Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Today worship service was good. We had our second ministry partnership trial service that went extremely well for both congregations. I intended to start my 4 part series on Matthew 28:19-20 but did not. So I preached an "ain't alright message (I'll explain later what that means) out of Luke 2:8-15 entitled "We Have Much To Shout About". Our attendance was good and God really showed up in our service.
Friday night had the privilege of spending the evening with my pastor, Bishop R.D Sanders. The dinner was done with excellence as food and fellowship was the order of the day. The conversation gave me much to think about as well as pray about in my own public ministry and private life. Bishop Sanders is proving to be a pastor's pastor and pray that will continue to increase our fellowship and friendship. He and the members of Mt Pilgrim served us crab legs, cornish hen, sirloin steak, wild rice, green beans, and some other meat I'm not familiar with but it was good. Desert was peach cobbler and coffee. The setting was done with excellence! Thank you pastor for such a good time of fellowship.
I won't be attending Palm Springs this year for the Western Baptist State Convention's Congress of Christian Education due to my new employment and limited finances. I will be praying that all goes well for all those in attendance.
Ok, it looks like I will be blogging now on Sundays rather than Mondays but we'll see.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you real good.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The service was well attended and Deacon and Sis Loud came to worship and it was a joy having them both in worship with us. We’ve been in a short-series of stewardship messages and we continued with a message out of the book of Hebrews:
Topic: A Faith For Life’s Uncertainties
Text: Hebrews 11:8-10
Thesis: A faith for life’s uncertainties is a faith that trusts God when we don’t have all the details.
I. A faith for life’s uncertainties is an obedient faith – v. 8
II. A faith for life’s uncertainties is content faith – v. 9
III. A faith for life’s uncertainties is an expectant faith – v. 10
I enjoyed worshipping and preaching, yesterday. Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I was able to sit back and enjoy worship without leading worship. It also helped that Nathan helped us on the organ as well. I tried my best not to get used to it but I sure did take advantage of it.
I’m now preparing for 2010 and as I look at 2009 I must say, God has been good and has favored our church in so many ways. With all of the challenges we faced this year, God has come through more than I can explain. What a mighty God we serve! Thank you Lord for continued mercies and grace!
Last week was my first week of work. It was challenging because I got use to going to the church. Now, I have to get back into the mood of studying on the go where I can fit it in as well as at times burn the midnight oil. I really can’t complain nor be ungrateful about working right now. I was laid off 9/30/09 and found a job on 11/15/09. I know there are some in the world still looking for a job for over six months (if not longer) but God showed me favor and for that I’m really grateful. So when you read my post and/or status updates on Facebook as to my job venture, please don’t take it as if I’m ungrateful or complaining. I am truly thankful for all that God has done and I accept His Sovereign will for my life during this season of my life. God knows what He’s doing, not I. I’m adjusting to the change.
Until next time live like you’re blessed!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This past Sunday service was good. God blessed every part of our worship Sunday. I preached a stewardship message entitled; “The Stewardship of Remembering God” – Deut 8. The point the message is to challenge believers to not forget about in good and/or bad times. I can’t remember the points off the top of my head right now.
We had a few guests who came in late but enjoyed what they did hear of the message.
I had to apologize to the church on Sunday because last week in our church conference meeting I made a comment that I feel may have hurt the morale of the church while I was exhorting (no, I was fussing). I commented that people were not giving financial like they should and could in the church and we’re now in a challenging position. I saw the look on their faces but I took it like I should lay into them more. So, I did!
In effort to finish some things before going back to work I created a financial spreadsheet to help with accurate record-keeping. I was only going to enter the first quarter of 2009 until I notice something unusual and encouraging; There’s people giving to the church now, consistently, that was not giving since I’ve been pastor. I started praising God but then my heart sank when I thought about what I said during our church conference. I told them I made a mistake in what I said but the exhortation of stepping up in our financial support still remained the same. Praise God for growth! People really paying attention.
After church, Tracy, the kids, few members, and I went to Deacon Loud’s house to eat the rest of their Thanksgiving dinner. It was good spending time with him and I believe the presence of some of the members really encouraged he and Sis Loud. He’s doing extremely but still a little weak so please keep him in your prayers,
Our women’s ministry held their final fellowship service of the year. The attendance was good and the service good. Tracy did an excellent job this year with our women and I applaud her efforts.
I started work again this week and I have mixed emotions about it. Trust me, I thank God for finding work in a short period of time but my heart, mind, and soul is at (as well as on) the ministry of First Goodwill. Right now is not the time for me to be a burden on the church. I’ve gotten used to going into the office praying and studying. I was just getting into a rhythm but not it’s changed. Mmmmaaaaaaannnnnn!!!!!!
I took the train for the first this week because the commute is going to kill my pocket-book in gas. It was a good experience and I think I will continue as long as I’m working in Culver City.
Please pray for me and my family as we adjusting to having our home broken during the Thanksgiving holiday. Now, I sleep with one eye open even though I know God has me covered.
Until next time live like you’re blessed!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Yesterday we concluded our study of Psalms 23 with verse 6 – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house the Lord forever”. Here’s the sermon skeleton:
Topic: I’m Living This Life To Live Again
Text: Psalms 23:6
Thesis Statement: I’m living this life just to live again!
Let’s look at the three (3) key components of living now just to live again:
I. The Certainty in this Life to Live Again – “Surely…”
A. The Certainty in this life is that God Is God
B. The Certainty in this life is that things will change – Psalms 30:1-11
C. The Certainty in this life is a reason to celebrate – Psalms 30:12
II. The Qualities of this Life to Live Again – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my Life”
A. The Power of Goodness and Mercy – Goodness provides our daily needs and mercy pardons our sins
B. The Person of Goodness and Mercy – God looks out for our best interest
C. The People of Goodness and Mercy – What kind of legacy will you live behind?
III. The Perspective in this Life to Live Again – “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.
A. The Commitment to Live Again - Remember, this is not God speaking has a promise but David speaking with a perspective that this world is not his home.
B. The Security of Living Again - We will never want for anything throughout eternity.
Preaching through this Psalms was enriching, challenging. Inspiring, wonderful, and a great study for me personally.
Throughout my study of this Psalms, I tried my best to look at the scripture with fresh eyes by ignoring all sermons, illustrations, Sunday school lessons, and some advice of others to really discover what this Psalms means to me. For the most part I think did a decent job. And I have grown as personally in my relationship with God and as a preacher in hanging in there when my study got tough.
There is one thing I have learned from this Psalms is that it’s more than a funeral Psalms. Often times, this Psalms is used to comfort a bereaving family during a funeral service. Even when researching for additional material most of the material found focused much of it’s attention on verse 4: Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil. For You are with me. You rod and staff they comfort me. Many of my commentaries explain in detail verse 4 but verse 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 are explained in brief. This made it a little difficult to validate my interpretation of the text was accurate. Thank God for studying grace…
This Psalms does not just speak to us in dying times but it speaks to all of life’s realities with the ultimate purpose of leading the reader into a deeper and intimate relationship with God. Here’s what I mean, this Psalms to speaks to the reality of life that says:
- Life gets hard sometimes: While this Psalms is filled confident assurance that God will take care of us. It does not promise that us that we will not experience hard times. The opening verses says: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” What’s on the other side of satisfaction – discontentment, frustration, unhappiness, and disappointment.
What’s on the other side of peaceful rest – chaos, pandemonium, confusion, and
David speaks in confident assurance that God is provider and protector. However, life has a way putting us on our backs when we are lacking the basic necessities to survive in daily living. When we don’t have any peace at night from the nightmares of a hard day of trying to make it from day to day. When we experience poverty, bad health, placed in dangerous situations, and loose our joy. The reality of life is that life is hard. People are dying due to senseless violence because of the color of their skin or where they live or the color of their clothes. Life is hard. When health care cost is rising, job loss increasing, unemployment benefits are no longer beneficial, suicide statistics plummeting in percentages unknown in our life time. Our savings account is no longer a savings but needed funds to survive from day to day. Life is hard sometimes when you don’t know how bills are going to get paid and where your next meal is coming from.
