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Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Review

This weekend was very much needed. I can't say I got much rest but Tracy and I did have a lot of fun hanging out together. Friday, we spent all day together. Our day started paying bills and then I took her to the mall to purchase something for her to wear and to have a manicure/pedicure. While she was being tended to I took the car to Jiffy Lube for a quick service before our weekend got started.

We wanted to get rid of the kids for the weekend but for some reason it just couldn't seem to work out. Needless to say, our teenagers was with us the entire weekend and we made some adjustments to enjoy each others company.

We got dressed and headed to the concert. LA traffic is the worst! We left at 5:30 pm and did not make it to the Greek Theatre until almost 8 pm. This messed up our dinner plans. So we went to The Hat for a pastrami sandwich and fries and ate on our way to the concert. What a romantic dinner,uh!

We finally made it to the concert and I found out that one of my favorite jazz artist, George Duke was performing as well. When he came on stage he lit the place up with jazz funk. I'm really impressed with George Duke because his drummer is a 20 year old out of Compton, Ca whom he groomed straight out of high school and he can play. They slammed for about 20 minutes and the crowd went crazy.

Then it was time for Anita Baker. She gave a good show. We saw her last year but was disappointed because it took her 2 hours to come out and the set was not good at all. But this time was totally different. Anita can sing and her set was excellent. On a side note, people are crazy. There were two white women who came and just took over some seats in front of us. They were dancing (off beat) and drunk like you wouldn't believe. As a matter of fact, one lady fell down the stairs. She didn't get hurt but everyone was laughing up a storm and that was because of how she was acting th entire in the concert getting on everyone's nerves. We got home only to find our teenagers up bright eyed and bushy-tailed like it was noon, UGH!!!

Friday was good hanging out. While we were at the concert the kids went to they're high school football game with some friends. Varsity got spanked but a weak team.

Saturday was restful in the morning. Since the kids were here we made them clean up and Tracy and I went to Food-4-Less to buy groceries. We took our time to enjoy each others company in the grocery store (we had to make the most of every opportunity). Later in the afternoon we went to the Getty Center in Malibu which is a Greek Museum. It was boring. All sculptures looked the same after a while so we had coffee and a cookie and came home to rest before going to dinner later that night.

We went to Black Angus for dinner and our plan was to go to a movie but by the time we finished eating we both were tired. I blamed it on her that she couldn't hang as teenager and that's why we didn't go to the movies. Truth is I'm used to going to bad at 9:30 pm every night and no good after that, work or no work. My body is timed to sleep at 9:30 pm no later than 10 pm. We got home laid down and she started talking to me but I went to sleep.

Saturday was good hanging out with my wife!

Sunday morning I woke up at my usual time, 5 am and had some devotional time with prayer and reading scripture. I needed to go to the church to drop off some announcements and other things for the service. But before I left I wanted to watch HB's first Sunday at Shiloh. I was able to watch most of the service but time was running out so I had to leave to go to the church. It looked like all was well during the service until Tracy called to tell me that our niece Natalie was sick. So, I prayed for her and all is well.

When I got the church the contractors was working which surprised me because I told them I didn't want them working on Sunday. But then I thought about it and maybe it was good thing because then the members can see progress. I left it alone this weekend but no more Sundays going forward if we can help it.

I stayed there for a couple hours and Tracy called wanting to know if I went into the church and my immediate response was, NO! But then I called her back and told her I did go into the church of which she knew already. Our oldest daughter Kari and our grandson came over and hung out with us all day. We had breakfast, I fixed my bike, and I had my first softball game as well.

Our plans was to go to the LA County Fair but I came up with another idea after weighing money spent. LA County Fair or a Wii game. We decided to purchase a Wii game and cook dinner which turned out perfect.

Our grandson is a boy at heart. He played until he couldn't play anymore and wanted to keep on playing the Wii game. After about 12 hours, I was glad to see come but I was also glad to see him go.

We laid down for the night and crashed quickly.

This morning we ran more errands and had lunch at Bubba Gumps. We ate so much that we didn't even bother to make dinner so the kids ate leftovers.

Overall the weekend was good eventhough a lot of things didn't go the way I wanted but the time Tracy and I spent together was much needed and enjoyable. She asked me today, Do you feel guilty about not going to church? My answer, NO! I've attended and/or preached every Sunday this year. I think I deserve some me time and not feel guilty about it. And, I don't.

