoms’ are stripped away. His loud declarations are now low whispers as he softly declares, “it’s dark, and it’s cold. You’re alone, but you’re free. Isn’t that what you wanted?” The enemy’s sinister plot is revealed, but only at the end.

It’s no accident, the enemy is in open rebellion from our Lord (Ephesians 6:12), slanderous towards Him (Revelation 13:6), and desires to be equal to Him (Isaiah 14:12-14). We were at peace with our Creator willing to walk in obedience and love. Life was good. But it only took a hint of uncertainty to change the course. Sin wasn’t present until we were introduced to it. Not until we ‘took advice from that deceiving snake’.  But notice, the serpent’s initial deception was not a bold face lie, but instead, it was accomplished by planting seeds of doubt. Just enough trickery to alter reality the slightest bit was all it took. All it took for humanity to be enticed to believe something different than what God said and meant. In Genesis 3:1-5, we find the interactions between the serpent, Eve, and Adam. Eve tells the serpent that both her and Adam are not to eat, or even touch, the fruit from the tree (of Knowledge) in the middle of the garden. But the serpent pushes back, “You will not certainly die” is his reply. That hint of doubt was enough. For that moment, she had been convinced that maybe God doesn’t have her best interest in mind. It was enough to introduce sin to humanity. Thus, separating us from Him – leaving us naked and afraid (by our own doing). The enemy had convinced them that surely God isn’t giving them everything. Instead, he convinced them that true freedom lies with him and his suggestions/offerings (in this case, eating the fruit).

The enemy believes that he knows our weaknesses and he seeks to use and manipulate us with them. Like a lion searching for young, sick, or straying animals, he seeks to devour those that are not ready for his attack (1 Peter 5:8). However, here’s the truth, we have been given the strength through Christ to deflect and resist those attempts (1 Peter 5:9, 1 Corinthians 10:13). The enemy seeks to provide you with false hope and fulfillment. He’s always willing and ready to offer you the things of this world. The things that may offer instant gratification but lack eternal joy or fulfillment. Instead we should know and study what is right and holy. Make choices that work towards building His kingdom here on earth. Choices that focus instead on the gifts we’ve been given and using those to share His Gospel, Grace, and Love with others (Titus 2:12-14). All the possessions, wealth, and power of this world are fleeting aspects of this life. They can be attained here on Earth, but they can’t be taken with you.  The one who “dies with the most toys” does not win.  It’s not to say that any of those things are bad or evil on their own.  In your decisions, consider the price paid to obtain your material goals? Is this price an eternal one? Are you willing to give up glory in order to wrongfully attain the things of this world?  The Good News is you have control over your choices.  As long as you draw breath, it is never to late to adjust your course.

Anything the enemy offers is a lie, yet he does not utilize obvious lies. His are more dangerous, slyer, more elusive. Obvious lies would be too easy to detect, resist, and therefore flee from.  The best lies are wrapped in a good bit of truth, distorted just enough to change that same certainty into a perilous lie. One that can easily be believed.  Satan is no amateur – he is the “Father of Lies” aiming to instill fear and doubt through masterful deception (John 8:44), but he is not original. Most of his lies are seeded in the distortion of God’s existing truth. He does not come up with original content, but takes the Father’s truths and varies them just the slightest bit. Make no mistake, using this is a very effective form of deception. Satan’s goal is to see all humanity separated from eternal glory.

Wrapping this up, Jesus knows our needs. He’s lived here. He’s been through the same emotional and physical experiences that we have here on this Earth.  Jesus seeks to help us understand the spiritual realm by drawing parallels to the things of this world.  He takes the enormity of all eternal glory and parallels this with very real things that we can see, feel, and experience on a daily basis.  Jesus explains his father’s truth in simple ways to help us better understand His Word. In John 4:13-15 Jesus speaks about the unquenchable thirst. He notes that, “everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” There’s nothing in this world that can fulfill that void. In fact, many of the things we try to force into that God-Shaped hole will lead to our demise. For some, there are only earthly consequences… for others, who have not accepted Christ, they have both earthly and eternal consequences. However, there’s always hope. It’s true, Freedom through Christ does come with a cost. Walking in obedience to Him and submitting to His Will requires us to lay down our lives, but we gain a renewed life instead. A life lived in eternity.

In conclusion, this may be my favorite Alice track to date. Arguably, there are many more to choose from, but most of his catalog is cautionary in nature, and this track lays it out perfectly. There’s no guessing or wondering about the enemy’s motives. The song is a reminder of who the enemy is and why you shouldn’t choose, trust, or consider him or his ways – why you should always resist him. Even Alice, the man, admits that the character – the villain – gets it. In fact, Alice mentions that the character never really took a position on certain things until “The Last Temptation” album. That album and the two following ones were a narration of how Alice, the character, sees the world. And his conclusion is this, “what this whole planet needs is a shot of morality”. Wise words. One’s you can’t really argue with. With that, remember where true “Freedom” can be found. You have one of two different eternal scenarios. The price of sin has already been paid. All you must do is accept, embrace, and submit to the will of Christ. The other path requires you make your own payment for your sins. Because in the end “Nothing’s Free”.

*Father in Heaven, we thank you for our Freedom. Freedom of choice and freedom to walk hand and hand with your Spirit. We ask that your truths remain at the forefront in our lives. That the enemy’s plots and plans be revealed and thwarted by your power and presence. We ask that your Spirit remain in our hearts, guarding us from evil and keeping us protected from the lies of the enemy. If, when, and where we’ve fallen prey to those lies, we ask that you might intervene with your truth – removing deception and replacing that with your mercy and grace. We forever thank you for your intervention on the cross. For your willingness to save us, despite our addictions to sin and self. Your love knows no ends and we are humbled by it. To you all glory and honor we give. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.*

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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Alice Cooper - Freedom (Official Music Video) - YouTube

“Freedom” Lyrics:

We the people of the United States
In order to form a more perfect union

Stop pretending that you’ve never been bad
You’re never wrong and you’ve never been dirty
You’re such a saint, that ain’t the way we see you
Ah, You want to rule us with an iron hand
You change the lyrics and become Big Brother
This ain’t Russia, you ain’t my Dad or Mother
(They never knew anyway)
‘Cause I never walk away from what I know is right
But I’m gonna turn my back on you

Freedom, we’re gonna ring the bell
Freedom to rock, freedom to talk
Freedom, raise your fist and yell
Freedom to rock, freedom to talk
Freedom ring

You’re playing God from your ivory tower
Back off preacher, I don’t care if it’s Sunday
I ain’t no angel, but I’ve never felt better
We’re a make-up metal generation
We’re not as stupid as you want to make us
You better leave us, man
‘Cause you sure can’t take us
Oh nobody better tell you how to live your life
Or you gotta do it on your own

Freedom, we’re gonna ring the bell
Freedom to rock, freedom to talk
Freedom, raise your fist and yell
Freedom to rock, freedom to talk
Freedom yeah

Oh yeah
‘Cause I never walk away from what I know is right
But I’m gonna turn my back on you
Freedom, we’re gonna ring the bell
Freedom to rock, freedom to talk
Freedom, raise your fist and yell
Freedom
Freedom, we’re gonna ring the bell
Freedom to rock, freedom to talk
Freedom, raise your fist and yell
Freedom

Revisiting ‘Raise Your Fist and Yell‘, we look at “Freedom” this week. A song written in protest of the PMRC (Parent’s Music Resource Center), an organization designed to oversee and promote parental control over music it deemed violent, drug-related, or sexual in nature. The  bipartisan Washington D.C.-based group, co-founded by the “Washington Wives”, sought to begin modifying or removing lyrics from certain artists and songs while placing various stipulations and regulations on the music industry (including record stores and MTV). The movement included a Senate hearing which featured various supporting witnesses claiming that album covers, music videos, and the music itself has the power to influence behavior. Opposing witnesses, including Frank Zappa, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), and John Denver, argued that insinuation and reference were all based on what the listener wants to hear or wants to find in the lyrics. Instead of appearing or writing a letter to the PMRC, Alice used tracks from “Raise Your Fist and Yell” to fight back.