But in the midst of the harsh reality of life, this Psalms comforts us. It does not say we won’t experience the hardship but reading this Psalms does help us to make it during life’s harsh realities.
- Life is fill with dangers, seen and unseen: Verse 4 says; “Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and staff they comfort me”. May I suggest that living life seems to become more and more dangerous every day? I was watching a video post the other day of man posing as a robber with a stocking over his face. He would walk into a store or restaurant to get the reactions of customers and workers in the facility. Each place he went people ran for cover, others fell to the ground and rolled under desk, counters, or whatever they could find for safety. Others started pleading their case to live longer and to not be hurt. Ask I watch this video clipping, of course, my first reaction was to laugh because it was funny seeing people’s reaction. But, then I began to think that while I’m laughing at what is to be a practical joke the reality is that people are scared to death now of what potential danger is out there that could harm them, their children, and family. Some dangers we see coming like a bad doctor’s report and then there are others we don’t see coming like a drive by shooting or a drunk driver.
But in the midst of dangers (seen and unseen), we have this assurance, God is with us!
- I have on more reality of life that this Psalms seeks to provide comfort for us, here it is, I’m still here! You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of me life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I will experience hard times (no, I have experienced hard times, life is filled with dangers (seen and unseen) but the final analysis is I’M STILL HERE! I’m still standing, I’m still breathing, I’m still walking and talking, I’m still living!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Here we have a shift of emphasis because the role of the Lord appears to change. Up to this point the Lord is my shepherd. Now the Lord appears to be a host who prepares a table before me, anoints me as a guest, fills my drinking cup and invites me to stay in the house of the Lord all my days.
There is much debate as to whether David leaves the analogy of the Good Shepherd to discussing God as a Good Host. I believe the analogy is still the same. David doesn’t transition from discussing the intimate relationship between Shepherd and sheep. If anything the discussion has become more precious, comforting, and encouraging.
Notice that in the first three verses, David refers to God in the third person: “The Lord is my Shepherd. He makes me lie down…He leads me…He restores my soul.”
Then, in v. 4-5, David shifts, referring to Him in second person: “I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me…You anoint my head with oil.” And then, he closes by returning to third person: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
Why does David switch from talking about God with ‘He’ to talking to God with ‘You,’ and why does it happen in v. 4? Why didn’t he just go on to say, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for He is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me’?”
May I suggest that the change “He” to the more intimate “You” happens in v. 4 precisely because it’s there he speaks of the valley he has walked. He has felt the shadows closing in. Verse 4 describes the crisis points in his life. And in those times, something deep happened between him and God.
You’ve noticed it too, haven’t you? We’re more prone to talk about God when we are in the green pastures and more prone to talk to God when we’re in the dangerous ravine. In the light, we are prone to wander off in pursuit of greener grass. But in the dark, we hug His knee.
David changes from comments about God to communion with God at God’s table.
Psalms could be broken into two (2) parts: first part we see God as Shepherd in verses 1-3 and in the second part we see God as Host. Many try to tie the metaphor of Shepherd to verses 5-6. I guess you can do that but I believe based on the reading and outline of the text that the overall theme of Psalms 23 is the demonstration of love and care from Shepherd towards the sheep. However, when we get to verses 5 and 6 there is a transition that does not wipe away the metaphor of Shepherd/sheep relations but it intensifies the relationship to show God as a gracious host.
Verse 4 David says, “Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff they comfort me. Verse 5 begins with You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over. The comfort of Psalms 23 is that God is not only the Shepherd who provides and protects but He is also the Shepherd who blesses His sheep.
Let me put it this way, to experience the hospitality of God is a blessed privilege for us to enjoy!
Say what you want about the relational transition from Shepherd to Host there is a common thread of confidence with the sheep that extends into verse 5. This text provides three (3) blessings to enjoy that is birth out of God’s hospitality:
I. God’s Hospitality is a FESTIVE Blessing
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”
Point: The table is a place of safety and satisfaction. Our enemies can't stop what God has already prepared.
A. The table is an invitation to eternal life – John 6:53-56
B. The table is intentional for joyous living – John 16:22
II. God’s Hospitality is a FAVORED Blessing
“You anoint my head with oil”
Point: The anointing is God's stamp of approval! The anointing is not the power of God but a sovereign act of God.
This could be tricky in that many will suggest that one person has more of the anointing than the other but that's not true.
A. All believers are anointed at the time of salvation
B. The anointing is not for the glory of man
III. God’s Hospitality is a FLOWING Blessing
“My cup runs over”
Point: God gives us more than enough, consistently!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I believe the black church can come together to save our identity in the Christian community on the eastside of Los Angeles, in merger and partnership, it really depends on the black and their mission as a church.
Many people believe that we, African-American churches, cannot partner or merge together with a common cause without there being competition and/or ego tripping among the brethren. So then the question becomes, Can two churches live together under the same roof?
No doubt the answers to this question can comeback with negativity and concern which is to be expected because it’s human nature to respond negatively with things that sound un-doable, unlikely, and unreasonable.
But let’s not forget there was only one church birthed in Acts 2. There was one church with one purpose. Therefore, I see four assurances that 2 churches can function together in one place:
Assurance# 1: Unity Holds Us Together as churches – Acts 2:1-11
One Accord: the same mind or spirit; oneness of mind and heart. It means to be one in spirit and purpose. Homos means same and thumos means spirit or mind. The believers, all 120 of them in the upper room, were of the same spirit, of the same mind. The idea is they were after the same thing, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They were focusing and concentrating their thoughts and energies upon seeking God for the promise of His Spirit.
The word is used only eleven times in Scripture, ten of those times are found in Acts, one is found in Romans.
One accord in prayer (Acts 1:14; Acts 4:24).
One accord in one place (Acts 2:1).
One accord in daily worship and the Lord’s supper (Acts 2:46; Acts 5:12).
One accord in obedience (Acts 8:6).
One accord in a business meeting (Acts 15:25).
One accord is needed to glorify God (Romans 15:6).
The phrase “one accord” is also used to refer to the unity of unbelievers and enemies of the gospel (Acts 7:57; Acts 12:20; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:29).
Two churches can function together when they share the same mind and spirit.
Assurance# 2: Two Churches can function together on Biblical Proclamation – Acts 1:12-42
The teaching and instruction of the apostles would include both what Christ taught and His death and resurrection and ascension or exaltation. It would be the same teaching and instructions...
that are shared in the New Testament.
that the disciples wrote to various churches and bodies of believers.
The teaching would be no different. There is only one message, only one Word that saves and roots and grounds people in the Lord—the Word of God Himself, the message of the New Testament. On the day of Pentecost, the persons who were saved needed to be grounded in the faith. And the only message that could ground them was the message found in the New Testament. It was that message, that doctrine they taught.
Assurance# 3: Two Churches Can Function together when they Practice the Same Principles - Acts 2:44-47 (NKJV)
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,  and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
The principles of the text are ministry, worship, evangelism, discipleship, and fellowship. These practices allow the church to keep the same perspective in everything done in the church. Any deviation from these practiced principles can potentially result in disharmony.
Assurance# 4: Two Churches Can Function Together in the Growth of the Church – Acts 2:41, 47, 4:4; 5:14; 11:24
The results were twofold: they gained favor with the people, and the Lord added souls to the church, daily. It is in the present tense, “such as were being saved.” Salvation is a present experience of the believer as well as past and future.
The idea is that those who were being saved were being added to the church day by day.
“Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).
“And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (Acts 5:14).
“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).
“And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord” (Acts 11:21).
I am concerned about the survival of the African-American church on the eastside of Los Angeles. However, consider what impact the church can have if we considered partnering together for the sake of kingdom advancement.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I made a comment during my remarks that is my way of expressing the sovereignty of God in the planning of these services: “Thank you for saying yes and thank you for saying no”. God had who wanted there to be there and we had a good time.
I had one request, “Lord, speak to the members heart with your word!” And believe me, He did just that.
In our first service, Pastor George Hurtt and Mt Sinai came through and blessed us. Pastor Hurtt preached: “What is Truth” – John 18:37-40. The challenge for me as pastor of FGMBC is preach the truth and the truth will prevail. Thank you pastor Hurtt. It was so good seeing the members of Mt Sinai and the new faces God has blessed them with. Keep impacting the kingdom of God.