Work starts in the morning but I'm glad about this weekend. I love Tracy a lot and it's during these moments that reminds me why we got married. Keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE

This is an update to let you know how things are going with our project. All is well! Here are a few pictures:












This is the pulpit I'm going to go with because it's in our budget. Also, I'm under the conviction that the pulpit doesn't produce a preacher, the preacher produces a good pulpit. Hope it make sense.

Additional news, we're considering purchasing a van from my home church. It's been well kept. We will invest about another $1500 in it for paint, lettering, and detail. I'm meeting with leaders on next week to discuss this purchase before any other buyers some forth.

Keep praying for us, it's working!


This Sunday our church is having combined service with the spanish church. It works well because the pastor can't speak spanish (weird) so they'll be able to understand everything he says. And he's a good preacher. Next week our services will begin at 8:30 am until construction is completed. This will be a challenge for me to have my work done ahead of time. In general, I use good portion of Sunday mornings to complete my work and set as much as I can to memory.


While this weekend is a weekend for Tracy and I to hang out, I'll be doing some reading in the process to get a head start on my new sermon series: "The Importance of Supporting Your Church".



Hey, did you get the book download? If not, get it! It will help you.

Until next time keep smiling!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Essential Church


Here is a free book download to read, go to www.bhpublishinggroup.com/leadership/contestslw.asp.
Why do so many young adults (18 to 22) leave the church, and what will it take to bring them back? This important question is examined and duly answered in Essential Church?, a follow-up to Thom S. Rainer’s best-selling Simple Church cowritten this time with his son, research expert Sam Rainer.

The book is based on a study of one-thousand so-called "church dropouts" who were interviewed about why they left. Their answers are quite surprising, having less to do with "losing their religion" and more about the desire for a community that isn’t made stale by simply maintaining the status quo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Execution!

I've discovered a new definition for execution from a book I read entitled; "Execution" by Larry Bossidy, former Chairman and CEO of Honeywell International. The book is geared towards corporate America but it caused me to think more about the church. Larry defines execution as the discipline of getting things done. Here's a quote from his book that made me think about the church:

People think of execution as the tactical side of business. That's the first big mistake. Tactics are central to execution, but execution is not tactics. Execution is fundamental to strategy and has to shape it. No worthwhile strategy can be planned without taking into account the organization's ability to execute it (p. 21).


When I read this paragraph and continued through the rest of the book, I started thinking of how many times in the church do we plan, strategize, plan, and strategize but we do not execute. The reasons are many for not executing our plans in the church. But, my question is can our minstry plan be executed in the church?


I started writing some things that I've applied to my own work as a Christian that has helped me to juggle all the various responsibilities I have to face on a daily basis. Let me share them with you.


1. Write out the plan - "Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever" (Isaiah 30:8). One of the biggest mistakes we make in ministry is not transferring our goals for ministry to paper. Some people think it's not important. But I disagree. When I first arrived at FGMBC, I sat down with God, a pen, and some paper to write a 5, 10, and 15 year ministry plan. It took much prayer and seeking God for direction but as of today I have a plan. When we seriously started considering our Restore The Land Project this year, we didn't just start talking about in 2008. Actually, it was in our ministry plan in 2003 and then 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. I believe it's important to write out a plan for clear focus and direction. I also wrote a 5 year preaching plan that is rotating every year to keep clear focus and direction. However, keep in mind that writing a plan is good but always leave room for God to come and change it when necessary. This is His church that we're privileged to be a part of.


2. Take your time - "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it" (Luke 14:28). Don't rush to complete your planning without first considering the resources available to you. Every church has resource limitations but there are so many avenues available to the church to think outside the box while not compromising biblical positions to accomplish your goals.