“Freedom” is about fighting oppression. Fighting tyranny. Fighting ignorance. Fighting organized power. Fighting back against a ‘state’, or government, that believes we are a set of mindless drones – unable and/or unwilling to think for ourselves. It’s not a violent battle – it’s a battle of ideas. A battle against an entity that somehow believes we need help figuring out right from wrong. In the song, Alice declares, “We’re a make-up metal generation – we’re not as stupid as you want to make us!” He’s right. Freewill and conscience drive humanity. Any actions we make are ours, and ours alone. Blaming art, music, movies, media, or even the government for our actions is asinine and childish. What’s even more fascinating is the moral compass of those that want to control others… as if anyone in the PRMC, Washington D.C., or any other governing body, can honestly say they’ve never committed the very atrocities they claim are insinuated by music and/or any other forms of entertainment. Alice reaffirms this notion stating, “Stop pretending that you’ve never been bad. You’re never wrong and you’ve never been dirty. You’re such a saint, that ain’t the way we see you. You want to rule us with an iron hand.” In a nutshell, our rights and freedoms are not granted to us by humanity but instead by our Creator.

SIDE NOTE: Yesterday the U.S. celebrated its Independence Day. A day that infamously led the nation to freedom. The day when the nation proclaimed that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which includes ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. (NOTICE: The Declaration reads ‘endowed by their CREATOR’. Not the state. Not any earthly authority. No one but their CREATOR.) Later those exact freedoms would be spelled out entirely in the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution). Most Americans take great pride in holding those rights and keeping them far away from any bureaucratic authority. The first amendment being the rights to the establishment of religion, the use of free speech, a free press, and the right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government. Alice states in the song, “You change the lyrics and become Big Brother. This ain’t Russia, you ain’t my Dad or Mother.” For him and many others, it was obvious the PMRC was attacking those rights and threatening to take control of something they had no authority to govern.

So, we’ve established that our rights and freedoms come from the Lord. But what exactly does that mean? Various people throughout history have spelled out what the natural or common laws of humanity are. For instance, John Locke, a 17th century philosopher and physician, stated that, “all people are equal and independent, yet none have the right to harm another’s life, health, liberty, or possession.” However, the common or natural laws of humanity were first defined by our Lord. In fact, the Ten Commandments in the Bible teach us those things as well (Exodus 20:1-17). Then Christ later states in Matthew 22:36-40, we are called and created to love God and people (as ourselves). Again, such things are inherent. When we were created, all of humanity was meant to be equal (Galatians 3:28) and free (Galatians 5:13-14). It most likely sounds a bit odd to some, but the more we adhere to His commandments (Love God, Love People), the more freely we live. On the surface this may seem counterproductive, but digging deeper we find inner peace. His peace.

Harmony is the key. Christ never called us to shun, judge, or disgrace others. He instead expects us to use grace with all encounters and all people (Colossians 4:6). The same grace given to us by Him. His Love often opens doors that would otherwise remain shut. When we come to the realization that we have all fallen short (Romans 3:23), we begin to see other individuals as Christ sees them. We begin to worry not about the sins of others but about our own (Matthew 7:3). With this, we begin to find FREEDOM. Freedom through self-sacrifice (Matthew 10:39). Freedom through service (Galatians 5:13-14). Freedom through our actions (Galatians 6:9). Freedom through grace (Romans 8:1-2). Freedom through the Spirit, His Spirit (Romans 7:6). The more we surrender to Him, the more freedom we experience.

Humanity has always tried to recreate itself. We’ve tried to replace His blueprint with our own. We’ve tried to carry burdens we weren’t meant to carry. We’ve tried to paint what’s right and wrong according to our own understanding. We’ve tried to place judgment and blame where it doesn’t belong. In a nutshell, we’ve tried to play God far too long. Isn’t it freeing to know that none of that is our responsibility? We were never called to do any of those things. We were called to Love (Colossians 3:14). With Love, we find a much easier life. With Love, we find patience, kindness, perseverance, honor, peace, etc. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). With Love, we find freedom.

Wrapping this up, are you free? Truly free? Are there things that still enslave you? Do you hold fast to the vices of this world? Christ urges us to take His hand and walk freely. A free walk with Him through faith – worrying not about the things of this world (Matthew 6:25-34), the wisdom of men (1 Corinthians 2:5), nor your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). Instead praying to Him (Philippians 4:6-7), trusting in Him (Matthew 19:26), knowing Him (2 Timothy 3:16), and seeking Him (Acts 17:26-27). There is power in the name of Jesus. Power to break every chain. To live as He intended. To live in Freedom.

In conclusion, Alice again hits the nail on the head with “Freedom”. Living in the U.S., it’s expected that our government not meddle in our private lives – especially with regard to the rights and freedoms bestowed upon us by our Creator. Free speech being one of those. Alice once stated, “Well, before (accepting Christ) you are always self—you’re always self-centered. Everything is for you.  Your self is God. And we make lousy gods. Humans make lousy gods, I think. We need to let God be God and us be what we are. I think that’s what changes: the focus on who you’re serving. You’re not serving you. You’re serving Christ.” As Alice states there, it’s our service to Christ that truly changes us. Truly sets us free. Therefore, let us stop “playing God from (our) ivory tower(s)” and instead submit to Him and His Ways.

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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ALICE COOPER - the song that didn't rhyme - YouTube

“The Song That Didn’t Rhyme” Lyrics:

Wrote a song, it was wrong from it`s very first conception
Seemed I struggled on every line
It wasn’t fast, wasn’t pretty, wasn’t serious or witty
The song that didn’t rhyme

The band couldn’t wing it, the singer couldn’t sing it
The Drummer’s always out of time
The DJ`s were offended, my union card suspended
Billboard declared it a crime

The melody blows in a key that no one can find
The lyrics don`t flow but I can`t get it out of my mind
A three minute waste of your time
On a song that didn’t rhyme

It was bland, it was boring, all the groupies there were snoring
The first time we played it live
All the record guys got fired, the president retired
But somehow the song survived

The melody blows in a key that no one can find
The lyrics don`t flow but I can`t get it out of my mind
The melody blows in a key that no one can find
The lyrics don`t flow but I can`t get it out of my mind
A three minute waste of your time
No redeeming value of any kind
But thanks for the twelve ninety nine
On a song that didn’t rhyme

Didn’t expect to revisit ‘The Eyes of Alice Cooper ‘album so soon, but it seems fitting after this past week’s media circus. This post focuses on a humorous track entitled “The Song That Didn’t Rhyme”. A song, unlike its title, which is actually pretty catchy and has found its way on my playlist from time to time. Alice admits, “it’s just one of those songs that was a joke and it ended up having a life of its own.” Either way, the song holds water and carries with it a certain amount of merit this day in age.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock or don’t know much about the Alice Cooper scene, Alice and Sheryl Cooper were the topic of many headlines earlier in the week. It’s not worth going into specific detail (and honestly, I’d rather not glorify the news outlets that falsely reported the stories) but it was erroneously reported that Alice and Sheryl have a suicide pact with one another. After a 24-hour news frenzy, the story was corrected, yet many news and social media sources were still spewing out the original ‘fake’ news days later and with no reservation. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only time Alice or other folks close to him have been incorrectly reported on.

There have been many misconceptions about Alice over the years – from the notorious ‘chicken incident’ to his identity (confused with Eddie Haskell/actor Ken Osmond) to his religious beliefs to his relationships with others and so on. Tabloids, news outlets, and other sources have been falsely reporting on him and other famous musicians/people for years. In fact, he’s recently noted that his Hollywood Vampires band mate, Johnny Depp, is often slandered in the media as well. Alice states that, “all the stuff you heard last year about Johnny, 99% was just bull.” He went on to state that claims linking Depp to poor health, drugs, and bankruptcy were all untrue. Much like the song concludes, such ‘news’ stories are a “waste of your time” but “thanks for the twelve ninety-nine”. Apparently, it’s all about the buck in the ‘news’ business, not the proper telling of the story. Especially in today’s world of instant information. Regrettably, such things are bound to get worse as the technology age continues moving forward.