In our second service, Pastor Kevin Stafford and Zion Baptist Evangelistic Temple and Pastor Michael Albert and Mt Aaron Church blessed us with their presence. Pastor Kevin Stafford preached: “Act Like You Know” – Psalms 46:10. The challenge to me as pastor is to trust the sovereignty of God and power of God. Thank you, pastor Stafford. Pastor Albert lit us up with words of encouragement. Thank you, pastor.
In our third service, Living Gospel Church blessed us with their presence as Bishop Jones, pastor Jones, and pastor Green ministered to the church in a powerful way. Pastor Jones preached, with simplicity, “Preach the Word” - 2 Timothy 4:2. Powerful message and the challenge was set in the opening phrase of the text, “Preach the Word”. Thank you pastor E.A Jones
Friday, I picked Pastor Lance Mann from the airport and we went to a soul food restaurant named Flossy’s, excellent food. Lance thought I was going to be standing at 6’5” because I refer to myself has baby Jordan so much. I told him I’m big man in a little body. My mother-in-law got on me because I wasn’t in a suit and tie but in shorts and a t-shirt. I wanted to be comfortable.
Our musical Friday night was a blessing! I invited ministries that have blessed me over the years of my ministry as pastor. Atone and Team Jesus, Jamelle Jones and Freed, One Voice, and Shervonne Wells (formerly of the Kurt Carr singers) blessed us in tremendous way. The highlight for me was having my big sister, Shervonne Wells with us. She is a blessing to the body of Christ and I am so glad she came to minister. She needed to catch a plane to Memphis early Saturday morning so cut her off. But truth be told, I could have listened to her sing all night long. One Voice is an awesome group of young adult who led us in a worship experience like no other. Jamelle Jones and Freed blessed with a song Minister Jones wrote: “Rain on Us”. He’s a gift to gospel music. Atone and Team Jesus is charismatic group with a lot of energy. We had a wonderful time and I thank God for everyone who participated in the musical.
Saturday was the highlight of the entire weekend during our Pastor’s fellowship breakfast. The following pastors were in attendance: Pastor Reginald Payne, Pastor Keith Green, Pastor Ronald Saunders, Pastor Lance Mann, Pastor Al Johnson and his father, Pastor Barry Severe, Pastor W Charles Harris, Pastor F D Harris, and Pastor Anthony Thompson. The food and fellowship was excellent. Thank to my mom and Sadie for all that you did for us. After breakfast; pastor Harris, pastor Thompson, pastor Saunders, pastor Mann, pastor Sever, and myself went into my office and ministered to one another for six (6) hours. We didn’t gossip about other ministries or pastors, we ministered to one another. What a blessing! Something I needed desperately. These pastors started opening up about ministerial struggles that I pray and hope that those in attendance will keep to themselves. Afterwards we spent some time in prayer. What a blessing!
Later that night, we had a live recording with Pastor Theo Wilkins and Sounds of Praise. If this CD does not make the top 10 list for gospel music I will be very disappointed. The music was outstanding!
Sunday morning Pastor Lance Mann killed us with “When Life Makes No Sense” – Proverbs 3:5-6. What can I say? Pastor Mann is a gifted preacher and singer who loves God, the church, and ministry. The church received him well and my family, the kids, started calling him uncle Lance. I thank God for our friendship. This is my first time hosting an out of town guest and I hope that I’ve done well to make his stay enjoyable as well as memorable. After service the members prepared dinner before the next service and we hung out my office joking around. I think pastor Mann is an undercover comedian because he had laughing like crazy. So much so, that my kids didn’t want to get out my office. I pray God richly blesses his ministry in Newark, NJ.
In the afternoon service Full Gospel and Pastor Payne, Bishop R.D Sanders and Mt Pilgrim, and Pastor Barry Severe and Cathedral of Praise were our guest churches. What a blessing! We also had a special treat because Daniel Johnson of Israel and New Breed led praise worship with Full Gospel. This young man is gifted praise and worship leader.
My pastor, Bishop R.D Sanders and Mt Pilgrim came through in a big way. Bishop murdered us with “How to get your needs met” – Philippians 4:19. Expository masterpiece! For the last year, I prayed for direction for a pastor. There were three (3) guys he placed on my heart and Bishop Sanders was one of them. The other is dear friend that I respect, admire, and enjoy our friendship. I didn’t want anything to potentially ruining our friendship mixing pastor and friendship together. I met with Bishop Sanders two (2) months ago to discuss my decision and desire and he graciously consented. The church has received me well and I look forward to what the future fellowships with Mt Pilgrim. I respect him and he respects me and my family.
After church, Lance wanted Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles so we took him there for dinner.
I can sum up my leadership celebration in one word, AWESOME!
Monday, November 2, 2009
I preached a challenging message yesterday. Every year during the pastor's anniversary, I generally preach a message on pastoral ministry. So yesterday I preached:
Topic: Can A Pastor Depend On You?
Text: Philippians 4:14-20
Thesis Statement: Your financial support aides the minister and mission of the church.
Transition Sentence: It is the mood of this text to communicate to the church that Christian fellowship is bound by mutual support.
1. The Decision To Support - v. 14-16
The text shows two (2) areas of support that need a decision. Understand that the decision to support these areas is not a decision to support one or the other. But a decision to see the work of the Lord progress locally and universally.
A. There is a decision to support the minister of the church- v. 14, 16
b. There is a decision to support the mission of the church - v. 15
2. The Description of Your Support - v. 17-18
a. God sees your sacrifice
b. God is well-pleased with your sacrifice
3. The Delight of Your Support - v. 19-20
The message was good but I felt like I was beating the members up when in fact I was not. My overall goal was to challenge our membership in their level of financial support that ultimately supports the man of God and mission of God. I'm in a unique position because my church, in it's history, as never supported a full-time pastor. The church has always been a bi-vocational pastoring church. Now, it is possible that God wants to move us into a full-time pastoring church. I'm not sure but I am praying hard as what I should do, go back to work or stay full-time at the church.
We continued our pastoral anniversary yesterday with Pastor E.A Jones and Living Gospel (Compton Ave location), Pastor Keith Green and Living Gospel (Main location), and Pastor Robert Calvary and Praise Chapel Church. The service was high spirited from start to finish.
The words of wisdom from Bishop Jones was awesome and inspiring and challenging. The one thing that Bishop Jones stated that I will hold on to for as long as I'm pastoring is "Whether you pastor 10s, 100s, or 1000s always remember these are precious people and God is watching how you deal with them." WOW!
The words of encouragement by pastor Keith Green and pastor Robert Calvary awesome. The sermon from Pastor E.A Jones was right on time, "Preach the Word"!
I kept from giving remarks until yesterday because I knew as soon as I stood I would breakdown in tears. I have not told the full story of the many challenges I've faced this year personally and in my public ministry that really has taken a toll on me but I refuse to quit. These service thus far has been an extreme blessing to me, my family, and the church. Thank you all so much!
I'm enjoying the visit of my mother-in-law. She's so funny and can talk your ears off. But good time having her here.
This week is going to be pretty busy with work at the church. I'm trying to do as much as I can at the church until receive clear direction from God as to what I should do, continue in bi-vocational ministry or trust God and stay in full-time ministry. Not sure yet.
There's preparation for a live recording this coming Saturday at the church with Theo Wilkins and Sound of Praise. Looking forward to that. And there's a concert on Friday with some of California's best gospel artist.
My friend and brother, Pastor Lance Mann, will be in town to preach for me on this coming Sunday and I'm looking forward to the fellowship. This is my first time someone from out-of-town and myself as well as the church is looking forward to it.
Keep us in your prayers, until next time, be blessed.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We resumed our study of Psalms 23:5 - You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. I titled the sermon: "God Favored Me". Decent message, I tried something that I don't normally do, preach without a manuscript. I remembered the outline but failed to make my points clear because I was thinking too hard in the process trying to remember everything rather than just letting it flow like a conversation.
The microphones were messing up and I'm teaching my son, Myles, how to operate the board from the pulpit. It get's frustrating sometimes but I know he's doing his best and he's doing a good job.