3. Be confident about the plan - "...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ"(Philippians 1:6). This text in my opinion explains this point very well. So we'll move on.
4. Wait on God - There's so many verse related to waiting on God, you pick one yourself. I wrestle with this particular point because taking your time and waiting on God seem to be partners in effective execution. However, taking your time deals with you doing your part while waiting on God is God doing His part. We can never forget about God in our planning, this is His church not ours.
5. Pray about the plan - Again, get a concordance and select your own verse here. There is no order of priority in these suggestions to execute a minstry plan and/or life plan. But if I had to place priority, pray is at the top of the list. Remember, this is God's church and the only way to know what God wants to do in His church is to talk to Him about His church. Prayer starts your plan and prayer will complete your plan. Never get too busy to pray in planning!
6. Communicate your plan - Effective communication about where God is taken the church is vital to the success of executing a ministry plan. Don't force the plan on anyone, communicate it. People are more apt to go with you when they know where you're going.
7. Select the right people for the right position - If you've ever played the game Perfection where you match shape with shape within a 1 minute. You will find that a square will fit into a triangle space. Over time, if you don't place all the pieces in the corresponding space shape the game explodes and you lose. I've discovered in church that many people are working in the wrong spaces. We're more interested in filling positions for the sake of filling positions in church rather than encouraging people in areas of giftedness and what we have is an explosion, boom! Encourage areas of giftedness.
8. Don't be afraid to fail - It has been said that failure is not option. Wrong! Failure is an option. Failure is not the problem, it's how we respond to failure that's the problem. Peter is a real good example of failure. He followed Christ for 3 years and denied Christ 3 times in one day. However, Jesus restored His relationship with Peter and Peter became one of the best preaching apostles of the New Testament (read The Book of Acts). Here's the final analysis, we're all one big mistake away from being used by God!
Let's strive for excellence by commitment to executing our God desired goals for His church.
Ministry is a joy when done the right way which is the Lord's way.
Grace and peace be yours through Jesus Christ.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Summary!

Due to our construction, we made plans to worship with my home church, Mt Sinai, as this was my pastor's last Sunday at the church. We arrived late to 8 o'clock service and HB was up preaching already. The atmosphere was filled with mixed emotions. Celebrative because the church celebrated 66 years of God's faithfulness to the church but also heart-breaking due to pastor's departure.

This was my first visit to the new location since they moved from 18th St, it's a nice facility in a good neighborhood. The 10 o'clock service still carried the same atmosphere of mixed emotions, celebrative and heart-breaking but they wanted to have church which was a good sign. Many of FGMBC members showed up of which I'm very proud of them, Thank you!

Pastor preached from Numbers 6:22-27; "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: "The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace."' "So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them."

His message was entitled; "A Great Blessing For A New Beginning" (I'll let him post his outline). But I have to give one point of the message that has stuck with me and is right on time for our church. He said in the message (to the Mt Sinai church but I'm taking home to FGMBC) that as you move forward, God has your back. Wow!!!!!!

He preached!!!

After the excitement of the message subsided, the room was filled with grief as he began to announce he and his families departure plans for the week and requested the prayers of family and friends. I must admit I too had to fight back the tears.

After service, Tracy and I went to my daughter Kari's house for tacos. The ride was very quite and here's why. HB is my wife's brother and my brother-in-law. We didn't say much during the ride because I know it's hard for her to see HB, Crystal, HB III, Natalie, and Haley leave. When we headed back to the church the ride was more intense with emotions and I really didn't know what to say so I kept quiet.

The afternoon service began with much excitement but the place was still filled with mixed emotions, celebrative and heart-breaking. As I listened to some of the guys give reflections about working alongside of HB through the years, I said to myself; "I have a lot of history here" because all that was said I remembered as well and the tears began to flow.

  • I remembered being locked out of the church and having church on the lawn.
  • I remembered, climbing through the window to open the doors to enter in and have church and on the other side of the window were security guards with weapons.
  • I remembered, Tracy and I getting married at the church. We didn't take a honeymoon because of the church anniversary and we wanted to be there. And, we didn't want to go anywhere this time because we wanted to be there.
  • I remembered, HB, Ronald, Scharmaine, and myself going to the music store to purchase microphones to install for worship.
  • I remembered, the days that HB come to the Valley to pick me up for worship service and then we would travel to Woodland Hills to pick up Charles and then to Arcadia to pickup Ronald and stop at McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich before 8 o'clock service. This took place fot at least a year.
  • I remebered, the classes we had on preaching every Saturday morning.
  • I remembered, going to work at Mt Sinai full time as Pastor of Christian Education.
  • I remebered, playing the drums when we didn't have a drummer.
  • I remebered, when we didn't have a choir as HB, Ronald, and I led worship services. You would've thought we were a low-budget Commission.

The list of memories goes on and on. All I can say is thank God for letting me work alongside of HB Charles Jr for so many years.

Pastor Melvin V Wade of Mt Moriah church preached, wow, what a message!

With the room being filled with mixed emotions, worship was still excellent. It was good fellowshipping with the brethren again in worship and seeing familiar faces I have not seen in a while.

When we got home last night, it was still emotional for Tracy so I left her alone and watch the Cowboys spank the Green Bay Packers before falling asleep on the couch.

