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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years!!!!

This year I want to encourage you to "Let Go and Let God have His way! This song has ministered to me over these past few months and especially going into 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy New Year's

This will be my last post of the year. May God bless you and your family. Just so you'll know Tracy and I will be celebrating like this to bring in the new year.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Thoughts - 12/21-08


Yesterday was a good day of worship. But the weekend itself was extremely busy and frustrating. Let's start with Saturday, I came into work since this is my last week before our two-week shut-down. This is an aerospace industry standard shutdown that doesn't affect our vacation time. Thank you, Lord.
I went to the church to start studying but forgot my flash drive at work. So, I went back to work got my flash drive and when I returned to the church musicians and singers starting showing up for rehearsal/sound check for benefit concert. It lasted all day! We arranged the stage to accomodate musicians, singers, and dancers. When sound check started for the singers they kept complaining that they could not hear through the monitors. I adjusted volume and everything I could think of. But, by this time it was getting late, I needed to study for Sunday, I was hungry, tired, and irritable. So, I shut down on everybody. We ended sound check and cleared the church and I went home. Needing to study and concerned about the monitors.
When I got home Tracy was watching Miracle on 34th Street. I don't like that movie so I made a smoked turkey sandwich and watched the Clippers game. They got spanked by like 30 something points. I don't remember because I fell asleep. The alarm went off at 4 am, I got up to go to the church for a smash study course. But when I got to the church everything was out of place from the rehearsal so I had to put it all back for our morning worship. Still no study time.
I had been meditating on Galatians 6:9 all week for Sunday. I'm trying to be very strategic during the preaching event. I don't want our church to think that we've made it and now it's relaxation time. No, it's time to get to work!
Here's the outline that the Lord gave me, honestly:
Topic: Payday Someday (This is not original, I stole it from Robert G Lee)
Text: Galatians 6:9
Thesis: Serving the Lord will payoff, Someday! But until then don't stop working for the Lord
1. The Worth of our Work - "Let us not become weary while doing good..."
Point: Working for the Lord is a privilege for us to enjoy!
- It's never-ending work - For every task completed, there's always another to follow
- It's hard work - Serving God is not always going to easy
- It's good work - Serving God is something you can be proud of
- It's lasting work - What we do today for the Lord will last a life-time
2. The Wealth from our Work - "for in due season we shall reap..."
Point: It's our responsibility to do the work and it's God's responsibility to supply the wealth.
- There's Temporal Wealth: God will bless us right here on earth
- There's Permanent Wealth: Ultimately, God will bless us when we get to heaven with "Well-Done"
(I had to argue the season of blessings in that we don't know the exact time of blessings, we just know that there on the way.)
3. The Wish for Our Work - "if we faint not"
Point: You can't give up now!
I don't want to sound like I'm Jesus Jr but the my Father in heaven gave me this message for yesterday. He's to be glorified.
My goal for the New Year is to do more delegating at the church and at work so I can devote more time to the study. I have a sermon preparation worsheet that use and over the next few weeks while off I'm going to prepare all my study material (commentaries, word studies, etc) so I can get a head start on next year's preaching schedule. Plus, I'll be getting some rest to refresh my mind to think clearly. Pray my strength in the Lord.
The afternoon service was outstanding except for a few technical difficulties with our sound system. There's a few adjustments that need to be made but for the most part, all is well! We have a few problems in our bathrooms with a small leak in the men's bathroom as well as a toilet in the women's bathroom that overflowed. But it's good, in a sense, because it can get corrected while contractor completes all other work. The rain is delaying work completion. Stupid rain.
All ministries that performed were excellent! Jesse Campbell can sing. This dude sung "Amazing Grace" with no music and killed it! I've never heard anyone sing that hymn song like that before in my life. The band was killing but too loud. The only instruments mic'd was key boards. People kept coming to the media room asking me to turn them down only to find out no one was going through the house. I let them control their own volume eventhough I did place a microphone in front of the amp as a decoy. I'm a musician and a singer and I know we like to hear ourselves and forget about everybody else.
After the service a few local pastors stood around waiting to talk to me about the church. A few guys prayed with me before the project as I was explaining to them what we wanted to do. So for them it was answered prayer. Another pastor Theo Wilkins as a group and he came this year for a project fund-raiser (I think in July) and was amazed that it came to pass so quickly and it's appearance. He knows what it looked before the renovation so he's really surprised.
Many of them had the same comment of being encouraged that small churches can dream big and get it accomplished. Praise God for that but we still have live to change for Christ. So our work is not complete.
The service went well and I'm glad it's over.
Count down: 2 days of work and I'm off for 2 weeks.
Be blessed, man down!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Challenging Day In the Word!

Here are additional pictures: Welcome Center

Welcome Center mural. "We commit to WORSHIP by rejoicing in the Lord in all things (Psalms 34-1-2)

Women's Bathroom

Men's Bathroom
We had a good but challenging worship service yesterday. It was cold in the building. The city has us handcuffed right now for inspection. They need to come out and inspect work before Edison can install new transformer for our 400 watt ampage. So, we could not run our central air and heating. Ugh!
Our real challenge was with the Word of God. Last week after our grand opening, I started asking God for direction in my preaching assignment for the next couple of weeks. It is my intention to get back our series "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church" at the beginning of the year. But, I wanted to say something that would encourage our church and ride the wave of excitement from our newly rennovated church. So, I prayed for direction.
I started going through my notebook that has all of my information for the project to formulate invoices for church records and our finance team to account for all dollars spent on the project. As I was going through my notebook, our project verse from Haggai 1:8 hit me dead in the face. The text says; Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD.
When I selected this verse, I had no intentions on preaching it. I used it as a vision verse and communicated it in one on one conversations or whenever I got a chance but never consider preaching it from the pulpit. I read the verse and then I read both chapters of Haggai and said to the Lord; "Nope not this one!" I kept looking and praying for direction only to be directed right back to Haggai 1:8. After long, God and I started having the great debate about preaching this text.
My argument with God was that we didn't need to preach a text where He was fussing with the people about not rebuilding His temple. As far as I was concerned, we did rebuild and it's time to move forward. Long story short, we all know God won the debate.
His argument was "Remind the people that this is my church and it means a lot to Me!"

Text: Haggai 1:1-15
Topic: Let His Glory Fill This House
Thesis: God is paying close attention to how we treat His church, physically.
Transitional Sentence: This text serves as a forwarning to not let this church get to like it was before.
There are three (3) requirements for insuring God's presence remains in this house:
1. God's glory will fill this when we MASTER MAINTAINING RIGHT PRIORITIES - v. 1-4
Point : Put God first in everything that we do!
2. God's Glory will fill this house when we MONITOR OUR OWN BEHAVIOR PATTERNS - v. 5-11 - ("Consider your ways!")
- Considering your ways must be PERSONAL - You have to acknowledge when you've wronged God by making Him second place. v. 5
- To not consider your ways is counter-PRODUCTIVE (v. 6) - In summary, the text says there is a whole lot of motion but no progress
- Considering your ways must be PUBLIC - You will be held accountable by God for everything you do. v. 6
3. God's glory will fill this house when we MAGNIFY GOD WITH OUR OBEDIENCE - v. 12-15
Point: Obeying God is doing what He says even when you don't have all the details
- Obey the Word of God - v. 12-13
- Obey God by doing what His Word says - v. 14-15
Close: God's glory will fill this house because His promise is true when He says: "I am with you" (v. 13)
I trust God knows what He's doing because I felt like I was fussing at the church.
A former member came to our morning worship service who used to be our sound tech. He lives in Lancaster now and says the drive is too long for him to make it each week. He loved the new appearance of the church and who knows what will come of it in the future.
After service, our women's ministry had their Christmas luncheon at Sizzlers. Tracy, who is our ministry leader, came home extremely excited about the fellowship and was very encouraged. This coming year I'm spending more time with our women's ministry and men's ministry teaching them our two-fold purpose. First, win the lost through relationship building and second, mentor each other through genuine fellowship and the Word.
I went home to rest! I have not fully recoved from all the work we did getting ready for our grand opening and returning to work so quickly. So, I went to Church's Chicken for some legs, thighs, and fried okra. Tried to watch "Tropic Thunder" but before long the movie was watching me.
I wanted to go to George Hurtt's installation but was extremely exhausted so I decided to stay home and rest because this is my last week of work before we shut down for the rest of the year. It's going to be long hours and a stressful week.
This Sunday, we will have a Christmas Benefit concert with Jesse Campbell and other gospel artists giving by CGMUZIC Productions. It's a toy drive to provide presents for needy families this holiday season. Please pray for those who will minister during this time.
Until next time, MAN DOWN!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our New Sanctuary























