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Friday, January 30, 2009

Finally Figured it Out!

Earlier this week in my Sunday thoughts post, I mentioned the difficulty I was having preparing to preach on a name of God: ELOHIM. I didn't think I could explain the meaning of the name with one verse or one specific text. That's changed now, thank God! Psalms 139 is the focusing text:


For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made; [fn] Marvelous are Your works, And [that] my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, [And] skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When [as yet there were] none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! [If] I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

What an appropriate text for Sunday; "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday".
I can't wait for Sunday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

FREE BOOK!



Here is a free book download from B&H Publishing. It takes some time to download but give it a try anyway.

http://http://www.bhpublishinggroup.com/leadership/contests.asp

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What Do You Say To Someone...

We're living in rough quarters of the earth right now. My heart is very sensitive now as I grieve the passing of my "Pop". But even moreso now after hearing the news yesterday of a man who committed suicide after killing his wife and five (5) young children after he and his wife both lost their jobs. The reports came in on the radio yesterday as I was driving home about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. Every comment, in my estimation, ended with "Why?"

Every news channel imaginable reported this tragedy as the top story in the Los Angeles area. Still, every comment ending with; "Why?"

As I was driving into work this morning, I heard a news report about a head on collision on one of our local freeways killing 2 people because one of the drivers was driving on the wrong side of the freeway. This is impossible knowing the freeway he or she was on without intentionally doing so.

Tragic news reports!

In my quite time, I started thinking; what would I say to someone contemplating suicide? Hmmm!

Unfortunately, if I could be honest here, I don't know.

But reality is we're faced with this issue and many others every week in the church and from those closest to us who feel like life just isn't worth living anymore. People are becoming more and more desperate to survive to the point that now the only way out is the grave.

I'm not just talking about unbelievers but I believe this issue is even more prevalent with believers. People, who say they love the Lord but hate themselves as well as life.

The test of our faith is trusting God through these economic challenges. My brother and my sister, my suggestion as a preventative measure is to stay prayed up and your nose in the word of God. Allow God to minister to you through prayer and the word.

For us preachers, our challenge is making sure we're preaching the Word of God pointing people to Him who holds all the answers to life's situations. The preaching/teaching moments in our worship services are critical. We never know who's sitting before us shouting but contemplating hurting themselves and/or someone else.

Something to think about....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 1/25/09

Worship was good yesterday. I preached:

Topic: Invest in Your Future
Text: Matthew 6:19-21

Thesis: The text is tailored to teach us that you can have possessions without being possessed. Rather than investing your time, energy, and money in gaining earthly possessions we should invest in heavenly things that last.

1. A Heavenly Investment is a Good Investment - v. 19
Point: You can't go wrong investing in the kingdom.

2. A Heavenly Investment is a Guaranteed Investment - v. 20
Point: Nothing in this life is guaranteed.

3. A Heavenly Investment is a Generous Investment - v. 21
Point: Invest until it hurts by giving God everything you have starting with your life.

God blessed us with this challenging message but it was something that we needed to hear as a congregation. God be praised for His word.

We resume our Walking through the Word Worship Service this week. I can't wait to get back to the teaching of James. We finished last year in chapter 3. So we'll resume our study in chapter 4. It's on and cracking.

I'm preaching a series of sermons in our Sunday morning worship entitled "The God of Our Trust" looking at the OT names of God. This is challenging because in some instances, like in the name Elohim, a one text selection just doesn't explain all there is to know about Our Creator. So, I have my work cut out for me on this one. But I heard someone say before; "Difficult text makes a strong preacher (or something like that). I hope so. Pray my strength in the Lord.

This year is turning out to be a busy one already. Last year, I purposely stayed home and did not fellowship much. I was very selective in who we fellowshipped with because we, First Goodwill Church, needed to spend some quality time together. Therefore, I limited our outings to few if not next to none. I'm glad I did. I got some news about some young pastors in the city that wasn't to good and these guys and I were in the process of a developing a relationship but it just didn't seem to click. After hearing the news and now reflecting back it was God keeping me from some stuff. I dare not try to judge our brothers because we all have our sinful issues whether we like to admit to it or not. And God in heaven knows, I'm not perfect and I'll be the first to admit it. But, I'll be praying for them in my daily prayer time. Our Women's ministry is off to a good start. Tracy is really putting the time in making sure everything organized and well-planned. I'm very proud of her. Keep up the good work.