I played softball Sunday afternoon and we lose because we didn't have enough ladies to play but the umpire let us play anyway since we were all there.
My Cowboys didn't disappoint me Sunday, thank God!
This week plans to be very interesting, exciting, and busy as we continue our 7th pastoral anniversary service this Wednesday night with:
Pastor Kevin Stafford and Zion Baptist Evangelistic Temple Church
Pastor Nathaniel Haley and United Christian Baptist Church
Pastor Michael Albert and Mt Aaron Christian Church
In addition, we have a special treat, my mother-in-law, Ellen Charles will be in town with us. Tracy has not seen mama Erllen in a couple of years, so as a anniversary gift her mother will be town. Pretty excited about it!
I've been a little laxed in blogging lately, not because I don't have anything to write about. I have a lot to write about. I'm still trying to adjust to being in full-time ministry right now since being laid off from work a month ago. It's a big adjustment for me (at least much bigger than I anticipated). It's going to take some time but I do enjoy thinking about ministry stuff without interruptions from a secular job.
So far God has met all our needs and for that I'm grateful.
Until next time, keep us in your prayers.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
10/21/09 - 7 pm
Pastor George Hurtt and Mt Sinai MBC
Pastor Terry Brown and Liberty Baptist Church
Pastor W Charles Harris and Village Baptist Church
10/28/09 - 7 pm
Pastor Kevin Stafford and Zion Baptist Evangelistic Temple
Pastor Michael Albert and Mt Aaron Christian Church
Pastor Nathaniel Haley and United Christian Baptist Church
11/1/09 - 3 pm
Pastor E.A Jones and Living Gospel Church (Compton Ave)
Pastor Keith Green and Living Gospel Church (Main Street)
11/6/09 - 7 pm
Musical Celebration: One Voice, Jamelle Jones and Freed, Atone and Team Jesus, and many others along with a surprise special guest
11/7/09 - 9 am
Pastors Fellowship Breakfast with Pastor Lance Mann of First New Zion Baptist Church of Newark, NJ
11/8/09 - 10 am
Pastor Lance Mann of First Zion Baptist Church of Newark, NJ
11/8/09 - 3 pm
Pastor Reginald Payne and Full Gospel Baptist Church
Bishop Richard Sanders and Mt Pilgrim Baptist Church
Pastor Barry Severe and Cathedral of Praise Church
Pastor Barry Wilson and New Life Baptist Church
Pastor Eric Woodson and Second Mt Carmel Baptist Church
If you live in the city and don't have a commitment your church or will be visiting the Los Angeles area please join us in any of the above the services at 6900 South Compton Ave * Los Angeles * Ca * 90001.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I love my mother, Brenda. I am so proud of her and how she’s handle the passing of “Pop” earlier this year. I love my brothers (Donald, Timothy, and Gib) and my sister (Monique). We’ve been through a lot growing up but none of us are on drugs, in jail, on the streets, in gangs, or anything like that. I love my nieces, nephews, cousins, aunties, uncles, grand-mother, and I miss my “PaPa” dearly.
2). I love God, His church, His people, and ministry work! I enjoy seeing lives changed for Christ. I enjoy preaching and teaching God’s Word. I enjoy church and think it’s a fun place of fellowship. The church has an ugly side because it’s filled with sinful people. But, the church is a beautiful place with beautiful people. I thank God I’m a part of His church!
3). I’m not perfect! I’ve made mistakes and I’ll continue to make mistakes. It’s the lessons I try to learn from making mistakes.
4). I’m a loner! I’ll go and can go to the movies, shopping, park, or whatever by myself with no problems. I’m not really sure why it is. It’s not that I’m not a people person or anything like that. It just doesn’t bother me to be by myself.
5). I give my all! I always try to do the very best I can in everything I do. I love hard, hurt easy, heal quickly, and forgive easy. I’m your friend until the end. I’m not in competition with anybody, I just give it my all.
6). I’m a clown! I love to have fun. It doesn’t take long for me to gain an audience and keep everyone laughing. I thought of being a comedian but got called to preach instead…lol...big switch…ha! I can be very serious at times (sometimes too serious). I try to pick and choose times of laughter and times of being serious. But for the most part let’s have fun.
7). I’m an athlete! I played basketball, baseball, football, and ran track. My primary sport was and still is basketball. I love the game! In Jr High, I played point guard. In high school, I played shooting guard as a freshmen and in my sophomore, Jr, and senior years, I played shooting guard/small forward on varsity. My leaping ability was out of the gym and most big men couldn’t understand my rebounding abilities. In Jr college I played small forward at 5’ 10”. I can’t remember my averages but I did pretty good. If you don’t believe me invite to the gym..lol…baby Jordan is in affect.
8). I love to dance! I’ve always wondered why the world and church folk don’t like to see a pastor dance. I’m not talking about going to a night club. I’m speaking of weddings or a Valentines dinner with other Christians or family gatherings. I’ll be honest if you come around my family/friends, we’ll break out some oldies in a minute and start grooving. There are some dances that are respectful, clean, and fun. My favorite dances are the electric side, cupid shuffle, Cha-Cha, and Chicago Stepping. Oh yes, yo boy can step better than R. Kelly without the white suit. I want to learn the salsa when I get a chance.
9). I don’t like fake people! I don’t like people who try to be more than what they really are. If you’re broke say you’re broke! If you hurt say it hurts! Don’t give me a movie case without the movie. Be yourself. I don’t judge and I try to treat everybody the same. If you have a problem with me talk to me about it and not anyone else. I may agree and/or may not agree. It is what it is. That’s all on this one.
10). I shutdown when I get mad! When I’m upset I hold it in until my fuse is lit. And then, the bomb explodes. I’m getting better at expressing my feelings of dislike before the fuse is lit.
11). I’m a cry baby! I will cry in a minute if I’m mad, hurt, happy, or whatever. However, don’t think that because I’m a cry baby that I’m weak baby.
12). I think for myself. I’m a genuine and real guy. I’m not a toy, I’m not a yes man, I’m not a do as I say and don’t ask any questions. If I don’t understand, I will ask the questions but expect an answer in return. God gave me brains to think with and I use it, most of the time.
13). I love music and going to concerts (and not just gospel concerts either). I’m a jazz fan to the heart. Big band, smooth jazz, Latin jazz, Fusion it doesn’t matter to me, I love it all. I love gospel but some of the music has lost reverence for God. I have a lot favorites but some people who really inspire me is Thomas Whitfield, Daryl Coley, Milton Brunson, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, The Clark Sisters (then and now), The Winans, and Commission. I listen to R&B. My favorite artists are: Anita Baker, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Kem, Earth, Wind, and Fire, New Edition with and without Bobby Brown, Troop, Miki Howard, Lalah Hathaway, Donny Hathaway, Marvin Gaye, and all oldies. I don’t like rap music.
14). I’m a chef. I love cooking. My signature dishes are BBQ with my special sauce, any thing grilled – I got you covered, gumbo, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, roast, jambalaya, garlic shrimp, smoked turkey soup, and homemade chili. My new signature dish is a crab boil with crab legs, shrimp, corn, potatoes, and smoked sausage. I refer to myself as the black Emeril Lagasse.
15). I’m not a jealous person. As far as I can remember, I’ve never been a jealous person when it comes to relationships. I’ve always maintained the mindset that can’t nobody beat me being me. There’s always going to be someone who looks better, body is better, richer than me, and smarter than me. But you can’t beat me being me. I still got a lot of growing to do but I’m pretty happy with whom I’ve become.
16). I want to attend seminary. I’m praying that one day soon I will be able to receive seminary training. Too many obligations right now.
17). I don’t like being a failure. I work hard to make sure I don’t fail at anything. Unfortunately, sometimes I fail. But, I get up and try again.
18). I don’t like stress. There are some things you can’t control that create stress and there some things we can do for ourselves to minimize our stress level. But when I am stressed, I try not to panic.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I resumed our study of Psalms 23, “Trusting God Our Shepherd”. Here is the sermon skeleton:
Topic: I’m Not Afraid to Die
Text: Psalms 23:4
Thesis Statement: God, our Shepherd, protects from dangers (seen and unseen) and death.