SIDE NOTE:
Did you know that Siri, Apple’s AI assistant, was created by using the voice of a woman named Susan Bennet? Susan was hired to read a number of sentences, pronounce certain word patterns and make various sounds with her voice. In turn, those recordings were used to create a virtual text to speech voice that fluidly speaks to humanity – creating its own sentences from Susan’s original recordings. Why is this important and how does it relate to this post? Good question. We are heading into a pretty dangerous direction as to what is real and what is not. Technology has advanced far enough that we will soon hear and see things that have been fabricated and are inaccurate depictions of the truth and reality. How are we, as God’s people, supposed to deal with such things?

Let’s look at this topic from two different angles. 1) How do we handle and process information that doesn’t seem accurate? and 2) How do we cope when slanderous comments are made about us personally?

Processing Information.
We live in an age of information. It is constantly being thrown at us. We spend our days uploading and downloading bits of data. However, a good portion of that information is actually misinformation. Therefore, how do we discern what’s true and what’s false? In God’s Word, Proverbs is the most notable book used to help guide and direct a person seeking wisdom and discipline (while also teaching them what is right, just, and fair). Studying Proverbs leads the reader to understanding and knowledge. That knowledge, when put into practice, becomes wisdom found through the nature of our Lord. While it’s not really possible to summarize Proverbs in one or two sentences, there are a few verses that lay sufficient groundwork for the path to wisdom and discernment. An example of this is Proverbs 3:1-6:

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

Chapter 3
1My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Focusing primarily on verses 5 & 6, we find that the human heart and mind are not properly equipped without Him. Our understanding often falls short or leaves us even more confused. However, His Word brings peace and clarity to areas in life that were once stressful and blurry. When we lean on the Word, resting and trusting in Him, we find a Spirit, His Spirit, of solace and well-being guiding and directing our path. With specific regard to this post’s topic, Proverbs 11:12 clearly states, “the one who denounces his neighbor lacks wisdom, but the one who has discernment keeps silent.” Taking this further and to the New Testament, we find Jesus calling us to “do unto others what you would have them do to you. (The Golden Rule – Matthew 7:12)” Don’t be too quick to believe everything that you see or read. Rely on His peace and mindset as you digest the information of this world.

Dealing with Slander and Libel.
We may also find a certain amount of dishonesty spread about us, our families, and/or our friends as we journey through this life. What seems like harmless gossip at the water cooler, stories told at school, or maybe just minor inconsistencies about who we are or what we’ve done are discouraging and can often lead to serious ramifications for both the person spreading lies and the person they are about. Looking again at Proverbs, we find inspired words about lies and slander. They “lie in wait for blood” (Proverbs 12:6), “separate close friends” (Proverbs 16:28), “have the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21), and many other destructive qualities. In short, words have power. The truth uplifts, heals, and restores people while deceit brings the opposite. None of this is easy, but focusing on what the Word shows us is a better way to handle the sins brought against us.

Dealing with slander and libel requires us to guard our hearts. Being sinned against often leads a person to react sinfully themselves. Try to keep that from happening. Know that the truth will prevail. Jesus spoke to this by saying “do not fear those that can destroy the body” (Matthew 10:28). He warns us to instead fear the threat of eternal damnation. If and when you confront the one that has wronged you, be sure to approach them gently (Galatians 6:1). A one-on-one conversation questioning why they said what they did and/or focusing on how you were affected by the wrong is more effective than defaming them or seeking revenge (Matthew 18:15). Always work to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). As you walk through this valley, do your best to remain humble as well. Remember the words of Tim Keller, “The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” As stated in the previous paragraph, none of this is easy. But if we work towards replacing our ways with His, we are better for it and in turn help to create a better world in the process.

Wrapping up this post, ‘The Song That Didn’t Rhyme’ probes the mind. Listen to it and ponder about the things in life that just don’t seem right. The things that just don’t seem to belong. Sometimes things we are fed as truth have a slight, or gaping, disconnect associated to the ‘facts’. Somehow there is a steady flow of misinformation. Stories and news reports that ‘don’t flow’ and have no sufficient evidence, only heresy. But somehow, we ‘can’t get (them) out of (our) mind(s)’. Ask yourself a few questions. Where do you get your information? Is it trustworthy? When something doesn’t line up, how do you react? Do you use wisdom and discernment? Do you take all information at face value? Information is tearing us apart. However, God’s Word calls us to unity (1 Corinthians 1:10) – Let’s do our best to rewrite this song. Using His key. His words. His beat. His timbre. His LOVE.

In conclusion, what a week. It started with false news about Alice and Sheryl, but notice how that was handled. There was no animosity on the Coopers’ part. Just a simple correction. Alice simply states, “We have a LIFE pact. We love life so much. What I was meaning was that because we’re almost always together, at home and on the road, that if something did happen to either of us, we’d most likely be together at the time. But neither of us has a suicide pact. We have a life pact.” Beautifully handled. Then mid-week, we learn Alice will be on “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” which will air on Friday, July 5th at 8am ET. Playing the role of Alistair Coop De Ville (an old friend of Goofy’s uncle), Alice comments on the character saying, “it’s kind of nice to not be a villain for once.” And finally, travel and rehearsals begin this week as Alice’s tour starts on July 4th in Mashantucket, CT. We pray for the health and safety of all the wonderful people involved with Alice’s tour and shows. May the Lord bless and keep them as they embark on this year’s tour!

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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Guilty - YouTube

“Guilty” Lyrics:

Just tried to have fun
Raise hell and then some
I’m a dirt talkin, beer drinkin’ woman chasing minister’s son

Slap on the makeup
Blast out the music
Wake up the neighbors with a roar
like a teenage heavy metal elephant gun.

If you call that Guilty,..
Then that’s what I am
I’m Guilty,..I’m Guilty!

Like driving too fast
Love going too far
It seems the law’s on my ass every time
I stick it out of the door

If you call that guilty,
Then that’s what I am!
I’m guilty,..I’m guilty

Bad boy on a summer night
When the heat makes me mean and I wanna fight
Put my pedal on the metal and I do what I wanna do
Bad girls make me feel all right
When it’s hot and they start screamin’ in the night
Golly Gee, it’s wrong to be,..
so guilty! (I’m guilty)

My conscience is on vacation
In acute degeneration
Willpower has sunk to an all time low

If you call that guilty.,.
Well then I guess I am..

I’m guilty,..I’m guilty!
(repeat)

I’m guilty,..and I don’t care,..
I’m guilty, and I think I’ve been framed anyway,…

Alice’s 2nd solo album, ‘Alice Cooper Goes To Hell’, was released in 1976. A concept album much like ‘Welcome to My Nightmare’, this record is a continuation of Steven’s story. ‘Alice Cooper Goes To Hell’ is considered ‘A Bedtime Story’. A realistic story of all the things we don’t want to know, believe, or think about – but we have to. The album, while told from Alice’s perspective, forces the listener to think about all the ‘criminal acts, violence, brat-like moments, etc.’ they have committed, and it makes that person ponder about the consequences of such deeds. Songs  like “Go To Hell”, “I Never Cry”, “Give The Kid A Break”, “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”, and “Going Home” will no doubt be revisited by this blog at some point. Overall, the album is a unique, engaging follow-up to Alice’s first solo album.

This week we focus on “Guilty”. A song which might be the most notorious track off the album (next to or on par with the title track), it stands out for multiple reasons. It’s definitely the heaviest tune on the album. At that point in his solo career, the song felt the most like an original Alice Cooper track. Raw, harsh, nasty, gruff. All the qualities we’d expect from Alice the singer and Alice the band. But what makes it even more terrific is the cognitive element. Intended or not, the song is personal. It may feel as if it’s only linked to Alice, but it’s a song about humanity.

SIDE NOTE: After travelling almost 2000 miles round trip in the last couple weeks, I was able to take some time to hang out with my Dad and William, my oldest son, in Louisville, KY (my hometown). On Father’s day, the three of us enjoyed time together driving around the city and visiting a few shops on Bardstown Road. After perusing a couple record shops, I found two used records, “Love It To Death” and “Alice Cooper Goes To Hell” (pictured below), at “The Great Escape”. Enjoyed spending time with William and Dad while managing to find my first two Alice LPs as well. Not a bad way to end a very memorable trip.