For whatever reason these pictures came out extremely yellow and I can't work picture format too good. But this is our new sanctuary!
Our first service yesterday was rather emotional for me. I think I overworked myself last week trying hold in my emotions as things were coming together. I did a pretty good until our slide presentation and then I went into our bathroom after it started playing and let everything I could out before going back into the sanctuary to preach. I had one prayer befor preaching yesterday, "Lord, hold me up to preach!"
I preached 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "He who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."
Topic: Faithful is Our God
Thesis: God can be trusted!
Here are three (3) why we can trust God:
1. He's faithful to His Person
The faithful of God is evident in the three (3) tenses of life:
A. God has been Faithful
B. God is faithful
c. God will be faithful
2. He's faithful to His People
-God will keep you when you can't keep yourself.
- God will finish what He started in you
3. He's faithful to His Promises - "He will do it!"
God never makes promises he can't keep.

The Lord answer my prayer to hold me up and let me preach. Wow, what a first service! Pastor Robert Calvary from Praise Chapel Church lead us in a powerful prayer moment that we so needed as a church. My, my, my!
After our morning worship we had a reception and viewing period. And I extended myself for moment of what I called "A Tour With the Pastor". I did this to share vision people who visited that did not have a church home and/or was unsaved. Pastor Payne and Full Gospel church came by yesterday before going to another service. Some old members of FGMBC came by and was amazed at the outcome of the renovation. Truth be told I'm still amazed.
The afternoon service was a little long but great. Many of the members were tired because they worked from sun up to sun down Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I am so grateful! Tracy and the kids (moreso Tracy) will gave 150% to help make sure everything went well. I owe her a night on the town. Carmen and the crew, GMWA Youth Choir, Comedian Bishop Billy Bob, Sister Nadine, and others did a wonderful job minister in song and laughter. My favorite choir is GMWA Youth Choir these young people can sang!
We had our service video taped and will make it available for a small donation after editing.
I need to get back to work, MAN DOWN!









































Thursday, December 4, 2008

I haven't forgotten!!!

Please be patient with me this week. I do plan to post pictures and a powerpoint presentation that will be seen this weekend but this week has been extremely busy for me. There is so much to do I can't even list them all.

However, I'll say that God has placed a sermon to preach, 1 Thessalonians 5:24.

Sound system is 75% installed and it sounds so good to have an upgrade. The underground work for electrical was completed today. The next 2 days is going to be extremely busy as well as time consuming with sermon preparation which is my first priority. I don't get a chance (due to work) to spend a week preparing to preach so I'm trying my best to take advantage of it.

We're preparing gifts for first time visitors and a "Stay Connected Card" for our Greeters Ministry to pass out on Sunday to formulate a prospect list.

Unfortunately, this project has falling on my shoulders totally to see it through to completion. I may not get a chance to post pictures until Monday and even that's questionable because I go back to work and have to train a new person cause my boss is having surgey at the beginning of 2009. But I will do my best to post as soon as possible. You all have enjoyed the ride with me from the beginning and I appreciate it greatly so you deserve to see the finished product.

Please pray my strength in the Lord this weekend! I love and appreciate each of my blogging friends.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Week Of Preparation!

Wow!!!!!!!

I can't believe that we're getting ready for our Grand opening this coming Sunday.

Before I get to the week let me recap:

Thanksgiving was good for me and my family. We went to my Auntie's house in Palmdale, Ca which is about 70 miles away from our house. We always have a good time hanging out with each other and Thanksgiving day was no different. We ate, played dominoes, and ate some more. It sure was good! We did not have service as normal because of rain. To power our little house, we have to run extension cords across our parking lot until electrical underground work is completed. That would be dangerous to have service and it rained and then we all be would shocked by electricity. So, I canceled service.

Friday, Myles and I went to the church to start setting up our media room. Representatives from CZMUZIC came by to see our church setup and we started talking about the process and just about had church in the process. They were really impressed with our setup and I'm looking forward to the Christmas Benefit Concert on December 21st. This is my way of giving back to the community as an expression of what God has done for fGMBC. Afterwards, my friend Pastor Payne came by and we started talking and Myles was having a fit because he was ready to go home. But it was good fellowship of which I need so much more of.

Saturday, the family and I along with my grandson little Jimmy hung out all day. All I heard from lil Jimmy is "MaMA (Tracy), PaPa did it!" I do everything when it comes to him but he can't seem to leave me alone. But I love the little white boy.

Sunday was a real good day of worship, WOW! My auntie Rochelle Dean came to church at 8:30 am in the morning. She's an answer to prayer that I will keep on praying for until she confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior. I preached Psalms 66 "Make His Praise Glorious". What a message! Listening to it again gave me chills.

Sunday afternoon, Tracy and I went to Bishop Kenneth Wells' B-Day party. I met Kenny (that's what I call him) some 20 years ago when I started playing the drums and singing for Riverside Mass Choir of which he was the founder. The reunion choir ministered but I could not make any of the rehearsals and I wanted to. The highlight of the service was hearing the legendary Daryl Coley. This man, even in his sickness, is bad with the vocals. He sung "Even Me Lord" with no musician, and no microphone and killed everything in there. Please keep him in your prayers. He's doing better but still has a long way to go.

After the service, Tracy and I went to eat. That was some time well needed for us as a couple. It was good hanging out with her all afternoon. I kinda love her, LOL!

But, then Monday came! I rented a truck to pickup our church chairs and Pastor Payne went with me. This took all day! Bertollini loaded the truck and pastor Payne and myself unloaded the truck. We finally got help about an hour into unloading but it was still hardwork. I could not get all 500 chairs on the first trip so I had to go back for a second trip. I arrived at the warehouse at 7 am (Tuesday morning or today if you're reading this blog) and the truck was loaded within an hour. One problem, the truck was half full and they did not strap chairs in. So when I went to pickup office furnishings and opened the back of the truck all the chairs fell down. I had to position all chairs in an upright position before I could load office furnishings. Frustrating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When we got to the church, Tracy was there painting our mission statement on the wall and before long tears came down her eyes with joy. People just don't know what this means to life our church to have such a huge project like this come to pass. Words cannot even express the feelings I and many of our members feel as well. God Is So Amazing!

Long story short, all furnishings has been delivered, sound system is being installed, underground work for electrical upgrade is in the process, and yet, we still have much to do. But praise God it' almost over.

I'm struggling with what to preach this coming Sunday. Galatians 6:9 "Don't Quit Yet" and 1 Thessalonians 5:20 (He who calls you is faithful and He will do it.) "Faithful is Our God". I'm praying for direction.