He Protects Us from Death – “Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…”
He Protects Us from Distractions – “I will fear no evil”
He Protects Us with His Presence – “for You are with me”
I didn’t know how the church would receive the message because many people don’t like talking and/or hearing anything on death. But to my surprise, God really blessed the message. I even had voice to shut it down but I didn’t. Some responded to the ministry of invitation for prayer and I believe the church was encouraged. Praise God!
I made the announcement that our church has office hours now: Tuesday – Friday from 9 am to 3 pm. They were so excited about the church office being open I was surprised. Now, I can really pastor the people God has placed me over with freedom and without many distractions. I’m praying that God will let this be continual without me having to go back to work. But for now, we will give 110% while I have the time and let tomorrow take care of itself.
Yesterday, Tracy and I went to see “Couples Retreat” with a few pastors and their wives. The movie was hilarious, my stomach hurting after watching that movie.
Today, I’m in the office trying to get my office in order. I have papers, trash, and boxes of junk everywhere. Then, I’ll start gathering sermon study material for Sunday.
Please pray for me and my family as this change in our life will be for the better and not make any of us bitter.
Until next time be blessed.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Not long ago, I was in a worship service and the move of God was in the place. As I sat in the sound both I felt God manifesting Himself in the room as people poured their heart out to God in worship and in their own uniqueness. I started praying for the entire congregation. My prayer was a two-fold simple request: 1st – Save the sinner and 2nd strengthen the saint. And then it happened, the worship leader gave the microphone to a local pastor and said: “You’re anointed for this moment!” Man, the service took on a totally different element after that. The service moved from being a manifestation of God to becoming the manifestation of man. Why? I believe because of this statement; “You’re anointed for this moment!” It’s dangerous to make statements like this because it will quickly elevate a person to a level that only belongs to God.
I often times wondered why we make statements like these and so many others as it relates to the “anointing”. Why the attention on how much anointing a person possesses? Are we confused about anointing and giftedness? Does one person have more anointing than the other? Can you loose your anointing? What’s important anointing or development in Christ-likeness? Is having the anointing essential to salvation? Is it a gift? Does it come from God or man? What does the bible say about the anointing?
Just some questions I hope to make us think about what we say and practice as it relates to the anointing.
Let’s take a moment to look into scripture to discover what the bible says about the “anointing”.
The Definition of Anointing
When scripture speaks of anointing it speaks in relationship to the pouring, spreading, or rubbing of oil. Anointing can be placed into five (5) descriptions:
- Consecration: The consecration of people (Exodus 29:29; Lev 4:3) or things (Exo 30:26).
- Hospitality (Psalms 23:4, Luke 7:38, Luke 7:46)
- Healing (Isa 1:6; Mar 6:13; James 5:14)
- Burial (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56)
- Promised Deliverer “Christ – Anointed One” (John 1:41)
When categorizing the definition of anointing, you will notice that the anointing is not the power of God but a sovereign act of God which means God anoints people. People are not anointed because a man placed oil on your forehead or laid hands on you. If God didn’t call you and anoint you it doesn’t matter what others do, you’re not anointed. We are anointed because God anoints us, PERIOD.
You will notice that the anointing is not for your benefit. Hospitality has to do with how we treat our guest when they enter into our homes. Healing is for the benefit of those who are sick to bring restoration to the body. In burial, oil was used to preserve the body which today is practiced through embalming. A lot of what we see today is not the anointing but arrogance. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in services where the “anointed one” came off rude, arrogant, mean, prideful, and super-spiritual. It wasn’t about the person in need of healing, hospitality, and/or embalming. It was about the joker who thought he was Jesus Jr or Mr. Big Stuff. I believe with all my heart that God uses us to be a blessing to others in need. And He does it in practical ways like praying for each other and being nice to each other and you don’t have to be anointed for that.
You will notice as well as that there is only one true “Anointed-One” – Jesus Christ. The bible calls everyone else who claims to be “the anointed one” the anti-Christ. As harsh has this may sound, the bible speaks of latter times where false teachers will rise up and claim to posses powers and abilities that only Jesus, Himself posses. In 1 John 2:18-21 it says: Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. So what we see now from the these so-called anointed ones is miracle spring waters, prayer clothes, and every other gadget to try and prove they’re the anointed one. Hog wash! Jesus Christ is the true anointed one and all others are like fake dollar bills. You can’t reproduce the real thing!
The Display of the Anointing
There were several comments in recent weeks on a Facebook status update about gifted singers and musicians charging outlandish prices to minister. One comment stated (paraphrased), I charge because I bring the anointing. Of course that started a ripple affect of comments, me being the first, saying, the anointing is a gift from God and it doesn’t cost. I failed to further explain that the anointing is a gift from God through the gift of salvation. In other words, the NT teaches: (1) all believers are anointed, (2) there aren’t different levels of anointing, (3) Christians don’t loose their anointing, (4) Christians don’t receive the anointing, and (5) the anointing is standard equipment of salvation that everyone receives when they place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
There is one verse that has been stripped out of context and used as a defense for the anointing: Luke 4:18: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
Jesus is speaking in this verse and quotes Isaiah 61:1-2. Jesus’ statement declares that Jesus, the Messiah, is the anointed one who came to preach the gospel to the poor, hurting, captive, and sick. Lest I be too long, allow me to get to the point. There are two (2) major themes in this text that are vital for understanding: message – v. 18a and ministry – v. 18b. As a principle, the statement teaches us that there can be no ministry without the message and ministry cannot supersede the message. The message of the gospel and the ministry to those in need leads to one thing, salvation. Jesus doesn’t quote all of Isaiah 61:2 because the end of verse 2 deals with judgment and Jesus’ present day ministry was and still is salvation.
But when we quote this verse we refer to the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for anointing is charisma where we get our English word charismatic. However, this Greek word refers to the knowledge of the truth (1 John 2:20 and John 16:14-15). We focus so much attention on how much Holy Spirit a person has but fail to realize that it’s not about how much Holy Spirit we have but how much of us we yield of ourselves, in total surrender, to the Holy Spirit as the truth of God’s word is revealed to us.
The anointing (if we so choose to use the word in relation to how God uses us) is not for the glory of man. God uses people for His glory, alone. In addition, how he chooses to use us does not determine a level of anointing that would be greater than the other.
Here’s what I think we mean with these kinds of statements:
“Lord, give me a fresh anointing!” – Lord, help me to preach, sing, etc!
“Boy, you sure are anointed” – God really used you today or I was blessed.
“Protect your anointing” – Protect your Christian witness!
There other statements that I have no clue what we mean when we say them:
“Don’t let anyone prostitute your anointing”
“Walk in your anointing”
I think they’re Christian slang sayings that sound good. But, everything that sounds good doesn’t mean it’s good and sound.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I’ve worked for Monogram Aerospace Fasteners for seven (7) years. It was a good experience, I met cool people, I made a spiritual impact (I believe), and liked what I was doing. I was comfortable! I teach that sometimes God will interrupt our comfort zones to move us to test our faith move us to the next level.
It’s ironic that I would loose my job in my seventh year as an employee when the church and I will celebrate 7 years of ministry partnership between pastor and people. One ends but the other continues. I really don’t know what to make of it right now and this is not how I wanted to spend my birthday. Stressing about bills being due and I don’t know where the money is coming from. But, I won’t complain (even though really want to)
To my co-workers, thank you for your friendship and I pray that God will continue to bless you richly! I’m so glad we had this time together just to laugh and maybe sing a song. But before you know it it’s time to show it, now it’s time to say so long! Peace and blessing!
What next, Clint?
When Tracy and I talked last night about it, she said: “Clint, would you have left your job any other way?” My response, “Probably not.” She says: “Now, its time for you to focus on the ministry of prayer and the word to grow the church. God’s got everything else”. I’ve been praying for God to open up doors for me to be in full-time but not this kind of a door.
We never know what doors God opens for us to walk through and many times it’s not our choosing. It’s only ours to walk through them.
I will be totally honest with you, I’m scarred to death (not literally). But when I look back over my life all I ever did was step out on faith and my testimony is I’m still here by the grace of God. God didn’t leave me then and He won’t leave me now.