“Guilty” strikes a nerve. It cuts you to the bone. Some may listen and say ,”that’s horrible, at least I’m not that bad.” Others may listen and think, “That’s nothing compared to my life and crimes.” Truth is, it doesn’t matter what you think, feel, or how offended you are – we’re all guilty (James 2:10). Guilty of defying His two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). There’s no one alive on this earth that hasn’t at some point replaced Him with ‘something’ nor has any one person ‘unconditionally’ loved each and every one of their neighbors as they do themselves. It’s impossible. Therefore, as Alice sings his confessional tune, it’s the song of every man, woman, and child as well. The admission and/or concession of humanity – we’re all guilty, but it’s more than that. It’s an epiphany.

Whether we’ve dealt with it, suppressed it, or denied it, we know that we are guilty. Guilty of NOT living according to His standards. His methods. His will. His Commandments. But there’s very Good News. Declaring our guilt requires us to deal with it (Psalms 119:25-29). It requires us to search for the solution. It entails that we place ourselves on trial. It mandates that we wrestle with our conscience – the internal struggle between right and wrong. It requires us to search for an intercessor. Someone to defend us. Someone to save us (from our sins and transgressions). Someone for us to model our lives after. Someone to show us a better way than our own.

Reading these things, ask yourself some questions – Are you guilty? Do you hold on to that guilt? Is it weighing on you? Have you dealt with it? These are some of the toughest questions any person must ask and answer for themselves. It requires the brutal truth and one of those mirrors that magnifies all your blemishes. It’s NOT an easy or fun process. In fact, it’s probably one of the greatest deviations from a person finding Christ and His Love. An unwillingness to examine your heart. An unwilling heart is one that remains lost. Unwilling to see its fault. Unwilling to see the need. Unwilling to embrace a better path – a loving and genuine course (Proverbs 3:5-6). A course navigated with His will. His ways. His Love.

The conception of Christianity and the notion of God is often riddled with judgment, hypocrisy, and falsities. Somehow, the world has led many to believe that God is filled with rage, vengeance, and hatred. Hatred for and towards humanity. That He somehow isn’t filled with Love and Redemption. However, scripture paints a very different narrative (Romans 8:1). Within it, we find a God willing to embrace His creation by becoming man. Willing to show us a better way through His teachings. Willing to stand in our place for our sins. Willing to defeat our eternal demise, and the enemy, through His own death. In turn, willing to love us even though we are ‘guilty’. He simply asks that we declare Jesus Christ as Lord and believe in our hearts that He is the risen Lord (Romans 8:10, 10:9-10). That decision and choice is held above all others and cannot be separated by any other power (Romans 8:38-39).

Wrapping this up, pay close and careful attention to those verses. Romans 8:38-39 reads, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A good portion of Alice’s tongue and cheek approach to good, evil, Heaven, and Hell is most likely based on the interactions he had with other people – churchgoers, preachers, the press, other bands, fans, etc. However, the only relationship, opinion, interaction, etc. that truly matters is between him and his Lord, Jesus Christ. With that relationship, his guilt is washed away and his conscience cleansed (Hebrews 9:14). Only he can truly know whether or not that relationship is genuine and true – just like each of us and our relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. For it’s not the Law  nor our deeds that save us but He that lives within us (Romans 8:3, Galatians 2:16).

In conclusion, we are all “guilty” (Romans 3:23). Accepting that guilt doesn’t require you to live in misery and despair. However, what it does require is that you examine your heart. Is there a better way? Are you living the best life you can live? Is there something better? Can I be forgiven? Maybe this still doesn’t add up. Maybe you refuse to believe you’ve done anything wrong. If that’s true, please consider asking yourself what’s in your conscience. Do you honestly believe that there’s nothing worth changing? Do you have some sort of moral compass? It would seem that, by design, all humanity knows some form of right from wrong. If we didn’t, there would be no laws. The saying, “laws were made to be broken”, is often humanity’s motto, yet who will stand in our defense as we face atonement for those rights and wrongs? Have you fully sought out retribution for the things that haunt and torment your past and present? Don’t carry those any further. Now is the time to shed the guilt and shame you currently walk in. Replace that with His Love, His Grace, and His Righteousness. Make the choice to compare yourself to His image instead of comparing your sin to the sin of others. Declare Him as Lord with your lips and worship Him as Lord with your Heart. Doing so, you will forever walk with Him (John 10:27). Forever in peace (Romans 5:1). Forever innocent through Him and His blood (Romans 8:1).

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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Stand (Bonus Track) - YouTube

“Stand” Lyrics:

Yeah
Stand Up
Ha?
What do you believe in?
Ha?
Yeah
Stand Up
Aha
C’mon

Just a face in the crowd
Feelin’ lost, down and out
(Can you hear me now)
Millions more just like you
Afraid to do what they wanna do
(Am I getting through)

Lots of losers hanging round
Only there to bring you down
Get you feet up off the ground
Get up. Get up. Get up

If you don’t stand for somethin’
You will fall for anythin’
If you don’t stand for somethin’
You will fall for anythin’
Get up

Don’t you know that you’re worth
As much as anyone on earth
(You’re a megastar)
Put your hands in the sky
Let your freaky colours fly
(Get ’em way up high)

You got style and you got game
So get it out don’t be ashamed
([Xzibit:] Yeah)
Let everybody know your name
([Xzibit:] c’mon)
Get it on out now, what’s you name

If you don’t stand for somethin’
You will fall for anythin’
If you don’t stand for somethin’
([Xzibit:] Stand Up)
You will fall for anythin’

Get up
Yeah
Ah
Yeah
Breathe with me
Yeah
C’mon
Breathe

You can stand for war
I stand in the square I never stood before
I take a stand for my son like Afeni Shakur
[Note: Mother of dead rapper Tupac Shakur]
I take a stand like a four double six six four
Stand alone in my struggle
Can’t make me stand down
Make ’em crash and burn
Mayday mayday may tell
Get up stand up get your damn hands up
If they not shackled to your feet in some handcuffs

We need solutions, not propaganda
Let the tape roll, make the whole world stand up
Hold your position, don’t go backwards
X still grinding, the west’s keeps shining
Don’t look too long you might get blinded
Follow your heart, your head might just find it
I pray for the strength to handle what my city brings
Better stand for something (or) you’re bound to fall for anything

If you don’t stand for somethin’
([Xzibit:] stand up stand up)
You will fall for anythin’
Get Up!
If you don’t stand for somethin’
You will fall for anythin’
Everybody’s got a voice
Now’s the time to make some noise
(Let me hear you now)
Get up!

Songwriters: Alice Cooper / Alvin Joiner / Bridget Benenate / Rick Boston
Stand lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management

This week we revisit the “Dirty Diamonds” album released in 2005. Focusing on the bonus track, “Stand”, we find Alice teaming up with a unique artist. The song mixes the growling tones of Alice’s voice with his first-ever hip-hop collaboration. The actor/rapper, Xzibit, is the featured performer in the song and oddly enough, the pair masterfully mix together to create an unorthodox Alice track, and it’s one of his most powerful songs.

“Stand” is a call to arms so to speak. Not a militant or violent plea, but instead a mental, emotional, and spiritual cry – a wake-up call if you will. An uplifting request for one to not doubt their self-worth, their beliefs, or their place in this world. The song solidifies the fact that we are all His creations. “Fearfully and wonderfully made” to do His works and walk with Him (Psalms 139:14). Ultimately, the song proclaims how important it is to stand up for yourself. For what’s right. For what’s good. The repetitive lines force you to wrestle with your own conscience. “If you don’t stand for somethin’, You will fall for anythin’.” The listener can’t help but continually ask themselves, “what is it that I stand for? Who am I?” Again, it’s one of the more powerful Alice songs – especially from a cognitive standpoint.