This week please be in prayer for pastor Charles and his family (Crystal, HB III, Natalie, Haley, Ellen Charles, Tracy, Harriette, Lil Harriette, Louis, and Muffy) as well as the entire Mt Sinai church and city of Los Angeles. He's not dead just moving and believe me, he will be back to preach real soon.

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As a testimony, the church and I went to Mt Sinai to be blessing to pastor. However, we left being blessed with a check as an investment towards our building project. God is faithful to perform.

"And My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory through Christ Jesus". - Phil. 4:19

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This weekend Tracy and I plan to spend the weekend together without the kids. Friday, we're going to see Anita Baker at the Greek Theatre. Anita is one of our favorite RB/Jazz singers as well as our first official date when met some 20 years ago. Saturday, we're going to the Getty Center in Malibu. This is a Greek museum with scupltures, paintings, etc. Later that night, we're going to be teenagers with a burger and a movie. Sunday, I'm taking off from preaching and the church. So, I made reservations for a jazz brunch that I've been wanting to go to for years but could not. And then we're going to the LA County Fair with the kids for the rest of the day into the evening.

I'll close this blog the same way Pastor Wade closed his message; "May, the Lord watch between me and thee while we're absent one from another".

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Wedding Anniversary!

Today, Tracy and I celebrate 16 years of marriage. Many people thought we wouldn't make it but look at God.

Happy Anniversary, T-Baby!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE

We're coming to the end of week of demolition and everything is moving pretty good. I spoke to the contractor on yesterday and his goal is to complete project by 1st week of Nov. This places some pressure on receiving our furnishings but that's ok because the major part of renovation will be completed. I want to post pictures of completed demolition but it's too many post. So, if you want to see progress go to our website http://www.fgmbc.org/restore_the_land_project_ and you can view progress has it unfolds.

We receive our first draw request this morning for deposits on seating, sound system, and kitchen cabinets. All is well so far, Praise God for His faithfulness.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Demolished!

Our sanctuary is now gone! The contractors came in yesterday and started demolition process. Our old stage, gone. Our old pews, gone. Our old carpet, gone. I mean in a matter of 8 hours change has taking place.


I'm so excited, I can hardly sleep. I meet with the contractor again this morning for clarification of what we want done. The asbestos contractor will come by the end of this week to scrape off acoustic ceiling and remove tile on the floor. This will take approx. 7-10 days to complete.


Also, I'm in the process of selecting a new pulpit. It's going to take approximately 5-6 weeks (after artwork approval for logo) for production/delivery. I haven't decided yet between these two plus they're a little expensive. So if any knows where I can search for pulpits please let me know so I can price them. I found these at www.prestigeglass.com.



Monday, September 15, 2008

It Is Finished!

The 7th saying of Jesus Christ from the cross was "It is finished". I can imagine the relief He felt after ending a week long of terrible treatment. Yesterday, after service, I declared my sermon series on the 5 Functions of the church (worship, ministry, evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship) has "It is finished". I started this sermon series in Jan. 2008. It should have been a 5 week sermon series that turned out be a 9 month sermon series but I was determined to complete it no matter how long it took.

I believe adopting these essential functions of the church developes a balanced ministry. This sermon series will a part of our new members orientation class that I'm formulating now to start in 2009 and my prayer is to take these sermons and publish as a book (longshot).

I formulated "Our Ministry Practice" in the acronym of F-I-R-S-T Essentials

F= Forget about ourselves and lend a helping hand
Text: Philippians 2:3-4
Our Commitment to Ministry
Thesis: Ministry is a shared life for benefit of someone else.

I. The Motive of Ministry - v. 3a
Point: A shared life is an unselfish life

II. The Manner of Ministry - v. 3b
Point: A shared life is a humble life

III. The Mission of Ministry - v. 4
Point: A shared life is a self-sacrificing life.


I = Involve Ourselves in the Lives of Others
Hebrews 10:19-25
Our Commitment to Fellowship
Thesis: Genuine fellowship draws us closer to God and to one another

I. The Motivation of Our Fellowship - v. 19-21
Point: In fellowship we can approach God together.

II. The Ministry of Our Fellowship - v. 22-24
Point: In fellowship we help each other draw closer to God

III. The Meeting of Fellowship - v. 25
Point: In fellowship we worship together

R=Rejoice in the Lord always and in all things
Psalms 34
Our Commitment to Worship
Thesis: Worship is more than an act to be performed its a daily commitment.