Look out church, pastor has time for prayer and study.
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. – Galatians 6:6
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
This weekend Tracy and I took a much needed break from everybody and everything in San Diego, Ca. We made it to San Diego in one hour and 30 minutes. Normal travel time is about 2.5 hours but I broke every speed law possible. I was on a mission from God…lol
We had good time relaxing and resting. I wish I could say I’m at 100% operating capacity but I would be lying. While I may not at 100%, I’m not at 25% operating capacity so I thank God for making me lie down in green pastures.
Pastor Robert Calvary of Praise Chapel Church preached in my place Sunday and from all reports the members were blessed. Thank you, Pastor Calvary for your ministry service on Sunday.
We got home Sunday afternoon in time for me to go play in my first softball game. We won and it was fun even if we would have loss.
Yesterday, I rested for the most part after doing lawn work at the house. My yard was a mess but looks good now. I cooked dinner for the family. Our menu: Jambalaya, French bread with garlic butter, tomato and cucumber salad with balsamic vinegarette dressing, and brownies for desert.
I ate and watched my Dallas Cowboys play. I’m glad we won but I’m still worried about how the season is going to end for them.
Over the weekend, I started reading a book God-Size Your Church – Beyond Growth for growth Sake by John Jackson. I’m being challenged and helped reading this book. When I’m done I plan on writing a brief review and how I believe it will help the ministry of First Goodwill.
That’s it, that’s all, stay blessed until next time.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
My normal routine is to gather all my study material, open my bible, get my paper and pen, turn on my laptop, and start reading. Before long, my eyelids are heavy, I’m yawning every two minutes, and then, I’m off to sleep. I've never been a night person when it comes to my studying so I wake up early in the morning when I’m fresh and mind clear of everything to receive what God has to say to me through His word. But lately, my attention span has been like many church members that sit on the front pews, short, even in the mornings.
I have not been able to pull it together. Even after receiving my thesis, points and sub-points, I struggle with the meat of the sermon, illustrations and a clear communication path so I won’t ramble in the pulpit.
My last sermon on Psalms 23 – “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” was, in my opinion, my worse presentation of my series. My sermon skeleton was good but I struggled in my communication. I usually write a full manuscript but in this sermon I wrote a ½ sheet of 8-1/2 x 11 paper cut in half and relied on my memory for scriptures and illustrations. I was misquoting passages I knew. I was getting tongue tied trying to move quickly through the message. I messed up illustrations that made my explanation more confusing. My energy level sucked. I had no passion or power. It was bad. I forced this sermon to keep from delaying the series. Big mistake!
Oftentimes, we as preachers don’t like to admit the fact that we become so tired that studying is more of a burden than a blessing. I’ll be the first to admit it, I'm so tired that studying is no fun right now and I dread it every week. I love the word of God. I love to preach it, teach it, share it, study it, meditate on it, and research it. But lately, it’s been a whole different story.
I started thinking about why sermon preparation has become such a burden for me lately. With all of the reasons I could list, I think one answer will sum it all up, I’m human! I get tired physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. There are times when I want to stay home at BBC, Bedside Baptist Church and watch the NFL all day long. Not because I don’t love coming to church but for this expressed reason, I’M TIRED!
I'm not looking for pity so please don't show me any. However, the harsh reality of preaching is that we're human also and if we don't take care of ourselves, we will not be able to give God our best presentation of the Gospel message.
Many of our members, visitors, and friends see the final result of a long week of study. Some weeks are easier than others. But then there are those weeks when you just can’t pull it all together.
The point of this article is that preaching/teaching is not easy and sermons don’t grow on trees. A lot of work is put into expository preaching. God didn't call us to be super-preachers. My body and mind has shut down on me. Green pastures is calling me name.
I want to give God my best in everything I do for Him. I can't do that if I'm tired.
I thank God for strength and grace but now I must have my space! So, this weekend is my renewal weekend to rest. Pray for your pastor (not just me but all pastors) that God will strengthen him by making him lay down and rest.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Yesterday afternoon I was privileged to preach for Village Baptist Church Pastored by W Charles Harris. Good time of worship from start to finish! Lady Rose Neale killed everything in the building singing “I Won’t Complain” and then “He’s Done Enough”. Wow!
I preached from a famous passage of scripture, Isaiah 40:28-30, “The Strengthening of the Saints”. God blessed the message. Pastor Harris is a great host for preachers and, again, I say thank you for your hospitality and generosity.
This weekend Tracy and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. We didn’t do anything special this weekend due to our departure to San Diego, Ca this coming weekend. I can’t wait, we need some getaway time, and the count down begins. I did mess up on Saturday because I went to watch the Mayweather vs Marquez fight at my brother's house and stayed out a little longer than expected on our anniversary. Sorry, T-Baby!
The fight was pretty boring if you ask me. I expected much more from both fighters. I’m not a Mayweather fan but he did look good after being off for 2 years. The real fight started during the interview when Shane Mosely came into the ring to challenge Mayweather to a future fight. Mayweather needs to stop running from Mosely and take the fight. I think Mosely will give Mayweather a challenge because of the similarities of boxing styles. Mayweather stop being a busta and fight Mosely…lol…If you have not figured it out I’m a big boxing fan.
This week will be no different than the others, busy. I do plan to go over to my home church, Mt Sinai, for their 67th Church Anniversary Revival with Pastor H.B Charles from Shiloh Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida.
I have so many things to write about: the continuation of my online book “Understanding Healing”, Sermon Block – When A Preacher is too tired to study, 2009 Book Reading Review, End of the year Ministry Review, Who’s Fooling Who – Counterfeit Preaching, Kingdom Partnership – Can Two Churches Co-exist in the same building? and so many more.
Until next time, that’s it, that’s all! Have a blessed day.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
The Lord honored Carey’s vigorous faith, for he became a renowned missionary and was mightily used by God in India, Burma, and the East Indies.
Neh. 1:5-6 (NKJV)
And I said: "I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,  please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father's house and I have sinned.
Neh. 1:8 (NKJV)
Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations;
Neh. 1:11 (NKJV)
O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man." For I was the king's cupbearer.
Neh. 2:4 (NKJV)
Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven.
Neh. 4:9 (NKJV)
Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.
See while we plan calendars, programs, seminars, and other things to accomplish the vision of the church. Nehemiah before planning, preparing, and positioning himself for the work of rebuilding walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah made prayer a high priority.
I believe the secret to vision accomplishment (and that is how much of the vision we’re able to accomplish) lies not in our plans and programs but in our prayer life.
As a church, and people, we are to join God’s vision not to have God join our plans. How do we join into God’s vision for what he wants to do in the church? We need to join God’s vision by making sure prayer is high priority in the church and in our every day life.
Theodore Monod was once telling a little friend about Christ healing blind Bartimaeus. (Mark 10:46-52) “And what,” said he to the boy, “would you have asked from Jesus if you had been blind?” “Oh,” said the child, with glowing face and kindling eyes, “I should have asked him for a nice little dog with a collar and chain, to lead me about.”
How often do we ask for the blind man’s dog instead of the seeing man’s eyes?
What should be the content of our prayers to accomplish the vision set for the church?
I. Pray for Others – Ch.1:5-11
Point: We cannot forget people. In other words, it takes people to get work done.
II. Pray for Opportunity – Ch. 2:1-5
Point: As we join God in His vision we need to pray for opportunities to impact the world.
III. Pray for Organization – Ch. 3
Point: We need to pray that the right people are in the right spots.
IV. Pray for Opposition – Ch. 4 (key v. 6)
Point: Pray for those who dare try and stop the vision from moving forward.
V. Pray for Openhandedness – Ch. 5
Point: Vision costs!!!!!!
VI. Pray for our Successes – Ch. 6:15-19
Point: We can’t allow our success to cause us to slack in our work. For every work that is done there is still more work to do.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This was, and still is, a huge step of faith for our church in an effort to offer God our very best.
As I reflect over the year, I must give God praise for His faithfulness and favor He has extended to our church. With a new bill, God has allowed us to continue to do ministry, make our monthly mortgage payment, and meet salary obligations. During this recession, God has saw fit to make all things possible for us financially. Our giving has increased 10% during the summer months which is typically low giving months in our church. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we have a whole lot of money because we don’t. But what I am saying is that God has met our daily needs for the past year. Praise God!