Yesterday, I played in a championship basketball game with a league I play in on Mondays. We lost because the game was called due to an argument with the ref. I must admit, I was one of those in the argument. I'm a physical player but can't stand when someone 6' 10" complains about a foul when he fouled out long ago with fouls committed pasted the alotted 5. I actually played in 2 games last night and lost both. It was a bad night in the win category. I had fun none the less but my competitive spirit gets the best of me sometimes. I felt the pain in my ankles and knees this morning.

We're preparing for our grand opening this coming Sunday, so if you don't hear from me that's why. But know that I am praying for you and please keep praying for me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's TIme to Praise God!!


For all intent and purposes, the RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT IS COMPLETE!!

I met with the contractor on Saturday to discuss final processes. We will be able to get back into our church Wednesday of this week, we have much to be thankful for. After my meeting with the contractor, I stayed at the church for a minute waiting for Tracy and Myles to get there so we can go get a haircut. I walked the building while carpet was being laid and while the sound tech was laying wiring. I took a deep breathe only to find myself fighting back my emotions. This is such a huge blessing for our church. There is no tape on the carpet, no asbestos, no mold, HVAC is completeand electrical wiring brand new. The atmosphere in place feels different. The look is different. Everything is different! Thank God!
I'm not tooooo happy with the stage area because building and safety killed my octagon look. When the inspector was there last week, I tried one last effort to rid ourselves of the 15ft handicap ramp and place it somewhere else to keep stage appearance but my efforts failed. Nevertheless, we have more than enough flexibility to create back drops for different stage appearances so I can't complain at all.
The color scheme of green has turned out to be better than I expected. The women of our church did a good job matching everything together. That's not one of my strong points.
We stayed within our desired budget of $400,000 and did not exceed it with any extra cost. This was one of the hardest jobs I had to do was keep the cost down at all cost and yet maintain the quality of work without any short-cuts. The contractor locking in at $285,000 at the start of project sealed the deal but I was still a little nervous about what may come up during construction that would increase cost. Thank God for favor in this project because a lot of things came up but we were able to work it out without increasing expenses!
We can't use our AC/HT yet until So Ca Edison installs new 400 amp transformer. I'm hoping that this will be done within the next 2 weeks. We have some underground work that needs to be done as well that's planned to start today. I'm a little concerned because Cali is expected to have rain this week and I'm sure it will delay undergournd work.
We pickup our chairs and office furnishings Friday and planned to have chairs positioned in the church on Saturday. We still have a lot to do in decorations. My wife, Tracy, is doing all of signage work in the church. I will post her work as soon as it's done so you can see it. She really does good work even I'm impressed. Our display case will be delivered next week for our "Welcome Center". Our sound, lighting, screens, and projectors will be installed this week. Just about everything we can think of will be complete this week, THANK GOD!
I want to take this time to say THANK YOU TO MY FAMILY, TRACY, AYSIA, and MYLES! This was a huge project of which I carried the bulk of the load resulting in limited time for my family. They've been very supportive. I really want to thank, Tracy. She was there during my times of frustration, stress, irritations, mood swings, and everything else. As a matter of fact she has a running joke with me and my mood swings. She says, when I'm in one of my moments, "EEEEEEVVVVVIIIIILLLLLL!" She made sure that food was ready when I got home. She gave me my down time when needed. She's allowed me to go to sleep when she wanted to talk. She's been a trooper through this whole process. If I needed her to run down to the church to meet with the contractor, she did. Thank you, T-Baby and I love with all my heart. And yes, we will go to Magic Mountain before the year is out. My teenagers have been very supportive as well. After my softball games, I try to spend the rest of the afternoon with them watching TV, playing games, or wrestling with Myles. But every now and then sleep takes over ending our moments together. So they've developed a running joke, "Sleepy head!" But all and all I'm very grateful for their support. Thank you guys!
To the member of FGMBC thank you for you support and following me in this endeavor. I know it's a huge undertaking for us because of the size of our congregation. However, I believe in God and I'm confident in knowing that there is nothing to hard for God. What looks impossible to us is not impossible to God. If we stay focused on fulfilling the Great Commission, God will handle everything else.
I don't like calling names because you always forget somebody and we know how that goes. But I want to say thank to three guys who's made a point to call me periodically to check on me and to have conversation, Pastor Reginald Payne, Pastor Barry Wilson, and my nephew Louis Monroe. These 3 guys have been genuine friends throughout the process without showing any jealousy and envy. Thank you and may each of your ministries increase.
To my blogging ministry partners, thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers as well. Keep them coming and I have each of you on my daily prayer list.
We had a good day of worship yesterday. I preached Romans 12:1-2 "A Surrendered Life" and God blessed our message. It is my goal to get back to our series "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church" at the beginning of the year. These closing weeks I'm going to cast vision to prepare us for year 2009.
Our Grand Opening celebration will take place on December 7th. I really wasn't sure how things were going to turn out or if anything would come up to delay our entry back into the church. So, didn't invite pastors and their churches for a formal service because I didn't want to tie up their schedules and then cancel at the last minute due to delays. So our service on Dec 7th is informal with an evangelistic strategy. Prayerfully we will plant some seed and water some seed in the process.
It's done, that's it, that's all folks, Until next time, please keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Ready for 2009!

I was just sitting here on my lunch break thinking about 2009, WOW! We're are the end of 2008, amazing!

This is right around the time I start to think about the next five (5) years of ministry at First Goodwill Church. I start to formulate my "State of the Church Address". I prepare our material for our "Church Conference" meeting that will be held this year on December 17th before we black-out for the rest of the year. I meet with ministry leaders to discuss our event calendar, budget, etc. Usually, I start by reviewing the negatives and plan accordingly to strengthen our weaknesses. But in time past that doesn't always work, especially when you have more negatives than positives. However, this year is little different for us as a church. With all of the challenges we faced this year as a church with disgruntled people leaving, close to a church fight, members passing away, so forth and so on. I look forward with great anticipation of what the next five (5) years will bring to our church.

While a lot has changed around us, our goal and purpose as a church still remains the same:

Growing deeper in Christ and reaching wider for Christ for His glory alone (Matthew 28:18-20).

So this year I'm taking a different approach to vision sharing. Instead of taking my normal approach that I have been for the last 2 years, this time I'm taking a more pro-active approach. I've tried many different approaches to get people on board with our purpose and goals as a ministry. But I think using the negatives is a reactive approach to vision sharing.

I want to create an atmosphere of positivity related to our ministry. This past Sunday, I preached a sermon entitled "Be Positive (Philippians 4:8-9)" . It was a part of series I did at the end of last year that I entitled "The Be Attitudes for A Church In Transition". I preached it to re-enforce our need to be positive in all things and about all things.

With help from my blogging ministry partners, what will you do going into next year to cast your goals for the church? Is it possible to ever get 100% membership involvement? How do you handle leaders who fight against the ministries cause? What are some effective ways to communicate vision? How do you communicate throughout the year?

Help me! I'm looking for fresh innovative ideas to communicate our goals for 2009.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sick!!!!!

I've been sick for the last two-days with food poisoning, I THINK. Sunday after church, the family and I went to one of my favorite restaruants for breakfast. I got fried pork chops, home style pototaes, scrambled eggs, and I ate some of Aysia's pancakes for my bread. It was good!