I. Committed Worship is PERSONAL Worship - v. 1-3
Point: Your worship means nothing to God it does not mean everything to you.

II. Committed Worship is Pursued Worship - v. 4-14
Point: Pursue worship as a way of life not just act in church

III. Committed Worship is Presentable Worship - v. 15-18
Point: God is watching your worship life.

IV. Committed Worship is Persevering Worship - v. 19-22
Point: Don't stop worshipping because times are hard.

S=Share the good news with others
1 Peter 3:15
Our Commitment to Evangelism
Thesis: No matter the trial or tribulation, we must stand up for Christ and be a witness.

I. The Measure of our witness - v. 15a
Point: The effectiveness of our witness will be based on the life we live. In witnessing, your life matters. Exhortation, protect you witness

II. The Message of our witness - v. 15b
Point: The effectiveness of our witness will be based on the message that share. Exhortation, get the message right!

III. The Manner of our witness - v. 15c
Point: The effectiveness of our witness is on the attitude we display in evangelism

T = Teach others to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ
Philippians 3:12-16
Our Commitment to Discipleship
Thesis: Discipleship will mean nothing to others if it does not mean everything to you. Discipleship starts with you!

I. Discipleship is Personal - v. 12
Point: Discipleship doesn't just happen its an intentional personal pursuit.

II. Discipleship is a Process - v. 13a
Point: Spiritual maturity starts with knowledge that leads to change. Take one step at a time.

II. Discipleship is Purposeful - v. 13b-14
Point: Finish what you started!

III. Discipleship is about People - v. 15
Point: Effective discipleship is relationship building

IV. Discipleship is Possible - v. 16
Point: Christian discipleship is possible to achieve but stay the course.

I pray God will have us to be a healthy well-balanced ministry that meets needs of the total person through "Our Pratice".

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Today, contractors are starting to demolish our sanctuary. Yesterday felt so weird because everything had been moved (except for the pews) and it looked like an empty building. The word must getting out about our renovation because in the past two weeks some of the older members have come by to visit our church and have been able to hear what we're doing. One of members was a musician who came back when first started pastoring FGMBC but left to travel with his group. Others in attendance don't go anywhere. So, strategically, I make mention of our renovation plans as a sign of progress and change.

After service, we selected paint colors to coordinate with our chair fabric. I handed out assignments to some of the members and we still had a few things to move out of the building to make ready for contractors. I didn't get home until almost 3 pm. Long day.

What was a dream has now turned into reality.

This coming Sunday, we're worshipping with my home church Mt Sinai as they celebrated their church anniversary and this will be the last Sunday for Pastor Charles and family at the church. So, we're going to stay the whole day. I don't want to do anything just worship with them.

Until we post again, may God bless you and keep you is our prayer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

GOD IS GOOD!

I remember the day terrorist attacked on 9/11/2001. I got a call from my wife, Tracy and she says with panic in her voice; "Babe, did you hear, did you hear?" With nervousness I respond; "Hear about what?" Then she starts to tell me about the terrorists attack and by this time everyone started receiving calls from loved ones. The entire company stopped working and went into the lunchroom to watch the news. The scene was horrifying, upsetting, troubling, and devastating something I thought I would never see in my lifetime. The weeks to follow was nothing less than troubling due to the body count that kept rising in number of people who died in the attack on America. It felt like I was watching a movie without special effects. This was a real life event.

A week later we celebrated our church anniversary at Mt Sinai with a week of revival services. Pastor Reginald Terry of Antioch Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska preached from Psalms 100. I can't remember his topic but the message was right on time after a tragedy like 9/11 to preach on worship.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God!It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving,and his courts with praise!Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good;his steadfast love endures forever,and his faithfulness to all generations.
I left service encouraged that night. I left encouraged because in the midst of tragedy nothing changes the that fact that GOD IS GOOD!
- We lift our voices because God is good!
- We serve God because God is good!
- We sing unto the Lord because God is good!
- We acknowledge God's creative ability, God is good!
- We give thanks because God is good!
- We give praise to God because God is good!
- We don't understand everything God is doing much of the time but God is still good!
- We get frustrated with life's challenges but always remember God is good!
Even in the midst of tragic situations like 9/11, let it be known across all the world that the God we serve is good all the time! As we remember 9/11, focus on the goodness of God to carry you through the effects of 9/11 on your life.