The month of September has been busy with many services and many pastors with their congregations coming into the sanctuary and seen what God did through His church. They were extremely encouraged and I had the opportunity to speak with many of them after service and encourage them to dream big no matter what size the church is. There are no limits with the God we serve. He’s big and we should dream big.
I thank God that we have been able to encourage others through our step of faith but I must remind you that it’s not easy yet it is doable.
I’m looking forward to what God is going to do through our church. We have many opportunities to make a huge impact for the kingdom of God. Please continue to pray for the First Goodwill Church familythat God will see fit to continue to show favor towards us.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Thesis Statement: God, our Shepherd, knows where He’s taking us.
1. “He leads me” speaks of the Will of God in Righteousness
2. “in paths of righteousness” speaks of the Ways of God in Righteousness
3. “for His name’s sake” speaks of the Wisdom of God in Righteousness
I had no energy at all to preach yesterday after such a long week of revival services Wednesday-Saturday in addition to my weekly work schedule.
These past few weeks have been difficult to study, pray, and preach due to thoughts of job loss because of our terrible economy. God has been gracious thus far and I can only pray He will continue to be gracious to me in this situation as well.
I found the track by Deitrick Haddon – He’s Able and it has blessed me more than words can express. In addition, it’s a song written on biblical truth, Ephesians 3:21-21 - Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. We song it for the first time Sunday and it will become our morning worship song for the next few weeks.
I can’t believe 2009 is done and now it’s time to plan for 2010, WOW. This has been a good year because God has proven Himself faithful to His children. But man, I can’t wait for 2010.
We’re getting ready for my 7th Pastoral Anniversary Service. My prayer is that our services will be filled with a spirit of revival. I don’t have the line-up yet, because we’re still working on it.
Deacon Loud is still in the hospital. He’s doing much better but he still needs our prayers.
I have meetings this week and I want to support a new fellowship with Pastor W.H Charles and Village Baptist Church during this week of revival services. And I want to hear some good preaching for myself. One of my meetings this week can change the course of things in our ministry for the better. So I solicit your prayers for God’s guidance and will share outcome when time is right.
That’s it, that’s all, peace!
Friday, September 11, 2009
The scene of that day is still vivid in my mind as the entire world stayed glued to the television for half the day. People started calling family/friends to see if everybody was safe. Tears flowing, mixed emotions, anger, questions, concerns, fear, heart-break, and a re-focus filled the room of those things that are important in life.
In life, many of us lose sight of those things that are important and tragedy has a way forcing us to re-focus our attention on the main thing. I challenge you as we remember 9/11 as a country, individuals, and Christians to take this time to think of what’s important by asking yourself:
- If I die tonight, will enter into everlasting peaceful rest with God our Father?
- Am I pursuing my career and ambitions more than developing my relationship with God?
- When was the last time you spoke to God?
- How’s your family life?
- Do you have unforgiveness in your heart?
- Are you allowing your past mistakes dictate your future progress?
- Do you have a church home?
- Are you looking for a church home?
- Are you active in church ministry?
- How do you spend your time and money?
- Have you shared the love of Christ with the un-saved?
- Are accountable to anyone who can ask you tough questions regarding sinful habits?
The point is this, remembering 9/11 is remembering all those who died and those who survived. But also, 9/11 should be a time of re-focus.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
It is not my intention to be so simple that we miss the important principle of prayer support in the local church and that principle is this;
THE LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS!
It is not my intention to be so simple that I downplay the need for prayer in the local church. I believe in prayer. I believe prayer works. I believe God hears and answers prayer! I believe that a strong Christian is a praying Christian. I believe that all efforts of the local church will not be achieved if not covered with believing prayer.
And I also believe that prayer is pivotal in the life of the local church no matter how big or small that church may be.
This message has a two-fold purpose:
To emphasize prayer in the life of the believer
To maximize prayer in the life of the church
If our church is going to be a strong, vibrant, effective, and healthy church it starts and continues and is kept with the prayer support of its members.
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 Prayer – v. 2a “Continue earnestly in prayer…”
I have a book in my office by John Hull and Tim Elmore entitled; “Pivotal Praying”. In the opening chapter; “What is pivotal praying?” He tells the story of John Welch who started his life with the dream of becoming a missionary. As the nervous young sat in the mission agency’s office, he assured the interviewer that he and his new bride were committed to working hard, managing their resources as good stewards, and sharing Christ with as many people as possible. His future looked bright.
Then it all seemed to come crashing down. His dream began to fall apart. During their cross-cultural preparation, he and his wife realized she could never endure the rigors of life overseas. Her body was fragile and frail. If they went to Africa as planned, she would certainly die.
Confused and emotionally crushed, the young man returned home. His tragic tale continued as he failed to find a ministerial position. The first blow had left him devastated. This one left him depressed.
One night he awoke from sleep feeling the weight of his failed dream. His hands were clammy and his temperature ran high. He was angry. He was baffled. He began to wrestle with God over his calling. How could God call him to change the world, then close all doors to ministry? It was during this time in prayer that God reminded him of his original commitment to work hard, to manage his resources, and to share Christ with as many as people as possible.
Bingo! His entire attitude changed. It suddenly struck him that he could still remain true to his commitment, wherever he worked. So he prayed exactly for this.
He decided to work for his dad, a dentist who had a small business on the side that produced juice for church Communion services. As his father grew older, the young man took over the business and determined to use it to touch the world for Christ. He would keep his promise be financially supporting others who could go overseas as missionaries.
He built the company into a huge business enterprise. In fact, we serve the juice every first Sunday during communion our service, his name was Welch maker of Welch’s Grape Juice.
This man’s life was changed for the better and it began with prayer.
The crisis of life can do one of two things: pull you away from God or draw you closer to God through prayer.
Life as we know it in the local church is changing before our very eyes. Many churches are struggling to keep their doors open. The local church has goals and ambitions that can only be met through the fervent prayers of the righteous.
Here are a few practical principles of prayer in the local church and life of the believer that we should hold onto:
A. Never stop praying – Paul says: “Continue earnestly in prayer.” It is also said in other translations; “Devote yourselves to prayer” or “Continue steadfastly in prayer”. The point is that we should never stop praying. Jesus tells a story in Luke 18 verses 1-8 that helps to drive the principle to never stop praying. Jesus says; “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor 1regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, 2‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 byet because this widow troubles me I will 3avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And cshall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you dthat He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
To never stop praying is to pray without losing heart. It’s hanging in there between the first initial request and the final answer. Never stop praying is prayers in the meantime.
B. Prayer is hard work – “Continue earnestly in prayer”. We are instructed to be strong in prayer. Prayer is not an idle past time, or an optional exercise reserved for the “spiritual” prayer warrior. Prayer is the ministry of the church. We can’t expect things to come easy for us in life and in the church. There are times when we have to work hard to maintain by praying during those time when we ourselves doubt that God is even listening to what we have to say. Prayer will mean nothing to you if it doesn’t cost you something.
C. Prayer is powerful – While this may not be stated in the text, I believe it’s worth stating because if we keep on praying in hard work results will follow. I believe this to be true because in Acts 2:42-47 it is said that the church continued in prayer. Verse 41 God added to the church and in verse 42 God was adding to the church but sandwich in between the church was praying. This tells me that there is no secret formula for growing a church, just pray. This tells me that there is nothing outside of our capacity to do to grow the kingdom of God, just pray. We can accomplish our goals and ambitions through prayer. Prayer can change the hearts and minds of our enemies. Prayer can move obstacles in our way so we can get to where God wants us to be.
The final analysis is that PRAYER WORKS!
II. The CONDUCT of our Prayers – “With an alert mind and thanksgiving”.
The conduct of our prayers is seen in two ways in the text:
- Be Ready to pray
Before going to the cross, Jesus in Matthew 26 goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and he took Peter, James, and John. He tells them to take a seat while He goes to pray. Upon His return He finds all three disciples asleep. He wakes them up and says to them in verse 40; “Wake up! Couldn’t you stay up for a little while to pray? Stay alert and pray, otherwise, temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!”
