Blame it on the rain, yeah, yeah. I listened to this song on the radio and recounted my own Milli Vanilli moment. First, let’s talk about these two. I remember being a pre-teen, or maybe a young teen. Milli Vanilli was all over the radio. They were winning awards. They were famous and the hottest show in the land. You couldn’t go anywhere, or turn on your car radio and not here there music.
After some short lived fame, a Grammy Award for Best New Artist and selling millions of albums, it came out that they didn’t really sing any of their songs. At a concert the CD started to skip and this was the beginning of some questions. Some had their doubts already because their interviews were filled with broken English and deep German accents.
photo credit: ifc.com
So, my question is: Were they successful? They became famous, they made a lot of money. They won a Grammy, but is this success? My fear for the church is that maybe we are living in a time where many Christians are living Milli Vanilli lives.
Upfront we can say the right thing. But, behind closed doors, how are we doing? We have all been disappointed by athletes and celebrities claiming to be people of faith, or good citizen role model types only to find out their lives are awful. Now I am a firm believer that people go up and down and no one is perfect, but when did we quit looking at the fruit in someone’s life. We love analyzing gifts. We love looking deep into if someone is talented or holds the right political views, or is theologically educated. But, aren’t we just setting ourselves up for Milli Vanilli moments?
Personally, many years ago I was given the task to preach on prayer. Their were five Sundays in May and every Sunday was going to be something on prayer. I was going to preach one of those Sundays. I studied and was passionate about the text I was preaching on. The words came out of my head and easily to the keyboard as I typed the manuscript. When I got up to preach this message, things came to me as I was talking and it was neatly organized into the outline as I spoke. Some of it was even new to me as I was just realizing new things about scripture and our Lord.
The part I haven’t mentioned yet was that leading up to the sermon I was struggling with anger and bitterness. I was having conflict with some people in the church. I couldn’t pray. I had trouble studying devotionally. I was wrestling with a deep sadness. I had the answers but was unable to apply them to my own life.
Some of the best points I made were met with what felt like someone slapping me in the chest. It hurt. At the end of a message, in this setting their was always a pressure to get more people to the altar. It usually never happened. On this day, people jumped up to pray for family members who needed Jesus, or for needs they had. Several people were there.
But, what a sad feeling I had as I prayed with people and looked at myself. I realized a very depressing truth. His gift and His calling are irrevocable like the Bible says. If you are gifted and called you are now accountable because He isn’t going to take it back. We all have Milli Vanilli moments. But, is it a lifestyle? Are you pretending to be someone you really are not? In your work environment, at home or around your friends do you display enough of the fruit of the Spirit in your life that if you were on trial for being a Christian, you would be convicted? Believer, in your workplace today God wants to use true believers to build His Kingdom. Are you a true believer or is it just an act?
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