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.
Refrain:Ask the Savior to help you,Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;He is willing to aid you,He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain;Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true;Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown,Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down;He who is our Savior, our strength will renew;Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Atheist and the Marine

I received this email today and wanted to share it for a good laugh, enjoy!

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments.
He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.
One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, 'God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 minutes.'

The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, 'Here I am God. I'm still waiting.' It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his Chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently. The other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, 'What the hell is the matter with you? Why did you do that?' The Marine calmly replied, 'God was too busy today protecting America's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like a jerk. So, He sent me.'

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE

This is an update to our project progress. Today, we meet with the Electric company to discuss amp upgrade from 200 amps to 400 amps which is the legal amp requirement for a commercial building in LA. We must eliminate wires overhead in the parking lot and go underground so they will cut from the street to the building for meter placement.

We will also meet with our sound engineer to discuss requirements for jacks, projector, stage lighting, screens, etc. The architect will draw plans and contractor will install as required.

There is so much to be done I'm going to cancel our Wednesday night bible study for the month of September. But, I'm going to implement a 24 hour prayer ministry. Each member will commit to one hour of prayer every Wednesday for the next 4 weeks (9/10, 9/17, 9/24, and 10/1).

Paul says to the church at Philippi; "Don't worry about anything but in everything with prayer and thanksgiving make your request known to God". We're praying specifically:

- That God will continue to lead and guide us through the renovation process
- That God will honor our step of faith by providing our daily needs financially to pay back loan and operate daily in ministry
- That God will increase our membership numerically through evangelism and discipleship
- That God will protect the contractor and workers
- That every member in our church will continue to step up to the plate in their area of giftedness
- That the Word of God will not go lacking due to my administrative responsibilities
- That our "Praising In The Sun" Services will have a positive impact on the community
- For humility and unity in our congregation
- That God will keep me in good health; physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally
- That God will protect my family (Tracy, Aysia, and Myles) from every attack of the enemy

Please join us in prayer and I can't wait to share the testimony in the near future.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Thoughts of This Weekend

How can I explain this weekend? Busy, tiring, stressful, frustrating, flunkserville, happy its over!

Man, this weekend was crazy. I worked Saturday for 5 hours and then left went to the church to start moving more stuff. I wasn't sure what we were going to do with all the junk we had in the building because the trash company did not empty our bin last week. So, I started putting stuff in the parking lot and a gentlemen asked if he could have it? Of course my answer was yes please take it! That helped out a lot. After we closed up shop, I went home laid on the couch and could not move because I was so exhausted. Later that evening, I got my laptop computer to get ready for Sunday and could not pull it together so I got mad and went to bed.

Sunday morning arrived and I still could not pull it together. So I preached a sermon from 2000 entitled: "On The Right Path Towards Blessedness" from Psalms 1. Heres the sermon outline:

Thesis: Blessed people are people who follow God's course for their lives.

1. The Requirements for Blessedness - v. 1

- Don't take worldly advice - Blessed is the man who walks not in counsel of the ungodly

- Don't act like people in the world - nor stands in the way sinners

- Don't get comfortable - nor sits in the seat of the scornful


2. The Results of Blessedness - v. 2-3

- A Strong Life - But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.

- A Secured Life - And he shall be life a tree planted by the rivers of water

- A Fruitful Life - That brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither

- A Prosperous Life - And whatever he does shall prosper


3. The Reassurance in Blessedness - v. 4-6

- The ways of the ungodly will perish - v. 4-5

- God knows the ways of the righteous - v. 6

God pulled me through but if I had to grade my sermon effort from yesterday, I got an "F". Only God knows the fruit that shall come to pass.

The architect brought the plans on Saturday for us to review. All looks well but I'm a little disappointed in the design of the stage area. Due to ADA requirements for disability, I need a 15ft ramp. I can't place ramp in the back of stage because there's not enough space so designed for in front of the stage which in my opinion takes away from the Octagon stage appearance. I still have a little time before they start building the stage and during that time the architect and I will work something out.

An old member who left the before I got there came to worship with us on yesterday. I laid the plans out to the church to review and explain what we're doing with bathrooms, electrical, etc after church. He stayed to hear and got excited about the direction we're going in. Who knows what will come of it. He doesn't attend any church currently and his heart is still at First Goodwill.

We did not have our "Praising in the Sun" service yesterday, we will have it this coming Sunday instead. And the weekend of the 20th, we're going to my home church Mt. Sinai to spend the whole day with them as that will be Pastor Charles last Sunday and church anniversary.