I went to my softball game but did not play because the fires we experienced over the weekend caused bad air quality so our game was cancelled, UGH! I ate dinner, brownies, and had some lemonade. I mean I did it up on Sunday. But when Monday came, I felt horrible. Everything I ate on Sunday started coming up or out on Monday. It was the worst feeling I've ever felt in years. I went to work anyway only to go right back home and there I stayed for the rest of day with a fever and stomach pains (I don't know how PMS feels but if it feels anything like what I felt on Monday, well...I leave it at that).

Yesterday, I felt a little better but needed to go to the church to do somethings with the contractor. I got there at about 9 am and was back home by 11 am. I started feeling bad and then I received a call from our sound tech to come back to map out stage area requirements for our sound system. I went back to the church and spent 3 hours there feeling extremely terrible. I prayed, "Lord, give me strength to follow this through these next few weeks."

On the way back to the church, I received a call from Bertollini to inform me that our chairs are ready for pick-up. So I need to schedule pickup of chairs but there is one problem, the stage is being poured today and contractors still have a lot of cleaning to do which will take them through next week as well. So, I'm going to schedule our pickup for next week Friday after Thanksgiving.
They were installing stalls in the bathrooms yesterday and carpeting upstairs above the bathrooms and front lobby area. The color scheme is the bomb! Unique only to First Goodwill.

Ok, I have to get to work now and catch up from two days of being off. Talk to you soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE



I have not been writing much about the project not because things are going wrong. As a matter of fact things are going extremely well with the project. If you have noticed the postcard on my blog our grand opening is scheduled for December 7th and it's an all day celebration.

I'm a big bundle of nerves filled with mixed emotions that are unexplainable. The members are extremely excited and our family/friends are even more excited about what God has done with our church. I have to keep reminding myself, and fight against my pride to not be a show boat that this is totally God's doing and not mine.

I'm working on a slide presentation to show during our evening service and tears started to flow. They are tears of joy and relief that it's almost over. Many people don't know the tremendous amount of pressure I went through this year to insure that all goes well. As well as pressure with some members who disagreed with everything I proposed.

As I was working on the slideshow presentation, I started recounting all events that took place this year with my opposition, Sandballot and Tobias church folk. With all the excitement brewing in our church, can you believe there are still some members who are waiting for this project to fail. Yes, we incurred a debt but it was better to incur a debt to fix problems rather than incurring a debt of fines because we did not repair things that were dangerous to our health.

Praise God for opposition because it was, and still is, the opposition that presents opportunities for God to do His thing the only way He knows how to do it. Thank you, Sandballot and Tobias.

Enough of that! I'm EXCITED beyond words. I can't sleep and eager to get back to business.

My new pulpit arrived today, the stage is being formed, the sound technician is installing, office furniture on order, new sign is being worked on, revised church logo is completed, kitchen is completed and looking rather elegant, bathrooms are completed awaiting stalls, educational rooms completed, multi-purpose room completed, recess lighting completed, electrical panel upgrade complete (just need to complete underground work and transformer to be installed by Edison), doors installed, windows installed, and I'm ready to get back in.

At first, I was going to have our ribbon cutting ceremony in the afternoon but I changed that. Our ribbon cutting ceremony will be during our morning worship with communion being served. I'm already working on that sermon now and ready to preach. We're going to combine our service with the Hispanic church and many of our friends and family have committed to being with us on that day. LET THE PRAISE BEGIN!!!!!!!!!!!

The afternoon service is going to be a time of fellowship with singing, comedy, praise dancing, and more. And then after that, I plan to take a long vacation to rest and enjoy my family without being so tired for a change.

I plan to create a URL of the slideshow presentation and post it on my blog when it's completed so my blog family can enjoy this moment with us.

Keep us in your prayers!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

SPOOKY!!!!!

Last night I called my cousin, Vendon, to ask him to be the MC for our Grand Opening Ceremony. As usual, we started talking and he started sharing his frustration with Christians who, what he calls are SPOOKY. I will be honest here, I had to pull over in my car because I was laughing so hard.

I asked him to explain what he meant by a SPOOKY Christian? He says a spooky Christian is a person who uses the phrase; "The spirit told me to" for everything that they do. His statement was interesting to me because about two weeks ago, I had a conversation with some of my co-workers about another co-worker who for the last two or three months makes it a point to use the exact same phrase about everything she does. "The spirit told me to..." "The spirit told me to tell you..." It's gotten so bad that she has isolated herself from everybody because in her own words no one in the company is on her spiritual level. As well, she has been isolated because everyone thinks she's lost her mind.

We were on our break out on the benches and she told us a story of how she didn't run a red light because the spirit told her not to. I told her it wasn't the spirit that told you not to run that red light, It was flashing lights that caught the car before you that told you not to run the red light potentially receiving a $300 ticket.

I've noticed that in recent months that there are many Christians (that I've come in contact with) that are looking for a supernatural experience to validate their faith. Or, using re-actions, or the lack thereof, to the spirit to prove and/or discredit a persons spiritual maturity.

One of the verses that was mentioned in our conversation was Ephesians 5:18; "And do not be drunk with wine, in excess, but be filled with the Spirit". I could not let this verse go un-explained to those who heard it. "Be filled with the Spirit" in the text is not speaking of a one time act. Literally, the text means to keep on being filled with the Spirit. The life lesson is this; "It's not about how much of the Spirit we receive but how much of us we yield to the Spirit's control". Yielding to the Spirit's control is not that of being slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, or not being able to have a regular conversation unless the "The spirit told me to say".

Contextually, it's being filled with the Spirit in a day-by-day walk that helps us fight the sin in our lives. The proceeding verses ( v. 1-17) are key to understanding what verse 18 means for proper interpretation. I want to mention two verse that I believe are key to understanding what being filled with the Spirit is about. Verses 15-17 says: "So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life". Then Paul instructs us; "Instead, be filled with the Spirit". Our being filled with Spirit will be evident in a very practical manner. People will know if you're being filled with Spirit based on:

  • Our relationship with God (v. 19-20) - "Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ".
  • Our relationship with others (v.21) - "And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ".
  • The relationship between husband and wife (v. 22-33) - "You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything. And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for herto make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. And we are his body. As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband".
  • Parent/Child Relationship (v. 1-4) - "Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. "Honor your father and mother." This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: If you honor your father and mother, "you will live a long life, full of blessing." And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord".
  • Employer/Employee relationships (v. 5-9) - "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Work hard, but not just to please your masters when they are watching. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. And in the same way, you masters must treat your slaves right. Don't threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites".
  • I also believe that being filled with Spirit will be evident in how we respond in the midst of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-19).

Our spiritual maturity and/or spirituality is evident in practical application from proper interpretation of Scripture. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to assist us in daily living to become more and more life Christ each day.

My question is what happened to practical Christian living? Why do we need a supernatural experiences to validate our faith? Where is the reality of Christian living of walking with God day-by-day? Can we have casual conversation without waiting, as if we're waiting for a phone call, for the spirit to feed us the words?

What is world saying about us when we prostitute the spirit? My answer, it's SPOOKY!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Grateful Pastor!

Yesterday, I preached my own anniversary service in our morning worship. One of my life passages that serves as a constant reminder of appreciation for ministry is 1 Timothy 1:12 - "I thank my God for enabling me, counting me faithful, and putting me into ministry".

This passage of scripture summarizes, in my opinion, the heart a person who's grateful for being in ministry. I wanted to express to the church that I am grateful for being the pastor of First Goodwill MBC. I know that there are many other men who is more qualified, educated, gifted, talented, and capable to lead FGMBC but God placed me here for this season of ministry. I've made some bad decisions and I've made some good decisions. I've dropped the ball and I've ran with the ball. But God placed me here and I'm thankful.