In other words, be ready to pray by guarding your prayer life! Let’s clear that Paul’s instruction to continue in prayer is not an instruction that says that we are to be on our knees at all time with our eyes closed praying. But, that we should always be ready to pray in any and every circumstance. To do this means, we must guard ourselves of those things that will prevent readiness to pray. Things like:
Prayerlessness. James 4:2 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (ESV). Indeed, the biggest reason why many of us are not the beneficiaries of answered prayer is simply because we do not pray. There is much you can do about your situation after you pray. But there is nothing you can do that will make a real difference until you pray.
Unconfessed sin. In Psalm 66:18, the psalmist says, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Now, this is not to say that you have to be perfect in order to get a prayer through. It means that effective prayer begins with the confession of sin.
Selfish motives. But James 4:3 states: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” The Lord does not answer selfish prayers. Sure, you can pray about your own needs and desires. But remember that the priority of prayer is God and his glory, not you are your wants.
Broken Fellowship. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus says, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leaven your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” In a real sense, all prayer is corporate prayer, in that God will not talk to you if you refuse to talk to your brother. For instance, 1 Peter 5:7 warns husbands that if we do not live with our wives in an understanding way, our prayers will be hindered.
A lack of faith. James 1:6-7 instructs, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts Is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the win. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” Believing prayer is short-circuited when the one who prays doesn’t really believe. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
- Be grateful in prayer
We should not only be ready to pray but we should also be grateful in prayer. Prayer is not just for us to pour out to God everything we want, need, and desire. Prayer is also recognizing the goodness of God as well. In other words, God has done more for us than we give Him credit for.
I used to say that how we pray was more important than what we say. However, I have to change that thought process. I believe now more than ever before that how we pray and what we pray are synonymous. Meaning, what we pray is just has important as how we pray.
It’s evident in this text that Paul who’s in prison didn’t ask the Colossian to pray for his release. Instead, he prayed that God would open a door to minister the gospel. Paul’s mind was not on his current circumstances, instead, he was more concerned about the sharing the gospel of Jesus from jail.
Jesus taught us the same lesson when hanging on the cross when He prayed; “Let this cup pass from me. Not My will Lord, but Your will be done.”
In Matthew chapter 6 in the Model Prayer, Jesus teaches that one of our petitions should be; “Thy kingdom come, thy will be down on earth as it is heaven”.
The content of prayers should never loose sight of why we exist and that is to fulfill the will of God for our lives for His glory alone.
How do we as a church and individuals fulfill the will of God for our live?
- Pray for Opportunity to share the gospel – “as for me, that God would open to us a door for the word”.
- Pray for direction to share the gospel – “that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Therefore, I’m planning a vacation Sunday every quarter of 2010 to devote to rest and refreshment. What is a vacation Sunday? Simply, I’m not going to church! I will schedule a guest preacher, one of whom I can trust to preach the word without focusing on the numbers sitting before him. This is one of the reasons I don’t leave the pulpit at First Goodwill. I’m not embarrassed about where I am right now. If I stay faithful to my assignment God will do the rest of the work. As well, I understand there are some things I can’t control in our membership like a member dying, moving to another city, or just deciding to stay home on Sunday mornings. My main concern is the people of God being fed the Word of God without any qualifiers.
So, I’m committing some time in prayer the 4th qtr of 2009 as to whom to ask to preach in my place on “vacation Sunday”. Until then, I’m giving it all I got.
Disclaimer: The Holy Spirit may change this preaching schedule at anytime as He see fit to do so.
09/06/09 Trusting God Our Shepherd - He stores my soul - Psalms 23:3a
09/13/09 Stewardship Sunday-Trusting God Our Shepherd-I have direction for my life-Psalms 23:3b
09/20/09-Evangelism Sunday-Trusting God Our Shepherd-I'm not afraid of deathPsalms 23:4
10/04/09 -Trusting God Our Shepherd -I'm Taking care of - Psalms 23:5a
10/11/09-Stewardship Sunday -Trusting God Our Shepherd - I'm honored -Psalms 23:5b
10/18/09 -Evangelism Sunday-Trusting God Our Shepherd-I'm Blessed - Psalms 23:5c
10/25/09 - Stewardship Sunday-Trusting God Our Shepherd-It's all good-Psalms 23:6a
11/01/09 - Pastor's Anniversary
11/08/09 - Pastor's Anniversary
11/15/09-Evangelism Sunday-Trusting God Our Shepherd-I'm going home to live with Jesus-Psalms 23:6b
11/22/09-Thanksgiving Sermon-The God of Our Trust-Jehovah-Ezer: Lord our Help-Psalms 33
11/26/09-The God of Our Trust-Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord Is There-Ezekiel 48:35
11/29/09-God Is In Charge-You Can Feel Safe-2 Thess 1:1-12
12/06/09-God Is In Charge-You Can Stay Calm-2 Thess 2:1-17
12/13/09-Christmas Sermon-God Is In Charge-You Can Keep At It-2 Thess 3:1-18
12/20/09-A Heart For Missions-The Message of Missions-Luke 2:8-32
12/27/09-Vision Sunday-State of the Church Address-An Agabus Ministry-Acts 21:10-12
01/03/10-How To Pray With Power-Pray Confidently-Psalms 86
01/10/10-How To Pray With Power-Pray Persistently-Matthew 15:21-28; Luke 18:1-8
01/17/10-How To Pray With Power-Pray In Jesus' Name-John 14:12-14;15:14-16; 16:23-26
01/24/10-How To Pray With Power-Pray for Others-John 17:9-19
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday was no better. I had 3 services.
Service #1 - Our morning service was good but I was extremely tired. I didn’t finish my work on Psalms 23:3 – “He restores my soul”. I wish I had help because they would have preached yesterday. So, I preached:
Topic: Lord, We Need A Miracle
Text: Joshua 3
Thesis: A miracle is God carrying our load and suspending the rules to move us from one phase of life to the next for His glory.
1. Wait for your miracle – v. 1-5
Point: Waiting is difficult when you need immediate deliverance. But waited time on God is never wasted time.
2. Work for your miracle – v. 6-13
· The miracle is promised for tomorrow but today there’s work to be done, sanctify yourselves!
· You have to position yourself to handle God’s miracle
· You have to get your hands dirty to receive your miracle
3. Walk into your miracle – v. 14-17
Point: If you want God to move in your life in an extraordinary way, you need to step out on faith.
I don’t know how well I communicated the text but I trust God was pleased with my effort.
Deacon Loud came to church yesterday for the first time in 4 weeks. He’s still a little weak but thank God for strength. Please keep him and Sis Loud in your prayers.
Service #2 - our women’s ministry had their 5th Sunday service with guest speaker Gloria Whitaker from Full Gospel Church. What a wonderful time of fellowship and worship. Tracy did an excellent job planning the service, Gloria did an excellent job speaking on the theme of “redeemed”, we had a guest soloist come and sing that blessed our hearts. We had a wonderful time praising God together.
Of course, between services we ate BBQ ribs/chicken/hot links, green beans with potatoes, BBQ baked beans, bread, soda pop, and peach cobbler. The food was so good and I so sleepy afterwards.
Service #3 – a benefit service for New Birth Church with Pastor Michael Saunders. It was a good service but I was extremely tired. There was a lot of singing but Minister B Alexander McCargo and Kingdom Worship really blessed me. New Birth’s dance ministry is awesome, hands down! Bishop Johnny Withers preached and did a good job. Theo Wilkins and SOP sang themselves crazy.
Overall, good day of worship and fellowship!
I got home about 11:15 pm (after being up @ 5 am in the morning). I took my shower, kissed Tracy goodnight, and crashed only to get back up at 6 am to come to work. Lord, give me strength!
I did not do a good job scheduling these events for August and September. I’m praying God will hold me up to carry out all my duties as pastor, husband, employee, father, and being me.
However, I do have something to look forward to this month. Tracy and I will celebrate 17 years of marital bliss and it’s our goal as well as plan to get out of here for a weekend in September to relax. And my God it will happen, trust. I need it, she needs it, we need it!
I’m out, see ya soon!