Still a lot to do this week but I have to find some time to commit to my study. I don't want another preaching moment like this past weekend.

Please pray my strength in the Lord.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Decisions To Be Made

I've been instructed to start thinking of stage designs for our church sanctuary. One idea is a circle stage but I don't think this will work only because of the building structure of church as well as certain building codes that limits our ability to puul this one off.




The other idea is an octagon stage. The image seen here is what I'm leaning towards. It suits our building structure perfectly and allows us to meet all building and safety codes. And it provides additional seating space for growth. I want to create additional seating capacity during this project for the numeric growth that will come.


The other stage idea is a square stage but this is too basic. I want something that provides flexibility and a more contemporary appearance for all activities while ministering to all ages at the same time. I must consider the band pit of which we have a 12 pc drum set, 3 pianos, and a B3 organ. I also have to consider a choir stand that I would rather have as portable for flexibility and yet have the traditional scene of choir stand. I think it will work either way because we're purchasing individual chairs and making a portable banister to hide women's legs when wearing dresses in the choir.

Stage will be made of cement rather than wood. The reason is because I don't want the extra sound from feet tapping and kids dancing during worship services. Also, by cementing the stage I will be recording ready because it provides additional acoustics and eliminates any potential echoing sounds when in production for television, CD, and/or DVD. This is my theory from my musical background but the sound engineer will make the call when we meet next week.

In any case, the architect is designing all three stage designs for me to review by the end of next week. We have to select paint, carpet, and tile. Paint and carpet is being selected based on the fabric of our chairs. I don't want the church to be just one color throughout. I prefer having a base color and accent colors that will compliment base color (Ok, I saw an episode of HGTV with my wife Tracy, once, maybe twice) =).

We're selecting new doors, windows, and kitchen set up. Again, decisions decisions decisions!

Tomorrow, we meet at 9 am to finish church cleaning, I have to get ready to preach Sunday morning, and I have to work this Saturday for at least 6 hours (3am - 9 am, we meet at 9 am at the church).

A lot to do in a short period of time. Please, please, Pray my strength in the Lord.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

RESTORE THE LAND PROJECT UPDATE



We signed loan documents last night and construction will begin on Sept 15th, 2008. So, while we going over documentation with broker, many of the members were packing up the kitchen area, clearing out closets, and so forth to get ready for contractors to come in and start.

First item one the agenda, before anything else, is to clear the building of asbestos. It's in the tile and acoustic ceiling of our facility and removal with AQMD permit approval will take at least 2 weeks to complete. It's been a lot of work for us but the membership is really excited about this endeavor. We're going to come together on this Saturday to throw away and move more items. It was our goal to be out and contractors come in on this coming Monday. But funds won't be available for at least week so we have another week to finish. All is still on schedule to be complete by the end of November.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Entering Into Pastoral Ministry

We played our championship basketball game last night of which we lost (no excuses to be made). I didn't play well because my ankles (both of them) are sooooo bad from many years of playing that now I feel the pain of not going to the doctor to check on ankle sprains. I think it's time to retire but that's going to be extremely hard to do. My bother and I are thinking of taken up weight lifting as a sport to keep in shape.

On my way home from the game I started thinking about my entering into pastoral ministry 6 years ago and all the events leading up to that point. I wasn't recommended to First Goodwill by anyone to be their pastor. As a matter of fact, I was told on more than one occasion that I was not ready to pastor FMGBC let alone any church. As much as this may have crushed my ego, the truth of the matter is they were right. I was not ready to pastor a church. But then on the other hand, who is? The qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 pretty much disqualifies many of us from being and/or becoming a pastor. The instructions given to elders in 1 Peter 5:1-4 challenges us to maintain the proper motivation in ministry which, in my conviction, disqualifies many of us. But in the midst of it all, I was encouraged to read Paul's testimony to young Timothy years ago when he says: 12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to [fn1] God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

This verse has become one of my life passages because of what Paul says to encourage Pastor Tim. Here's what the testimony of Paul teaches us about ministry:

- God enables us for ministry: God does not call a man to pastoral ministry without making sure he's able to do the job effectively and efficiently. All that we accomplish in ministry is God's doing. It's our responsibility to make ourselves available to be used by God. God enables us when we prepare ourselves. I love the church and did whatever I could in the church from childhood up until now. I played drums, sang in the choir, picked up paper, locked/unlocked the church, change light bulbs, etc. I have all training material from the days spent with Pastor Charles on expository preaching in his office from 1995. And much of what I'm able to do in ministry now is the result of years preparation that has enable me for this time in my life today. God is good in placing people and circumstances in our lives to prepare us for future service.