We live in a time when standing up is NOT always easy. Especially when there is something you believe that doesn’t quite fit the social norm or the world’s agenda. Christianity, as a whole, is often faced with this problem. The world condones many things that are not Biblical and some that blatantly go against who and what we are called to be (Psalms 2). This post isn’t about those things. It’s not a rip and tear on the world and its dichotomy from the Lord’s Will and Ways. Instead, it’s a call for you, individually, to ask yourself where you stand. After seeking Him in prayer, researching the Word, and questioning your Heart, don’t be afraid to take a stand for your decision. Don’t be afraid to follow the road less travelled (Matthew 7:14).

There are many truths to remember as you stand for Him. Themes to know and keep in mind as you walk in the world without becoming a part of it. We will be looking at three of those and applying scripture to those points. Those three are 1) Be Respectful, 2) Be Peaceful, and 3) Be Diligent.

Be Respectful.
It’s not always easy. In fact, it can be incredibly hard to respect others – especially when that respect is NOT reciprocated. However, part of taking a stand for Christ means us being different. Going against the flow of things. Striving to make a difference often means you must do the opposite of what is done to you. Tolerating others and the harmful or disrespectful remarks they make can be seen as a weakness here on earth. However, it’s what He has called us to do. Romans 2:1 reads “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s paramount. Being respectful requires us to bite our tongue and reserve judgment. Our temptation is to measure those that disrespect us or the level of respect we give others against other people and their actions. However, we are evaluated by our Lord on an individual basis – not according to one another. Knowing this, respect and love others as you would yourselves (Matthew 7:12). It takes practice, but it’s powerful – and we are called to do so. It goes a long way, and don’t be surprised to find, that the more respect you give, the more you receive.

Be Peaceful.
It seems we live in a world that is ready to fight about almost anything. Reality Shows are scripted to glorify the conflict found in humanity, the news is filled with strife, we ‘love’ drama, but we are called to “make every effort to live in peace.” (Hebrews 12:14) The world believes that payback is the only option – that people should pay when they commit atrocities and heinous acts/crimes. According to the law, they may serve jail time. However, on a personal level, we’ve been asked to take a different road. In 1 Thessalonians 5:15, it reads “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” Basically, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. It’s another horse-sized pill to swallow, but you’ll find your life becoming less and less stressful as you choose to live with EVERYONE in peace. Slow to anger, quick to Love. In fact, Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and as you apply it the other parts of the fruit quickly follow. Our pastor once said the fruit of the spirit is often compared to an apple but it’s most likely an orange. Meaning each slice in an orange would represent Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23). They are not separate fruits – but a collective. When you apply one – the rest will follow. When you choose peace, you choose love. You choose joy. You choose forbearance. And so on. When you choose peace, you are choosing to walk with the Holy Spirit.

Be Diligent.
Know the Truth. Do not take the Word out of context. Study and know what it says and live that out. Don’t be afraid to admit when and where you’ve been wrong. The Bible requires careful thought, research, and cross referencing to digest a good portion of it properly. It’s not always as clear cut as some make it seem. Often times, certain passages require knowing who the audience was and is, what the customs were, and other verses (from different chapters and books within) that solidify the principles and ideas found in those passages. Be diligent about your faith and walk – knowing that “a heart of vigilance springs forth life” (Proverbs 4:23). Just when we think we know and have seen it all, the Lord often catches us off guard. Showing and sharing with us that we are not quite there yet. That we need to go a bit further. Earlier in the week, we posted a devotion on Facebook where Alice states, “I’m very young in the faith even though I grew up in it.” It doesn’t really matter where or when he made this statement. The fact is, we are never done learning, we are always young in the eyes of the Lord. This life is a journey. It requires our attention. Attention to His Word. Proper application comes from proper training. Training is a never-ending task. But through diligence and repetition, growth happens and leads you closer to Him while renewing your heart, mind, and soul (Galatians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 8:7, Romans 12:2). Stay connected to the Word – knowing that His ways may not be fully revealed all at once. They often unfold over time and with practice. But staying the course is the key.

Wrapping up these points, standing with Christ is not always easy. It requires exercise and a good combination of the above-listed principles. Willingness to obey Him means we are willing to lay aside ourselves. In turn, overlooking some of the injustices the world offers us. As your walk unfolds, remember the above-mentioned principles but also learn to pray (Colossians 1:9). Pray that He remove the any malice in your heart, the things that are impure and the opposite of His nature. Pray that all disrespectful things and thoughts be removed and replaced with His wisdom. Pray that all militant ideas and conflict be removed and replaced with His peace. Pray that all laziness and carelessness be removed and replaced with His will. Pray that He would remove layer after layer of self, replacing you with more of Him (1 John 5:14). Thus, allowing you to see through His eyes and stand firm with Him and His Word.

In conclusion, where do you stand? What do you stand for? What do you stand against? It’s okay to stand for Him while standing against the things of this world. It’s okay to not agree with events as they transpire. It’s okay to follow Christ in a world that doesn’t want you to. It’s okay to stand, even if alone, for Him. What’s not okay is applying the principles of the world while taking that stand. We must use His principles and guidance to walk that walk and talk that talk. We must be willing to lay down our lives to further His cause. To advocate His Love – even when the world has none for us. You are NOT just a face here on earth. You are His – fearfully and wonderfully made. You’re a Megastar. ‘Stand’ up and show the world what you’re made of – who you are made of. ‘Stand’ up and show them Him and His Light, burning within you.

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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Teenage Frankenstein - YouTube

“Teenage Frankenstein” Lyrics:

I’m the kid on the block
With my head made of rock
And I ain’t got nobody
I’m the state of the art
Got a brain a la carte
I make the babies cry

I ain’t one of the crowd
I ain’t one of the guys
They just avoid me
They run and they hide
Are my colours too bright
Are my eyes set too wide
I spend my whole life
Burning, turning

I’m a teenage Frankenstein
The local freak with the twisted mind
I’m a teenage Frankenstein
These ain’t my hands
And these legs ain’t mine

Got a synthetic face
Got some scars and a brace
My hands are rough and bloody
I walk into the night
Women faint at the sight
I ain’t no cutie-pie

I can’t walk in the day
I must walk in the night
Stay in the shadows
Stay out of the light
Are my shoulders too wide
Is my head screwed on tight
I spend my whole life
Burning, turning

I’m a teenage Frankenstein
The local freak with the twisted mind
I’m a teenage Frankenstein
These ain’t my hands
And these legs ain’t mine

“Constrictor”, released in 1986, is Alice’s ninth solo studio album. The album has him returning after a three year hiatus from the music industry. The product of that time spent away gave Alice the chance to redirect himself – breaking ties with Warner Bros. records, replenishing his health, and focusing on his new addiction, golf. All of these factors helped bring the Godfather of Shock Rock roaring back to the stage. “Constrictor” and “The Nightmare Returns” tour brings a new Alice to the forefront – a clean, renewed, reinvigorated, sober Alice. Alice recounts this moment saying, “I had never been Alice Cooper on stage sober…what if Alice just doesn’t show up?” But he did show up and has ever since. This new “Heavy (Metal) Alice” was a vicious villain. Not the whipping boy of yesteryear. He took charge and commanded the stage with authority.

“Teenage Frankenstein”, the first track on the album is pure ’80s metal. A story about the separation and distance placed between a teenage outcast (“the local freak with the twisted mind”) and the ‘rest of the guys’. In many ways, this encompassed the Heavy Metal genre. So many people just didn’t understand it. They placed many labels on the music and those that enjoyed it. “Teenage Frankenstein” ends up on the soundtrack for the movie Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives along with “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” and “Hard Rock Summer”. Alice was able to find success weaving his image into the Friday the 13th franchise combining rock and horror. In turn, setting the tone for his tour.