I have so much studying to do and curriculum to write for new members class, leadership trainging, Wednesday night bible study, Sunday morning worship, and I'm thinking of getting more involved in our convention efforts here in the city. I'm really interested in the congress of Christian education. There is a class for teacher certification this week that I hope to attend to become a teacher in our congress of Christian Education. I've been attending this convention effort for the last 4 years and I thoroughly enjoy every moment. So, we'll see what happens.

We're still waiting for Edison to come out and install the transformer for our panel upgrade. It's going on 2 months and we don't have any heat. Thank God that the past two weekends have been warmer. I finally got this taken care of last week and hopefully they'll be out this week to install. My fingers are crossed.

I went to my mother's house after church yesterday to check up on her. She's doing good but has her moments. Tomorrow is Pop's b-day and they're wedding anniversary is Feb 14th. Please keep her as well as my entire family in your prayers.

Tonite is my basketball night. I play in league play with refs, clocks, crowd, and fouls. It's a lot of fun. The only problem is that our game is at 9 pm which means 10 pm and I won't get home until about 11:30 pm or 12 am depending on LA traffic. Where is people going at 12 am? Home, like me...lol

Until next time, be blessed this week.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Attacked By A Happy Church Member

This brotha is preaching and was about to meet is maker. Watch the big coming to the stage.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quick Thoughts - 1/22/09

First let me thank all of you, who's prayed and praying for my family during the passing of my "POP". We had services this week and thanks to friends (Pastor Payne, Pastor Wilson, and Pastor Albert) all went well. I preached the service which was hard to do being a son and pastor but God held me up in the midst. I preached:

Text: Hebrews 11: 13-16
Topic: A Faith that Never Dies

Thesis: A faith that never dies is a faith that stands the the test of time:

I. God can be trusted because of Past Evidence - "These all died in faith..."

II. God can be trusted because of Present Evaluation - "not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced [them] and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that [country] from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.

III. God can be trusted because of Promised Elevation - "But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly [country]. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

God truly bless the preaching moment but I had to chop it up because we were on a time schedule to get to the Veteran's Cemetary for an early afternoon appointment.

My mother was a trooper and handle everything extremely well. Tracy and my Aunt Betty helped make sure everything was planned right. They deserve 5 stars for this. Please keep praying for us as we take it one day at a time.

We had a good day all day on this past Sunday. Our afternoon service was encouraging as Pastor Payne preached. The late night service was good. It was a good day! Tracy and I got home at 3 am and was back up at 7 am to purchase flowers and make programs for the funeral service. I catnapped all day, went to visit my mother, played in a basketball game, went home, could not sleep, woke up Tues morning at 5 am to go to the church to get my suit but left my shoes. I had a lot of nervous energy.

When I finally laid my head down Tuesday night that was it, that's all. Yesterday, I rested all day getting ready for work today.

All is well and I will see "POP" again!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Been A Long Week

This has been one tough week for my family and I. We've been preparing for the funeral service which will be held Tuesday, January 20th at 9 am at Inglewood Mortuary Chapel. I'm schedule to officiate but I've asked some local pastor friends to handle the service so I can just preach and sit down. I canceled bible study tonight to rest plus my boss is out for the next 2-3 months because of an operation (This is the downside to having a 2 person department) so all responsibilities fall on my shoulders. My plan is to take next Monday, Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday off for bereavement. So I'm trying to get some things done in the next couple of days until I return back to work.

Tracy, Aysia, and Myles are doing good. We were remembering the time God allowed us to spend with "Pop" last night and things got silent with tears. We got a long road ahead of us. But, God is our comforter.

I'm preparing my message for this coming Sunday, "God Sees You" from Genesis 16 (An on time message I think).

This is weekend is going to be extremely busy with family coming from out of town, preparation for this coming Lord's day worship, our Dedication Service is at 3 pm, and we have a late night celebration for MLK's B-Day. I was scheduled to preach for Pastor Curtis Monroe of Redeemer Baptist Church in here the city this coming Sunday at 8 am for his pastor's anniversary prayer breakfast but it was canceled and for that I'm grateful.

We're still waiting for Edision to install transformer to complete electrical upgrade. Geeesh!

Last Sat. was our 1st women's ministry fellowship. It was a good turnout and the women were blessed as well as encouraged. Tracy did an outstanding planning and preparing for the meeting while setting a standard of excellence too. So I'm looking forward to the fruit that will come from this ministry.

Ok, lunch is over and I got to get back to work. See ya later, man down!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 1/11/09

Yesterday was a good, until....