I called to our memory some things were dear to me that God has done in our church for the last six years by impacting lives both directly and indirectly through our ministry.

- I remember all the events leading up to my pastorate
- I remember the call I received informing me of FGMBC's pastoral selection while getting a hair cut
- I remember my first meeting with the leadership team of FGMBC when I received the keys to the kingdom
- I remember the first sermon I preached "Lessons from a Grateful Heart" in Luke 17:12-19
- I remember my first sermon series, "Christian Bootcamp - Preparing You for Spiritual Warfare" - Ephesians 6: 10-19
- I remember our installation service with Pastor Payne, Pastor Wilson, Pastor Woodson, and Pastor Labat
- I remember our first youth trip to the San Diego Zoo
- I remember my first baptism when I baptized my son, Myles
- I remember the first family that joined our church, Joseph, Josiphina (I know I mispelled her name, A BIG SORRY), and Mario and baptized all three
- I remember our first church picnic
- I remember our first vacation bible school
- I remember our finanacial struggles and strains yet we overcame them with God's help
- I remember my first funeral of Sis. Mae Jean Smith

And, the list goes on and on.

But, while we have so much to remember, we have so much more to look forward to. I believe, we're going to see some fruit from our labor in the next 6 years. So, "My beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord".

We prayed together, gave together, and went home together with this benediction, Let's Finish What We Started Together".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I HATE IKEA!!!


Yesterday, Tracy and ran errands purchasing furnishings for our media room and made the biggest mistake ever. We went to IKEA (The House of Assembly)! We knew actually what we wanted to go in and purchase and what should have taken 1 hour turned into 2 hours.

We saw the shelving that we wanted with a price tag of $125. It was a self-serve item so we wrote done all the information necessary (we thought) went downstairs after getting other items but could not find the box containing shelving parts. We spent at least 30 minutes trying to locate these shelves only to discover that the pcs were sold separately. That's right sold separately. We had to go back upstairs and write down every piece required to assemble shelves.

When we got back downstairs everything was available in many different pieces. Hey, right! They were sold out of one of the side panels we needed. We spoke to the salesperson who looked at us like, DUH! When inquired about the part. He informed us that additional parts will be delivered no later than Monday.

We had our whole day planned to purchase and pickup as much stuff as possible to get ready to enter into our church. But those plans were quickly changed thanks to IKEA.

Oh, did I tell you, I HATE IKEA!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE


All is well! We're getting down to the completion of our construction work and contractor estimates that within 2 weeks we will be able to enter into our new sanctuary. Things have shaped into place and looking extremely good. First Goodwill looks nothing like the days of old. The members are excited about how things are turning out as they see progress each week at the end of our service.

But while the contractor will be completed in 2 weeks, we still have a lot of work to do. We have 500 chairs to pick up and position in our sanctuary. We have some major cleaning to do in the secetarie's office and my office (I did not include these two areas in construction process because it was done by my predecessor some 9 years ago). New office furnishings is being delivered, as well as new pulpit. Sound system installation and training has to be done. Decorations with flowers, plants, etc to give additional life to our new sanctuary. And so much more.

We're currently working on our ribbon cutting ceremony that is tentatively scheduled for the first Sunday in December (December 7th to be exact). I will post a flyer on our website and blog as soon as I get a chance. Many of our family and friends will be invited along some sister churches in our area. I want our ribbon cutting ceremony to be a celebration of God's goodness towards First Goodwill Church in an intimate setting. So, my plan is to keep it simple with prayer first, jazz band, gospel artists, slide presentation, words of encouragement by local pastors and a comedian. It's not finalized yet and things may change of course. Our dedication service is scheduled for January 18th, 2009.

Emotionally and physically I'm drained. I've preached 49 out of 52 Sundays this year. And during our construction, I've preached every Sunday. I'm stressed, excited, and eager to get back into our sanctuary to get back to a normal way of doing ministry. I haven't been sleeping well because my mind is racing a mile a minute.

In December the family and I are going to the Congress of Christian Education in Desert Springs, Ca. This will be some rest time for me. I've already planned time off for Thanksgiving week but that time will be spent organizing the church for re-opening. So, I doubt that I'll get much rest then.

Keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

God Is In Control!!!!!

I took the time this week in our service to take break from our sermon series "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church" to remind our church that God is in control. I don't use the pulpit for any political reason on purpose. I take advantage of separation between church and state. But I cannot ignore the fact that this coming Tuesday is a big decision for us, American Christians.

So, I took time to remind the members of our church, and I want to remind our Christian community, that GOD IS IN CONTROL!

I went to the mechanic on last Tuesday for a smog check and before I got out the van the first thing that came out of the mechanic's mouth was "Who are you voting for?" Before I could get a word out of my mouth he says; "I'm voting for Obama!" He then goes on to comment that if a black man gets in office there will be a civil war. I said to him that this is the type of thinking we don't need going into this election because if a white man (another republican) gets in office there's going to be a riot of the highest portion and it won't be just the minority (African-American, Mexican, etc) there's going to be some white folks as well.

When I left the shop, I was trouble by his thinking and needless to say there are many others who are thinking the same way he is. However, as a believer of Jesus Christ, we need to be reminded that GOD IS I CONTROL. Not Obama, McClain, Biden, Palin, Prop 8, Prop 9, or Prop 100. GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!!

We may and/or may not like the outcome this coming Tuesday but let's keep in mind that the sovereignty of God reigns no matter what. Here are a few facts about the sovereignty of God we should hold on to going into election day Tuesday:

1. He existed before anything else. Ps. 90:2: “Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God.“ Eternality trumps finiteness every time.

2. He created all things.
John 1:3: “All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.”

3. He sustains all things.
Col. 1:17: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Hebrews 1:3 adds that Jesus is the radiance of [God’s] glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word.

4. He is above all things.
Isaiah 46:9-10: “Remember what happened long ago, for I am God, and there is no other; [I am] God, and no one is like Me. I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.” God is not limited or restrained by anything.

5. He knows all things.
Ps. 139:1-4: “Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.” The knowledge of God is described in Scripture as exhaustive, thorough, covering the details down to the smallest possible levels.

6. He can do whatever He pleases.
Jeremiah 32:27: “Look, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me?”

7. He orchestrates all things.
Eph. 1:11 reminds us that God “works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will.”

8. He rules over all things.
In Daniel 4:34-35, the most powerful man on earth decided to take on God. When God was through with him, here was what he said, “But at the end of those days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven, and my sanity returned to me. Then I praised the Most High and honored and glorified Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”

9. He is in control of all things.

He controls the choices of world leaders--Prov.21:1: “A king’s heart is a water channel in the Lord’s hand: He directs it wherever He chooses.”

He controls the course of human events--Ps. 33:9-11 - The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.”

He controls calamity (Amos 3:6 says, "If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn’t the Lord done it?” The psalmist is awed by this: He makes the winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants"; "He unleashes His winds, and the waters to flow . . . Lightning and hail, snow and cloud, powerful wind that executes His command." (Psalm 104:4; 147:18; 148:8). Isaac Watts was right, "There's not a plant or flower below but makes your glories known; and clouds arise and tempests blow by order from your throne."

He controls our circumstances (James 4:13-15: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Stonewall Jackson believed that whether he lived to fight another day was completely in the hands of the Lord.

My friends, please keep in the attribute of God before you when you go to the polls and when we leave, GOD IS IN CONTROL!!!! Our response to God's sovereignty is to TRUST GOD NO MATTER WHAT! We may and will not understand everything God is doing but it's not us to question God but to TRUST GOD. He knows what He's doing.

