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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.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Confirmation!!!!!!!!

I met with our leaders last night to update the status of our project as well as carry-out some necessary administrative business. All went well until we started discussing finances. Our giving has been off due to our construction and the fact that for the past two Sundays we had combined services with my home church and the Hispanic church. This Sunday our service time will change to 8:30 am until the completion of our construction efforts and I don't see many supporting the time change.

I proceeded to tell our leaders that I'm not surprised at the lack of support by many of our members so far and I don't believe it's going to stop here. They had a puzzled look on their faces and I told the story of Nehemiah. After Nehemiah heard the tragic news of his hometown, he started praying immediately for favor to go back and rebuild. God heard his prayer and granted him favor to leave king Artaxerxes and go back to Jerasulem to rebuild the city. In chapter 3 we see leaders, priest, sons, brothers, daughters and grandsons come together to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. But in verse 5 the bible says; "The next section was repaired by the men of Tekoa, but their nobles would not put their shoulders to the work under their supervisors" - NIV. The point is this everybody is not going to support a worth-while effort no matter how worth-while the effort maybe. But, they're lack of support will not and did not stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem. I told our leaders that we will not receive full support of many members but that doesn't mean FGMBC will not be rebuilt with God's help.

As we continued our discussion, it was confirmed that the new sermon series I'm preparing to preach this Sunday, "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church", is well needed.

The support level since our construction began has been less than supportive. I have members who are disguntled because I didn't do it the way they think it should have been done. Others are disgruntled and feelings hurt due to some events that took place earlier this year in leadership changes that God navigated not ME. The result, lack of support in presence and finance. I explained to them that I knew this was coming and our economy is affecting many of our financial lives. But this is not the time to panic but to trust God, personally and corporately as a church.

I made a spare of the moment decision to have my pay cut for the month of October but then retrieved from that right away. It's too early to start cutting anything especially my financial support simply because people are non-supportive right now. We need to watch and pray instead.

I took a few moments to pray for direction before going any further with our discussion as they were writing checks to pay our bills. My nervousness and stress level quickly turned to celebration. I started thanking God for opposition because if all of this came easy then I would think it was of me not God. Not only that, we're writing checks to pay bills, me included that's more than enough reason to celebrate. We're not overflowing with cash but God is supplying our every need (and then some).

We will feel the crunch from the state of our economy as well as some lack of support from the members in the last quarter of 2008. But, God is still faithful to perform.

I woke up this morning excited wanting to see what God is going to do at the end of this. And believe you me, I believe God is able to exceedingly, abundantly, all we can ask or think.

I can't wait to get in the pulpit this Sunday. I'm to preach like a maniac, God willing!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

New Sermon Series

I'm preparing to start a new sermon series this coming Sunday entitled "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church". These messages are purposeful in challenging the member of FGMBC to step it up in their support efforts.

I'm struggling with the opening message because of the many thoughts I have in my head and so I'm trying to formulate how I should approach this opening message. The opening message will not be my typical attempt at expository preaching. Instead, it will be topical using various verses to explain why this sermon series is an important study for us as a church. Right now, it's been formulated into 3 parts and in my opinion that's too long. So, I'm trying to condense it so I can get to Supporting the Local Church:

With Your Love - 1 John 4:7-11
With Your Prayers - Colossians 4:2
With Your Gifts/Talents - Romans 12:3-8
With Your Stewardship - Genesis 2:15
With Your Worship - Nehemiah 9:8
With Your Service - 1 Peter 4:10-11
With Your Hospitality - 1 Peter 4:9

I'm excited about the series but I'm going to have to work hard through this one but working hard with messages like this makes a great preacher.

Please keep me in prayer during your prayer time.