This week, we again get personal. A continuation of last week in many ways, this week we look at the teenage mind and the ‘battle in the trenches’ known as adolescence. It’s a bittersweet time, one I often look back on with endearment and horror at the same time. What’s funny about this stage (in life) is how society looks at it. There’s often this unrealistic notion that only certain teens feel misunderstood, unpopular, undesirable, etc. As if the jocks, the popular kids, and the class/superlative leaders weren’t affected by the growing pains of that time period. The fact is, all teens are struggling. Struggling to find their voice. Struggling to excel. Struggling to figure out who they are.  Struggling to wade through the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual changes happening during their wonder years. The older we get and the more we know, we find out that everyone struggles – some openly, some inwardly, some together, some alone. But life is a battle – especially as we enter adulthood (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

This coming week was and is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s the one week every year that guarantees a number of good memories will be refreshed, replayed, and new ones made. It’s the week we go to summer camp. Packing up 3 pre-teens in a minivan full of clothes, toiletries, a guitar, Bibles, and other camping gear, we head from Merritt Island, Florida up to Seymour, Indiana – the home of John Mellencamp and my childhood summer stomping grounds. Geographically, it’s all the same beautiful landscape but in my mind it’s new territory. Instead of going as a camper, I go as a counselor. Instead of going to be fed the Word, I’m asked to help feed the Word. Instead of pouring out my soul, I’m asked to listen and maybe give some advice. This is the week when faith is tested, strengthened, and renewed all at once. It’s sacred in its own right. It’s a privilege (Colossians 3:16, Psalm 32:8).

The lyrics to the song may seem extreme, but they really aren’t. At camp, I’ve seen the scenario play out every year – week in and week out. A group of teenagers show up – some old faces, some new, yet there is always an awkwardness in the air, it’s how every week of camp begins. There’s always that adjustment period. That time when none of them want to say much or be around each other. That time when it seems like no breakthrough or miracle could or would ever happen. However by the end of the week, almost all boundaries and barriers have been broken. Through His Love, Mercy, and Grace everyone has found a way to sort through their differences. The awkwardness has been replaced by acceptance. Acceptance of and through Christ (Romans 15:7). Some of the more haunting lines in the song are “I ain’t got nobody”, “They just avoid me”, “Stay in the shadows”, and “Stay out of the light”. Isolation, loneliness, darkness – these are the ways of the world. We are offered something more, something better in the Light. His Light. What’s evident at camp is the power of His Love. His Light. His Ways. As these teens learn to allow Him to be their GPS, you begin to see their differences and the cliques they’ve formed fade away. His LOVE is the great equalizer (1 John 3:16).

Unfortunately, every week of the year is not church camp. In fact, many teens do not have the opportunity to experience anything like it. One week set aside to focus on His Word is an incredible experience. Something that makes an eternal difference. An impact. A transformation. A change. Even the adults, staff & counselors, lay down their differences – leaving politics, ideology, social issues, and other divisive topics at home. Camp is designed that way, but there’s no reason life can’t be lived the same way. Focus on making His Word a weekly experience for yourself and those around you. Avoid division as much as possible (Romans 16:17). It’s amazing to see the change His Love can make. Approaching others with that tone and mindset changes lives, not only others’ lives but yours as well (1 John 4:21).

One last point. What if we decided to embrace those who are different? The teenage mind. The outcast. The lonely. The hungry. The poor. What if we decided to extend a loving arm or a helping hand to those we may not understand or even like? What if we decided to break social norms and hangout with all types of people (not just those we relate most to)? Would there still be violence in schools? Would there still be extreme bullying? I’m convinced that the Love of Christ is the answer to such issues. I’ve never seen anyone reject His Love. What I’ve seen rejected and repelled is the vitriol and judgment of man. It’s time to break down the clichés of the religious and step out in faith. It’s time to love and do to one another as we do ourselves. As He has asked us to (Matthew 7:12, 22:36-40, 28:16-20).

In conclusion, there’s a lot to digest here. If we all grew up to be teenage versions of ourselves, most of us would be embarrassed, imprisoned, alone, or even worse, dead. It’s important for us to remember this…we need to remember just how difficult the waters of early adulthood can be. The things we now consider trivial matter most to them. The things we take for granted are still new experiences for them. The friends and acquaintances they’ve made at church, school, and other activities are most likely ones they’ve known for most of their lives. The teenage life is a much different experience than our own. They must be shown where strength comes from, where identity comes from, where hope comes from, and what love looks like. They must be taught what they are worth. They must be shown God’s Love – sacrificed for them and all humanity on the cross (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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School's Out - YouTube

“School’s Out” Lyrics:

Well we got no choice
All the girls and boys
Makin’ all that noise
‘Cause they found new toys
Well we can’t salute ya can’t find a flag
If that don’t suit ya that’s a drag

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils no more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks yeah
Well we got no class
And we got no principals
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes

School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
My school’s been blown to pieces

No more pencils no more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks
Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not come back at all

School’s out forever
School’s out for summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely

In 1972, the Alice Cooper band released School’s Out, their 5th studio album. A follow-up album to Killer, School’s Out reached No. 4 on the UK album charts, No. 2 on the US Billboard 200, and No. 1 on the Canadian RPM Top 100. Some, including Ian Chapman, have claimed the album is a concept piece telling the story of innocence lost after the ‘dear old golden rule days’ of school. Notable tracks from the album include: “Luney Tune”, “Blue Turk”, “Public Animal #9”, and “Alma Mater”.

The title track of the album is an anthem for all humanity. Alice describes it like this, “‘School’s Out’ was designed to be a hit. It was designed to be an anthem. It was designed to appeal to every single person in the world because everybody has sat through school on the last three minutes before school is out – for Summer. Forever.” He concluded that, “if we can capture the joy of the kids screaming, knowing they have three months off of school, well, that will be a big hit.” Of course, they were right! “School’s Out” is arguably one of the best Alice Cooper songs, if not the best, of all time.

This week, we get a little more personal. I don’t like to do this often, but it seems fitting in this post. “School’s Out” is a nostalgic throwback to a time when things were a little simpler (yet seemed so complex to the mind of an adolescent teen). A time when the summers were a list of various activities from church camp to pool parties to sleepovers to the State fair to the 4th of July, and all sorts of other events and shenanigans. Summers, for the most part, I remember the most – a reminder of what freedom felt like to a young, impressionable mind. Flash forward to today, when summer takes on a whole new role as a business owner, a parent, and a believer.

During the school year, my wife and I run our small business together with her on the front lines working with clients, and myself handling the administrative side, mostly out of sight. Life tends to be a little more structured, less chaotic, and planned out during the school year. However, when school lets out it’s no holds barred. I work from home during the summer. Home with the kids. Same tasks just different venue. Different scenario. Different rules. The Summer is hard, tough to navigate, and sometimes feels like a waste of time. It’s tougher to get things accomplished. Still ensuring that the business stays afloat and running while listening to requests for food, time on the tablets/TV/phones, time outside, trips to the pool, etc. It’s a juggling act for sure. BUT it’s a BLESSING in it’s own right.

It didn’t happen over night, but at some point, the Lord reminded me that it’s a badge of honor to be a Father. Something to not take lightly. In fact, the Word has so much to say about raising children. He has entrusted His children to us. We are to raise them up properly (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4) – while helping them see the joy in life (Colossians 3:21).  It’s no small task. It’s no small order. BUT it’s a big deal. You may be saying to yourself – I’m not a stay-at-home parent, I’m not with my children during the day, my children are grown & gone, or maybe you don’t have children. This post still pertains to you! Young people watch us. They learn from us. We influence them – whether we think we do or not. They are sponges soaking up everything around them. We have to help them sort through those things they are processing. Helping them decipher what is right. What is wrong. What is good. What is evil. Believe it or not, they expect and want that. The exterior may not say or show that – but the interior longs for it. They want our input.

While I am thankful for my parents and their upbringing, it was often outside sources that made a bigger difference. Conversations with youth pastors, camp counselors, friends, friend’s parents/grandparents, employers, colleagues, adult neighbors, etc. were many times more influential than dinner table conversations with my nuclear family. Interestingly enough, those conversations that may have seemed trivial at the time shaped, molded, and predisposed me to many different topics that may not have ever come up within my own household growing up. Don’t read this incorrectly, this isn’t a downplay of parenthood. We are called to be shepherds of our own flock (1 Peter 5:2-3). What it is though, is a call to all aspects of your life, not just your own children. All youth that come into contact with you are watching, learning, and wondering what it means to be His child. How that makes them different? How they should treat others? How His Love applies to them?