Be blessed until next time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pastor's 6th Anniversary

This weekend would have started our celebration of leadership for 6 years at First Goodwill

Church. However, I canceled services this year so we could focus on our renovation project. Our celebration line-up would have been as follows:

Sunday, November 2nd,2008

  • Bishop Richard Sanders of Mt Pilgrim Baptist, Compton, Ca
  • Pastor Micheal Albert of Mt Aaron Christian Church of Los Angeles
  • Pastor H.B Charles of Mt Sinai Church of Los Angeles
  • Pastor Keith Green of Living Gospel Church of Los Angeles

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Pastor Barry Wilson of New Life Christian Church of Los Angeles

Pastor Reginald Payne of Full Gospel Church, Los Angeles, Ca

Pastor Daryl K Labat of Greater Metropolitan Church of Los Angeles, Ca

Pastor Eric Woodsom of 2nd Mt Carmel Church of Los Angeles, Ca

Last year we combined both services. But I missed the fellowship that both weekends offered so I would have done two services this year. Of course financially this hits my familie's pocket but I'm trusting God to honor this step of faith that Tracy and I took this year.

It's amazing that when I mentioned that I wanted to cancel the anniversary celebration this year to give our attention to the project that no one in my congregation said anything about continuing with the services. My friend and brother, Barry Wilson has been on me about it every time we talk. But, I feel this is something I have to do to show my congregation that stepping out on faith has to cost you something sometimes. This leap of faith has cost me big!

However let's be honest here, my spirit stepped out on faith but my flesh wants to feel appreciated (If that makes any sense).

But, THANK GOD FOR HIS WORD! The enemy really tried to work my mental state about this but I started fighting with the Word of God with one of my life passages from the unknown writer of Hebrews; "God is not unjust to forget your labor of love that you've shown to the brothers and sisters of FGMBC (paraphased)".

I know what I've done was the right thing to do and I'm looking forward to the fruit that will come to pass. So, like the lyrics of Donald Lawrence's song says I've had to "ENCOURAGE MYSELF" in many ways this year!

There are many others who in simple ways you engouraged me over these past fews months and I want to say THANK YOU! I don't want to call out names because I may forget someone and we all know how that goes. Again, THANK YOU!

Until next time, "My the Lord watch between me and thee while we're absent one from another".

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Many Thoughts!

I took yesterday off from work and blogging to run errands for the church as we get closer and closer to construction completion. So, here's what I call "many thoughts":

Sunday was a good day of worship. Our attendance has been off since the start of construction and worship time re-scheduled to 8:30 am. But, God knows what He's doing and knows who should be there. We continued our series on "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church":

Topic: Support the Local Church With Your Prayers
Text: Colossians 4:2-4

Thesis Statement: I am under no illusions that a strong church is a praying church and a praying church has praying people. The best support a person can give to the church is to pray for their church and the people of their church.

Let’s look into this letter from Paul to the Colossian church to help increase the level of prayer support in our local church assembly.

I. The Consistency of Your Prayers - v. 2a

- Never Stop Praying
- Prayer is hard work
- Prayer is Powerful

II. The Conduct of Your Prayers - v. 2b

- Be Ready to Pray at all times - "continuing earnestly" (I need to clarfiy, this is not speaking of the act of praying. The point I was driving home is that praying earnestly requires that we guard our prayer life. Some translations say "Devote yourself to prayer".)

- Be Grateful in your in prayers - "with thanksgiving"

III. The Content of Your Prayers - v. 3-4

- Pray for Opportunity to share the gospel – “as for me, that God would open to us a door for the word”.

- Pray for direction in sharing the gospel – “that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

I know this request is from Paul, the Apostle, but it has universal appeal. We all should be praying for opportunity and direction in sharing the gospel with a dying world.
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After service Tracy and I went to "Full G" (Pastor Payne) to hear Pastor John Reed from Fairview Baptist Church in OKC. I caught the tail end of his message but he was vintage Reed as usaual. After that I went home to eat leftover BBQ I cooked on Saturday and took a nap before my softball game. I had been since 2 am getting ready to preach so I was tired.

Later that evening Tracy and I slipped away from the kids and went to the movies to see "The Secret Lives of Bees". Excellent movie. Queen should get an Oscar for that performance and Jennifer Hudson was stellar as well as Alicia Keys.
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Yesterday, I ran errands for most of the day with Tracy. Got back home at about 2 pm and went to sleep. Please be in prayer for my son, Myles, he's a freshman in high school and struggling with some of his classes. I took him off the football team so he can focus on his education. I explained to him that the older we get the more responsible we must become. Education is more important than sports. He's capable of doing good work but can't focus on more than one thing at a time. I'm committing to spending more time with him to help him through this transition.
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This week is going to be pretty busy for me but with God's help I will survive.

Bottom, yesterday was a good day!

Friday, October 24, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE-WK7


Here's an update to the project, ALL IS WELL! I'm trying to stay away from the project because I'm getting so anxious for it's completion.

We did not have bible study on Wednesday because of electrical re-wiring in our small building. So needless to say, I didn't get a chance to see progress as usual. But I went their this morning and progress is looking extremely good. The interior doors are in, windows are in, painting in sanctuary is completed, kitchen is completed and ready for new cabinet installation, the entire church has been re-wired electrically, bathrooms completed and ready for tile, stalls, urinals, etc. Overall the project is very smooth.


We have not experienced any problems with contractor and workers who work 7 days a week. I couldn't take too many pictures this week because of limited lighting but here is a few, enjoy and keep praying for us.












Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm Desperate!!!

I had a conversation with a friend of mine today which I believe was God ordained. My original call was to ask if his wife (a gospel artist) would be available for our church dedication serivce in January. I shared with him our construction project and how well everything was going. He, himself, just completed a rather large renovation project converting a liquor store they purchased years ago into their main sanctuary.

He expressed how the current economic situation has affected his church's financial stability and that he's struggling to meet budget to function. Then he expressed to me, "I'm desperate!" At that point, I could not hang up the phone too quick. I heard the desperation in his voice and kept talking to him (or rather let him talk to me).

Over the course of our 1 hour conversation, he then encouraged himself (and me) when he said; "It's during this time that I'm learning to trust God more." Our conversation moved from a conversation of desparation to a conversation of delight.

It is during times of crisis that God wants you to trust Him more. This is the time trust God and not become desperate.

Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that testing of your faith works into patience. But let patience have it's perfect that you will be complete lacking nothing. - James 1:2-3

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yesterday Was A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day of worship at FGMBC. We continued our sermon series "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church". Here is the sermon skeleton:

Topic: With Your Love
Text: 1 John 4:7-19

During Vacation Bible School one year, a pastor’s wife had an experience with her primary class that can teach us all a great lesson. About an hour before dismissal one evening, a new student was brought into the room. The little boy had one arm missing, and since the class was almost over, the teacher had no opportunity to learn the details of his situation, but she was nervous that one of the other children would say something insensitive to him, so she preceded cautiously with the lesson.

As the class time came to a close, she asked the children to join her in their usual closing ceremony. “Let’s make our churches,” she said, putting her hands together to form the “church.”
“Here’s the church and here’s the steeple, open the doors and …” Suddenly the awful truth struck her. The very thing she had feared that the children would do, she had done.
As she stood there speechless, the little girl sitting next to the boy reached over with her left hand and placed it up to his right hand and said, “Josh, let’s make the church together.”

Sermon Sentence: And can I tell you that that’s what love in the church will do. It will bring us together to form a church of togetherness by the joining of hands in genuine love.