- God honors faithfulness: God is watching our faithfulness. A few years ago I wanted to quit, primarily because I allowed the opinions of others to get to me, until I saw BET's documentary "Exalted" which highlighted the ministries of Carlton Pearson, Kenneth Ulmer, Paul Morton, Charles Blake, and Eugene Rivers. I worked along side Pastor Charles during some troubling years and witnessed him preach week after week faithfully. And now God is elevating him and his ministry. I have a friend and prayer partner in Pastor Reginald Payne who's been pastoring for 14 years faithfully, God is blessing is ministry tremendously. The list goes and on but all of these ministries have been rewarded because of years and years and years of faithfulness to the work even when the work and some of life's events got the best of them. We can't expect God to bring the harvest if we're not willing to work in the fields. Minstry can be hard but it's worth it in the end. Stay faithful to God!

- God calls us into ministry: It is God who makes the call into minstry. God could have chosen anybody else to lead FGMBC but he chose me. What a blessing! One of my leaders asked me Sunday after we ate dinner together, "How does a church go about selecting a pastor?" I told him that is depends on the circumstances. If a pastor leaves due to following God's direction to pastor another church many times he will provide the church with potential candidates for the church to consider. If a pastor dies or leaves without any explanation, then the church is left to form a pulpit committee which then places ads in the paper, on a website, or whatever in search of pastoral candidates. Which then requires resumes, interviews, etc. He responded; "Like a job!" And I said; "Yes, you can say that". I then said to him; "But always remember that the final call belongs to God". Bottom-line is that God is the sovereign selector for pastoral ministry.

After this reflection last night, I started thanking God for His sovereign selection of me into pastoral ministry at FGMBC. It's been a long hard road but thank God, He's not done with me yet.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Start of 7 Years At FGMBC

I just thought about something, Sunday (8/31/08) started the beginning of my 7th year as pastor of First Goodwill MBC. WOW, time flies when you're having fun ! Praise God, I made it.

We Can Do It Better Together

Labor day was very restful for me after a long good Sunday. We spent the day at Dockwieler Beach eating sandwiches, chips, and fruits. It was very good!

Sunday morning worship was outstanding! The 5th Sundays are dedicated to our "WE (Women Empowered) Ministry". The women of our church led devotion and my wife Tracy spoke on their theme in Romans 12:2; "A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste. She did an outstanding job.

The sermon for Sunday came from Matthew 18:19-20: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midsts of them".

Topic: "We Can Do It Better Together"

Word of Importance: UNITY

Context: Verses 15-18 teaches us how to deal with a sinning brother. Verses 19-20 encourages maintained unity in the church through togetherness.

Thesis: Christian living will be so much better when we come together.

I. We Can Do Better Together Through PRAYER - v. 19a

Point: Unity is maintained with believing prayer.

- Prayer must be a priority: "Again I say to you..."
- Prayer must be unified: "...that if two of you agree on earth..."
- Prayer must have a common goal: "...concerning anything that they ask."

II. We can Better Together With His PROMISES - v. 19b

Point: If we pray, God will move!

- God's promises are guaranteed: "...it will be done for them..."
- God is the source of our promises: "by My Father in heaven"

III. We can do it better together in His Presence - v. 20

Point: God dwells in unity!

- The Authority of God Is Present: "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name".
- The Assurance of God Is Present: "I am in the midst"
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Sunday afternoon was our women's ministry 5th Sunday service. The Lord moved in the service tremendously. My Auntie gave words of encouragement to our women and dear friend of the family, Dorothy Love, spoke to the women of our church. God used both of these women in great way. As I was sitting in the service, God placed it on my heart to close the service in a mini-prayer service before going home. Boy! That led to shouting moments. Overall, the day was great!
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This week is going to be extremely busy for me. We sign loan documents this week. We're clearing the church this week to get ready for construction. We're setting the parking lot up for our Praising in the Sun services. Sermon preparation required. It is my goal to finish our sermon series that seems to have a pattern of every other week for the preaching moment. I have to work. My son has his first high school football game and they, Aysia and Myles, start school. I need to cut my sons hair. And list goes on and on.

As the elders would say during testimony periods, "Pray my strength in the Lord!"