I urge you to take your role in the life of a young person (and all people) seriously. There are so many opportunities afforded to them – some good, some not. Do your best to make the most of the good opportunities they have. Making those positive ones stand out above the rest. Volunteer when and if you can with the younger generation. Investing in them is not only investing in their future, but also yours – they will one day lead. But it’s more than that. It’s our job to pass the flame to the next generation and so on (Psalms 145:13). One of my favorite songs, “Windows” by the band Whitecross, has a few lines that have stuck like glue over the years. Lines to live by:

Sail the winds of time
See your life as it unwinds
Hold up the looking glass
Look inside and see the past

If not a word was said
Did they see Him in your head
If His name was never heard
Through your life did they wanna learn?

Oh, did His love show
Oh, did anybody really know?

The only Jesus they’ll ever see
Is the One in you and me
The only Jesus they will know
Is the One that lives inside our souls

Been too much wasted time
Look in your heart, I’ll look in mine
We all want what’s real
But sometimes it’s so hard to feel

Oh, I see the world out there
Oh, it takes someone who really cares

The only Jesus they’ll ever see
Is the One in you and me
The only Jesus they will know
Is the One that lives inside our souls

Not what we say but what we do
Are the windows where your life shines through

In conclusion, “School’s Out for Summer”. Make the most of it. This song will forever be one of endearment. Alice does such a masterful job relating to the masses through his music. He states, “the two most joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school.” How true. Simple, yet profound. As a young person, the end of the school year represents Freedom. Now as an adult, it represents Responsibility. Funny how life shifts and turns. Old things take on new meanings, yet things still find a way of staying the same in many ways. Enjoy your Summer! Have fun! Appreciate the time with your family, friends, and those you meet along the way. Rejoice in the Lord as well, and take some time to reflect over what’s transpired in your life this past 6 months. What was good? What wasn’t? Any changes need to be made? If so, there’s no time like the present. And know you’re being watched – do others around you see Jesus? Or someone/something else?

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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Alice Cooper "The Sound Of A" Official Music Video - Single out February 23rd - YouTube

“The Sound of A” Lyrics:

The sound of A is in the air
The sound of A is everywhere
With the sound of a gun
And you run
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The sound of A is all around
The sound of A is underground
It will creep into your bone
When you’re alone
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys

The sound of A will keep you down
With that cruel, peculiar sound
It will shoot into your brain
And remain
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys
Meaningless noise is everybody’s toys

‘The Sound of A’ from the Paranormal LP is our next focus. A creepy song influenced heavily by the psychedelic movement in the late 60s – the story that comes with this song is fascinating. Dennis Dunaway, original bass player for the Alice Cooper band, brought the song into the mix for the Paranormal album. The song is reported to be the very first song written by Alice, dating back to 1967. A fact Alice had forgotten. Many interpretations and suggestions have been made about the song – from the ‘A’ meaning Alice Cooper’s music to a more ambiguous meaning of whatever you want it to be – the sound of anything so to speak. However after hearing it again some 50 years later, Cooper soon remembered his thought process behind the song.

“We were talking about the idea of doing a sci-fi thing where the sound of A (the musical note) was piped into every house and kept everybody on a kind of even keel,” Alice states. “If they wanted to change your mood, they would change the tone. To A-minor. Or C. Or some augmented chord. And you were controlled by the sound.”

What a concept. Straight out of ‘The Twilight Zone’ type stuff. However, think about where we are today. This song actually has a prophetic vibe attached to it when you think about where humanity resides at this moment in history. “Meaningless noise” radiates from our phones, computers, televisions, radios, etc. in the form of tweets, text messages, alerts, newscasts, etc. Noises which set the tone of our day, tell us how to feel, and what to think, yet somehow still link us (if only digitally) to one another. It’s odd, but technology has connected us with people half way across the globe (shrinking the size of the world), yet we barely spend time with those around us. You can almost hear the voice of Rod Serling narrating a state of fantasy describing the aforementioned things – yet now reality daily resides between the ‘pit of fear’ and ‘the summit of knowledge’.

What’s even more odd!?!? Today’s reality seems to have flipped morally as well. Things that were once considered inappropriate are now simply a part of everyday living. There’s no need to make a list of such immoral topics. Our consciences are still in tact, we are inherently programmed to know what’s right and wrong, what works and doesn’t work, where peace comes from (John 16:33). But we rarely use that discernment. We see things and instead of turning them off or deleting them from our lives – we decide, “eh, it could be worse”, and keep allowing our feeble minds to soak up the smut, the unrest, and the lies. Ultimately, we decide to drown out our moral compass. This isn’t some vitriolic rant about or against the world, instead it’s a call for us to guard our hearts and minds from what we know is wrong (Psalms 119:1, Proverbs 4:23). Don’t be afraid to voice concerns about things that you are uncomfortable with, but do it amiably. Any act done with malice or hate attached to it is NOT from the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:9-17). Defending our faith and what we believe should be accomplished with love and compassion towards fellow men and women. Lift up those you disagree with, show them love in spite of their sins (the same way Christ shows us love in spite of ours) (Ephesians 4:29).

We have been called to be different (Romans 12:2). Doing our best to cut out the ‘meaningless’ things and replacing those with His meaning and purpose. With Faith. With Hope. With Love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) Stop and think about the thoughts and things we spend our time with on this earth. A good portion of that time is spent worrying or wondering about things that will never even come to fruition. We struggle with this notion that happiness and something more can be found and attained if we just had a better car, a better house, a better spouse, better friends, better family, etc, A wise pastor once said, “The grass is NOT greener elsewhere; It’s greener where you water it!” That applies to our walk with the Lord also. We’ve seen this in the lives of others and ourselves from time to time. When God speaks it’s often a whisper (Matthew 10:27, 1 Kings 19:12). And with the ‘Sound of A(nything)’ drowning out His voice it’s often hard to hear or know what He’s saying. To hear His whispers, you must be searching for a relationship with Him. In close proximity to Him. Searching Him out through His Word. Through Prayer. Through His Guidance along the way. It takes time, practice, patience, etc. – it’s a process. Yet there’s always something new to learn. There’s no right or wrong way – it’s the progression that works and strengthens you. But what is inevitably true is that he is not far from ANY of us (Acts 17:27). We just tend to keep Him at arm’s length instead of allowing Him to wrap His arms around us.

Now imagine another episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’. This episode like other shows and series has a religious theme attached to it. Often times, an episode like this shows people following a leader or some prophet but imagine in this episode that there is no leader. No David Koresh. No Bob Jones. No Charles Manson. Just the Word of God. No one altering it, pulling it out of context, or using it as a bloody pulpit. In fact, the people in this episode follow the two basic principles of Christ: 1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself. By following these two rules, laws, guidelines, whatever you want to call them, the people in this episode are willing to set aside their differences. Instead finding and walking with each other based on the things they agree upon. Respecting one another. Loving one another. Helping one another. It’s a utopian principle, but isn’t this what we expect to see one day in the Kingdom of God? Should we not be setting aside the things that ail and hinder us – keeping us separated – instead doing our part to bring His Kingdom here, to earth.

In conclusion, it’s an interesting concept. One that God calls us to but seems exhausting and/or frustrating to attain. How on earth are we all supposed to get along on this floating sphere called earth? With so many different thoughts, creeds, theologies, and other ‘Sounds of A’ streaming into the air, how are we supposed to all live in harmony? It’s interesting. Have you ever approached someone in Love? Like really approached them with compassion – His compassion. If so, how were you accepted? It’s almost shocking, this day in age, to be approached that way. But the truth is, they or you would most likely embrace, or at least respect, that approach, even if you disagreed, if there was genuine concern attached. Taking a stand for something you hold dear using that mode would be much more effective. The truth combined with consideration is a mighty force. Alice was once quoted saying, “It might sound absolutely insane coming from me, but what the world needs is a good shot of morality.” May the Lord ‘shoot’ that into our ‘brains and it remain’. But in the meantime, maybe we should learn to tune into the Sound of ‘L’. A sound of nails against wood. The sound of compassion being poured out for humanity. The sound that has the power to heal and forgive. The Sound of Love. Morality applied with Love is a rare but contagious thing. Allow Him to change hearts and minds while you share with them His Love.