Let's join hands together in genuine love with three (3) important facts about the love God expressed through the people in the local church:

1. Our Love Was Sanctioned By God - v. 7-11
  • Love Described - v. 7-8
  • Love Demonstrated - v. 9-10
  • Love Displayed - v. 11

2. Our Love Is Strengthened By God - v. 12-16

  • Our Love is Strengthened in our Relationship with God - v. 12-13
  • Our Love is Strengthened in the Redemption of the Work of Jesus Christ - v. 14-15

3. Our Love is Secured In God - v. 17-19

  • God will not stop loving us even at judgement time
  • Perfecting love cancels our fears to keep on loving
  • God put us before Him, so we should put Him before Us by loving his people

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I believe the church was challenged with the message and we will be made all the better as a result of God's Word.

We celebrated with my friend and brother Pastor Reginald Payne for his 15th Pastoral Anniversary. Service was great and Pastor Ronald Saunders murder us.

After church, the family and I went home to relax. We were going to get something to eat but decided to eat Carl's Jr. Tracy ate leftovers from our breakfast at Nellie's (one of my favorite resturants). She had liver and onions, UGGGGGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ate my low-cal burger and watched that stupid show Rock of Love Charm School before going to bed. I was depressed after seeing the score of the Cowboys.

Keep praying for us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blessed to be a Blessing!!!

I can't hold this in.

My home church, Mt Sinai, has blessed FGMBC with a church van. I went to the church last Saturday to take a look at the van they want to sell. Excellent engine condition! Needs work on the body and interior detailed but for the most part excellent running condition to transport some of our members and prospective members to church.

The blessing has come because the original asking price was $1500. I spoke with Richey this morning and explained to him that I wanted to let the financial dust settle some from our construction but was very interested in purchasing the van. I proposed to him that we could give $500 as a deposit, they hold the van, and within one month we will pay the balance after construction is completed.

He asked if I would be available within the next hour and he would call me back.

In about an hour he called back and said "He spoke to Pastor George and they decided that they would let the van go for $500. I was shocked and said to Richey, "You're kidding, right!" He said; "NO!" I then proceeded to tell him; "Man, I'm close to speaking in tongues of which you would be able to understand (LOL!). Praise God!"

I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving with him and we ended our phone conversation with intentions of finalizing paperwork and everything early next week.

I want to thank Pastor George Hurtt and the Mt. Sinai Church for being a blessing to our church.

With this blessing, we can provide a service to the un-saved and un-churched in our surrounding area to bring them to Christ and to the church, PRAISE God.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE-WK5

All is well with our project. Week 5 progress are as follows:
  • Painting started

  • HAVC equipment installation

  • Roof repair

  • Outdated Electrical panel removed

  • Kitchen demolition/reframing

  • Windows installation
Electrical panel is now gone! This panel has been in the building since the building was contructed some 75 years ago. I also discovered that one of our neighbors across the alley from us was using our power for their house. For the life of our leaders, and myself, we could not understand why our bill was so expensive for years. We concluded that it had to be do to all of the electrical malfunctions we were experiencing. Well, I know why now! Geeeeeeeeesh!

No matter how frustrated I become with this particular incident the good news is THEY CAN'T DO IT AGAIN! All illegal wiring is now gone and new wiring system is going under ground and meter box will be locked as well as fenced in on our property.

We met last night for bible study but did not have any power in the building with the main power source being taken out. So, I waited for everybody to show up. We read scripture and prayed on the parking lot before it got dark and went home.

I'm looking forward to this weekend of worship. We will continue our series on The Importance of Supporting the Local Church and we worship with our friend and brother Pastor Reginald Payne for his 15th Pastoral Anniversary. I think I'm preaching in this service. Keep us in your prayers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stay Prayerful

On Saturday morning on my way to work I stopped to purchase a cup of coffee. After I entered into the donut shop two men came and started watching CNN as they played the in-hall town meeting Sen. McClain held the day before. There was a lot of controversary surrounding some comments that were made about Sen Obama. Of course, that sparked a conversation within the donut shop that I did not want to participate in. So, I left and went to work.

Later that morning, I met with our contractor to discuss the progress of our project. Afterwards, he started discussing our current economic crisis as a country, increased suicide rate, stock market crash, how much money he lost in his retirement account and now considering working until the day he dies. Sunday after church, my mother told me that my auntie lost $50K of her 401K retirement and not sure what to do. And many of us have and/or know of church members, friends, family members, and associates who are down right afraid of what tomorrow is going to bring because what they're experiencing today. I was riding home yesterday after work listening to KNX 1070 News Radio and listened to teenagers and young adults discuss their fears of the future.

Fear is in the air my friends. The fear of an uncertain tomorrow.

We're in a serious transitional season in the life of our country. Many of us, Christians and non-Christians, are downright afraid of what tomorrow is going to bring. Unfortunately, for non-Christians they should be afraid because they're future is uncertain without God in their lives.

However, the believer doesn't have to be afraid of what tomorrow is going to bring because our hope is in Jesus. The best thing and only thing we can do at this very critical time in our country and lives together is STAY PRAYERFUL! Don't be blind to what's going on around you but STAY PRAYERFUL! Stay up-to-date with current events but when you've been updated, START PRAYING! Before you get to the polls and after you've been to the polls, KEEP PRAYING! After the election, STAY PRAYERFUL!

It is time to cover everything with believing prayer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Support the Local Church With Your Membership

Yesterday was a good day of worship for FGMBC. Our service has been changed to 8:30 am due to our construction and our small building was rather cold yesterday morning. But once we got going things heated up pretty quickly. We didn't catch any in the net but I am convinced that a seed was planted and watered.

We continued our series of lessons on The Importance of Supporting the Local Church. This week we discussed Support the Local Church With Your Membership. Membership was actually my fourth point from last week's message but after much research on the topic I felt it deserved a message by itself. Footnote: Please be praying for me it is my desire to publish these sermons in a book that will be a blessing to other ministries.

I said a lot yesterday but will keep it brief in this post.

Topic: Support the Local Church With Your Membership
Text: Various Scriptures

Ron Cook of Providence Baptist Ministries writes in a 2005 editorial entitled Church Membership, “A Christian without a church is a Christian in need of a church”.

I believe his statement speaks volumes to the growing trend in our Christian community that church membership doesn’t matter in the life of a believer. Christians don't take their membership in the local church seriously. Church membership in the minds of many Christians, pastors, leaders, and lay persons these days are nothing more than a number to count. How many names we have on the church roll? How many people attend Sunday service? How much money comes through the door every week? So forth and so on. The number in church membership takes precedence over the persons of our membership to the point that many church management systems recommend assigning a number to a member to keep track of a person’s contributions and attendance. And the difference is being 1 or 1000 depending on where your last name falls in the alphabetical order or the date you joined the local church.

The point is that church membership is more than bodies and bucks. Church membership is more than a number to be assigned to a person. Church membership is more than weekly attendance.

We miss the importance of church membership when we focus on a roll count rather than a unified fellowship of believers who make up the body of Christ in the local church.

There are two major issues relating to church membership I want to address before moving on:

- As a Christian, do I need to be a part of a local church? My answer: YES!

- I’m already a member this isn’t relevant to me? My response, yes it is!

Let’s be very clear as pastor and people that supporting the local church is the responsibility of every believer to take their membership in a local church seriously. Here’s why:

  • Membership can thrive at a church that holds the right commitments. - Acts 2:42-47
  • It's time the raise the bar and ask for a serious commitment from our members - Eph. 4:1-6
  • It's time to challenge members of a local church to love God and one another has the Bible commands

Thesis: Supporting the local church requires a total commitment to church membership in the local church.