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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I'm Eighteen - YouTube

“Second Coming” Lyrics:

Lines form on my face and hands
Lines form from the ups and downs
I’m in the middle without any plans
I’m a boy and I’m a man

I’m eighteen
And I don’t know what I want
Eighteen
I just don’t know what I want
Eighteen
I gotta get away
I gotta get out of this place
I’ll go runnin’ in outer space
Oh yeah

I got a
Baby’s brain and an old man’s heart
Took eighteen years to get this far
Don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about
Feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt
‘Cause I’m

Eighteen
I get confused every day
Eighteen
I just don’t know what to say
Eighteen
I gotta get away

Lines form on my face and my hands
Lines form on the left and right
I’m in the middle
The middle of life
I’m a boy and I’m a man
I’m eighteen and I like it

Yes I like it
Oh I like it
Love it
Like it
Love it
Eighteen!
Eighteen!

This week we look at the Alice Cooper band’s breakthrough song from the ‘Love It To Death‘ album. ‘I’m Eighteen’, reaching #21 on the Billboard chart in April 1971, has become one of the most well-known anthems of youth and the feelings attached to adolescence. All the band members contributed to the writing process and Bob Ezrin masterfully edited an 8-plus minute song down to just under 3 minutes. Alice even stated that, “‘I’m Eighteen’ was stripped back to the bone – simple and direct, right down to the guitar and chorus hooks.” He also claims Ezrin helped him define his vocal signature, the growl & guttural tone, saying, ‘Look Alice…people may like the live show, but you have no defining handle on your voice and the music.” It’s evident, Ezrin was right and the rest is history. ‘I’m Eighteen’ is classic Alice and sets the bar for what many expect the Alice sound and style to always be and return to – even after toying with other unique avenues and concepts.

Our walk with the Lord, at times and during different seasons, also mimics adolescence. Stop and think about those words, feelings, and thoughts attached to the lyrics and mindset. They make you think of that time and how awkward, alone, desperate, confusing, etc. it was. In the song, lyrics such as, ” lines form on my face and hands, lines form from the ups and downs”, “I’m in the middle without any plans, I’m a boy and I’m a man”, “a baby’s brain and an old man’s heart”, “don’t always know what I’m talkin’ about, feels like I’m livin’ in the middle of doubt”, may also define our spiritual walk and journey as well. We’ve spoken many times about how David felt and reflected those feelings and emotions in the Psalms. The ‘ups and downs’. Being ‘in the middle without any plans’. It really takes us fully understanding that we are on a journey. Our map is His will. That’s not something we can plan. It’s not something we can fully know until or as it unfolds. However as that happens, we can make large, medium, or little adjustments along the way.

Step back for a moment and look at your journey – not only through the prism of life and its events, but also through the eyes of your faith. If you had to rate your level of spiritual maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, what would that number be? It’s a personal question – maybe one you can’t or aren’t sure how to answer. Maybe even one that fluctuates according to what you’re going through (whether painful or joyous). While there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s something to consider. Something worth looking at. Our spiritual life actually corresponds to our physical life in many ways. When someone decides to follow Christ, there’s a number of growing pains one must or might go through. Much like our physical lives, our spiritual lives mature but at varied rates. Physically we rely on factors like genetics and nutrition, but spiritually it’s accomplished by choice and discernment.

Truth is, the Holy Spirit lays the groundwork. He cleanses and changes our hearts. Directing us instead towards God’s Word. Leaving us with a stirring in our hearts that moves us to yearn after Him and His ways. However, we are ultimately responsible for our own growth and maturity. We must choose to research, learn, and apply God’s Word – after which you will find the Spirit renewing your mind. Leading you to walk with purpose. That sounds easy and simple, right? That question is said with sarcasm, but It seriously can be. Like anything else, it takes practice, endurance, perseverance, and self-control. These aren’t things humanity is inherently good at. But they aren’t unattainable either.

How do we do this? In order to look at this a little more closely, let’s zoom in and focus on a few different things that can help further our walk and bring about maturity in the process. These things are: 1) Comparison, 2) Resistance, 3) Labels, 4) Mentors, and 5) Religion.

COMPARISON. Comparison is a killer.
We can’t compare our lives or our walks to one another (2 Corinthians 10:12). They are unique. We are all given individual gifts and talents. Those should be our life’s focus. Finding ways to use those to His glory. We have been ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalms 139:14) to carry out His purpose. Focus instead on finding that purpose as it applies to you, not worrying about whether or not it matches someone else’s. It shouldn’t. The Body of Christ is many moving parts and requires each part to do its job for the body to function and move.

RESISTANCE. Resistance is a two-way street.
We can either resist the Lord or resist the world (James 4:7). That doesn’t mean all things in the world must be resisted. We have been called to still be in the world. But there is a certain mindset that calls us to carry a new mentality. If there’s something that causes you trouble or sin, remove it. If you don’t need it, delete it, so to speak (Proverbs 4:14-15). There’s this notion that being around other Christians all the time will strengthen your faith when it’s honestly quite the opposite. While fellowship with other Christians is very important, the more you live in this world resisting the evil one, the firmer a foundation you build (1 Peter 5:8-9).

LABELS. Labels are a divisive entity.
The Bible warns us about such things (Matthew 7:1-2, James 4:11-12). This is a struggle for us though. We want to categorize and theorize about what we think and believe. However, be careful with this. Placing specific things in certain boxes and categories often keeps us from allowing the Lord to move in specific aspects of our life. Take for example, the folks in Nazareth. They refused to see Jesus as the Christ – to them he was just Mary’s boy. A label that, while true, held them back from seeing Him as anything more than that (Luke 4:14-30). To drive this home a little further, we’ve included this video from Pastor Bob Beeman. The video is about labels, and in it, he warns us about using judgment and discernment properly when we make claims and accusations about others. Check it out and see what you think.

"F Words And Album Covers" Pastor Bob DAILY! - YouTube

MENTORS. Mentors may very well be one of the most, if not the most, important elements for growth.
The Bible points to mentoring, discipleship, and accountability multiple times. Uplifting one another through Him is a principal part of our walk with one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). But there’s more to it as well. We must find more experienced Christians to help lovingly guide us through storms we’ve never experienced (1 Peter 5:3). We must also know that leaders need leadership, there is always more to learn and walking alone in faith can be a dangerous road (Proverbs 9:9, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). All ages can learn and know about Him and His Will. In fact, we are called to disciple even the children (Proverbs 22:6). But it’s important to know that the most important and greatest teacher is the Holy Spirit. He will continually remind us of who Christ is, what His Life and Death meant, and why He came (John 14:26).

RELIGION. Religion can be a thorn, if not a dagger, in the side and hearts of men/women.
It’s important to know that if something taught or held sacred by man, denomination, or creed is not Biblical, it is not of God. Be careful of such things. We are called to walk in unity with one another, not division (2 Corinthians 1:10). This is not a call to bring rebellion to the church or the pulpit. But it is meant to study carefully the Bible for yourselves and make sure what you are being taught lines up with the Word (Acts 7:10-11). Remember this, man is fallible and denominations are man-made. God calls for unity, where humanity has sown division. Be willing to walking humbly with our God and your fellow men and women, all of them (Micah 6:8).

In conclusion, this week’s post was a long one. ‘I’m Eighteen’ is a classic song. It may very well be the song that embodies the Alice Cooper phenomenon better than any other. In fact, Alice to this day does not celebrate birthdays but instead annual anniversaries of his eighteenth birthday. ‘I’m Eighteen and I Like It’. That’s profound in its own way if you think about it. If we look at our walks with Christ the same way, we can celebrate coming to know home but also remember that we are still young, learning, and yearning to know more about Him. Even the oldest, wisest Christian has much to learn with regard to the nature of our Lord. So, with that we Rejoice with where He’s brought us in our faith, but also Rejoice more in where He’s taking us and the things still to come. Be mindful of those things that can hinder your walk while embracing the things that strengthen it. Guard well your ‘baby’s brain’ and love all with your ‘old man/woman’s heart’.

Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer: "God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay.  I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"

If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you.  Please contact us at prayers@oceanfloorministries.com so we can welcome you into the kingdom.  We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.

 

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