Here are four (4) important elements of church membership in the local church that will raise the bar of our membership commitment in the local church:

1. The Affirmation of Church Membership - 1 Corinthians 12:12-19

Argument: Is church membership in the local church a biblical concept?

Response: The bible never uses the word membership to affirm church membership. However, the bible does affirm "One Church, One Membership ( Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Ephesians 4:4)

1 Corinthians 12:12-19 affirms church membership with three (3) key distinctives:

A. Membership is diverse v. 12-14

B. Membership is unified v. 15-19a

C. God is in charge v. 19b

Conclusion: The bible affirms church membership as one church, one membership with diversity and unity.

2. The Activity of Church Membership (John 15:12; 1 John 3:23; Romans 12:10)

Argument: Effective ministry (membership) is building bridges that get us closer to God, together.

How do we build bridges that gets us closer to God, together? By submitting to a four-fold commitment:

1. I will protect the unity of my church
2. I will share the responsibility of my church
3. I will serve the ministry of my church
4. I will support the testimony of my church


3. An Appreciation for Church Membership

A popular credit card company mastermind a marketing campaign that was extremely effective, American Express says: “Membership has it’s Privileges!”

This philosophy is correct, even biblically. As a member of the body of Christ we have our benefits:

Benefit 1: The Sufficiency of Christ - As members of the body of Christ we have extreme privileges that those who are not believers don’t share. We have the forgiveness of sins, access to the throne of God, the hope of glory, the precious promises of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit, a mediator that lives always to intercede for us. These benefits are extended to all those who are in Christ without distinction. There no lines of division. In Christ there is no partiality (Gal 2:6; James 2:9; Acts 10:34; Ephesians 6:9; 1 Tim 5:21; Proverbs 24:23).

The point is this, as a member of the body of Christ, our benefits will never run dry.

Benefit 2: The Sustainability of the Church (1 Peter 1:3-9) - The Church will never die.

Benefit 3: The Surety of Church Membership (Philippians 3:20-21) - Point, our membership will never die! When we die our membership is transferred from the local assembly to the heavenly assembly.

Conclusion: Being a member of the universa/local church is a privilege for us to enjoy.

4. The Accountability of Church Membership (1 Corinthians 5:11-13; Matthew 18:15-20)

I’ll never forget an experience I had some years ago. I was coming out of the Slauson Swap Meet and was approached by a Muslim wanting me to purchase “The Final Call”. I decline and proceeded to my car to go home. He kept talking, rather aggressively I might add. It appeared that he wasn’t going to let up so I stopped and let him continue to speak. Once, I felt I was able to get a word in, I asked him, “You said you were a Christian, right? He responded; “Yes”. I then asked, “Why did you leave the church?” He said; “Because there’s no accountability in the church”.

Point: If we (the church) don't take our membership seriously who will?
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I said so much more but just can't post all of it. Remember, I'm writing a book.

Our service ended yesterday pretty early because the Hispanic congregation's service starts at 10:30 am. So after church, I went to support my nephew Louis who preached at Beluahland Baptist church. He did pretty good job but lost his voice mid way through his message.

After church, I played with grandson (Little Jimmy) and left for my softball game. We won but was disappointed when I heard the Cowboys lost.

Tracy and tried to spend some quality time last night but fell asleep on each other at about 9 pm.

Yesterday, was a good day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE


Here's an update to our project, ALL IS WELL!!!!! Thank God!!!


This picture is a before shot of our back upstairs area after water damage some 15 years ago. From this mold developed which is dangerous and can create cancer of the lungs if not removed. It's gone!!!!!!!!!!!


After shot:
This is what it looks like now after removal of mold and reframing.


The hard part is over, demolishing. One of my biggest fears was during the demo process what they would find that could cost additional money. What they found was minor and didn't cost a dime extra, praise God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Building and Safety is giving me a hard time with the stage area because ADA regulations for the disabled. I wanted 2 additional steps for a choir stand but to do that requires a ramp and rails. So, I told the contractor to forget about the 2 steps to keep it simple and easy. I don't want any delays if I can help it. I'm ready to get back into the church.


There is still much work to be done but as of right now things are going pretty good and I can't complain. Keep us in prayer during your quiet time.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

FREE BOOK!


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Monday, October 6, 2008

Sermon Series Begins

We started our new sermon series entitled "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church". In the opening sermon I tried to argue that the church needs the support of its members to be effectively successful. Here is the sermon outline:

Topic: The Importance of Supporting the Local Church
Text: Various Scriptures

The book Nehemiah tells of Nehemiah’s desire to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. News was delivered to him by his brother and fellow countrymen that the place they called home was destroyed, demolished, gone, trashed, no more. Nehemiah starts to weep and pray to God on the behalf of Israel.

He continues on with his daily duties as a cupbearer for king Artaxeras. The king notices that Nehemiah is not the same Nehemiah on this particular day so he asks Nehemiah what’s wrong with you. Nehemiah proceeds to tell him of his desire to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and ask the king for his permission and blessing. The king consents and Nehemiah is on his way to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah organizes work on the wall, assigning sections to families, neighborhoods, and even guilds of tradesmen. But in verse 5 of chapter 3 something interesting is mentioned in the chapter. The text says; “Next to them the Tekoites made repairs, but their nobles did not put their shoulders to the work of their Lord”.

This verse makes an interesting claim that there will be people in the church who will not support the church no matter how worth while the efforts of church may be.

The answers to the question as to why people will not support the church are too many to list. However, one thing can be said here is that the church suffers because of a lack of support from it’s members. People don’t support the church like they used to. That is not to say that the church has always had 100% support from the membership. But it is to say that support for the local church growing to almost non-existent.

Pastors, leaders, and workers have to come up with administrative strategies to get people to support the church. Some pastors settle for what they can get creating ministerial frustration and stress that ultimately causes that pastor to suffer burn-out to the point of quitting the ministry.

There are some members in the church who will not support the church simply because of personal prejudices, traditions, rituals, habits, and comfort. Some members are waiting for the church to fail because the leader(s) did not do it the way they thought it should be done.

And if the church fails, a building project fails, a ministry program fails, and/or membership drops off it’s never the members fault. It’s the leaders (specifically, the pastor).
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I’m convinced that this topic is one requiring immediate attention in our church as well as churches across this land and here’s why:

I believe the success of the local church is dependant on how much you invest into the local church. I believe the effectiveness of the local church is dependant on how much you support it.

Thesis Statement: The successful effectiveness of the local church is dependant on you, membership support.

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rust destroys and where thieves cannot break in and steal. For where treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Here’s the point I want to make here with this verse, if God doesn’t have your heart the church will not have your support.

So, how do we get people to become active supporters of the church? My answer, base your support on biblical principles not personal prejudices.

Here are three (3) Biblical Reasons the Local church is in need of you support:

1. The Mission of the Local Church - Matthew 28:18-20
Point: Supporting the local church is committing to fulfilling the Great Commission

2. The Message of the Local Church - John 5:39-40; Ephesians 4:4-6; Jude 3
Point: Supporting the local church helps carry the gospel message across the world

3. The Ministry of the Local Church - 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:15; Matthew 7:24-29
Point: Supporting the local church enables the church to build a firm biblical foundation of sound doctrine.
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There is a fourth point I wanted to make in the opening sermon but thought it deserves a lesson by itself to stress it's importance. So, this coming Sunday, in part 2 of this message, we will study the biblical principle of The Membership of the Local Church. I've most the research but need more and then formulate my thoughts to drive the point home.

I pray this sermon series increases FGMBC's membership to greater support of the church's efforts. Please keep us in your prayers.