Our worship service extremely wonderful yesterday. The Lord used me to preach from Genesis 17:1 - "Our God Is Sufficeint" (I'll post outline later). I preached in an annual prayer bowl service at First Missionary Baptist Church in he afternoon. I was little irritated because they wanted to put me on a time schedule of 15 minutes after guys before me were 30 plus minutes. I preached the same message but chopped it off and sat down. The congregation and pastors wanted me to continue but my spirit was not right so stayed in my seat even though I really wanted to finish the message.

I went to a farewell service for Bishop D.L. Jones of Living Gospel Church down the street from our church after the prayer bowl. We formed a meaningful relationship a few years ago and sitting at his feet obtaining godly wisdom for ministry and family has truly been a blessing to me.

Then, I got a call right after church from my mother that my stepfather passed. I was in church yesterday morning and he was just as happy as he could be. Yet, the whole time I was preaching, I could not take my eyes off him. I don't know what to make of it.

I know he's in a better place but it's hard right now. Please keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Disciples in Action

"Disciples In Action" is our corporate mentor ministry for disciple-making. This strategy has burden my heart for our church to building meaningful relationship with a focus of drawing each closer to God and to one another. It is also our evangelistic strategy to make more disciples as Jesus instructs us to in Matthew 28:19-20.

Here is our strategy.


Discipleship starts with you!


Here are the five (5) P’s of discipleship:

· Discipleship is PERSONAL—Discipleship just doesn’t happen it’s a personal pursuit.

· Discipleship is a PROCESS— Spiritual maturity starts with knowledge that leads to change but take it one step at a time.

· Discipleship is PURPOSEFUL— Finish what you started!

· Discipleship is about PEOPLE— Effective discipleship is relationship building.

· Discipleship is POSSIBLE— Discipleship is possible to achieve, just stay in your lane.
_____________________________________________________

We cannot be disciple without discipling some one else. How will we disciple others at FGC? By becoming a MENTOR. The best biblical examples :

· Jesus and the disciples
· Paul and Timothy

All ministry teams will mentor each other they work together in ministry.


Purpose Statement:
Disciples in action making more disciples.

Scriptural references: Titus 2:1-8; Hebrews 6:1-12; 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Why is mentoring important?

· Mentoring has a lasting impact on the mentoree. Here’s another way of saying it; “What we do today will last a lifetime” (Quote by Clinton Smith).
· We want to make ready the next generation for ministry in the church.
· We want our lives to count for something more than being a member of a church.
· Mentoring brings joy to the mentor and mentoree.
· Mentoring builds meaningful lasting relationships.
· Mentoring provides accountability.
· Mentoring provides personal growth.
· Mentoring builds character.

Mentoring is important which makes for a good multiplication plan.

How do we mentor? By spending quality time with another.
“Dallas Theological Seminary professor Stan Toussaint, who was one of Richland’s first pastors, once said; ‘ Love is eternal. People are eternal. Therefore, loving people is eternal’.”

Point: Mentoring is simply spending time loving people.

Ministry opportunities at FGC will be vehicle for spending time loving people. But, make no mistake about it it’s not limited to our ministry opportunities.

Here is a listing of present and future ministry opportunities:


► Women’s Ministry
► Men’s Ministry
► Music Ministry
► Children’s (age: 5-12) Ministry
► Youth (ages: 13-18) Ministry
► Young Adult (ages: 19-35) Ministry
► Deacon’s Ministry
► Finance Ministry
► Single’s Ministry
► Food Ministry
► Couples Ministry
► Transportation Ministry
► Media Ministry
► Greeter’s Ministry
► Doorkeepers Ministry
► Pastor’s Care Ministry

To insure the effectiveness of mentoring, members of FGC cannot lead more than two (2) ministries at a time. This prevents burnout and any possible manipulation tactics during mentoring process.


Preventative Measures

Here are six (6) ways to make sure mentoring is effective at FGC:

· Set the tone. The mentor creates an environment of trust. Upon initial contact with mentoree open yourself up by sharing your struggles and victories. Sharing your struggles has a of taking the relationship to another level.

· Clarify expectations. Don’t expect too much from mentoree and the mentoree should not expect too much from the mentor. The safest way to insure clarity of expectations is with openness, hospitality, and boundaries.

· Maintain Trust. After trust is maintained, it must be established. Gossip, negativity, and judgmental attitude is out of the question. Confidentiality is the key to maintaining trust.

· Right Motives. Make sure your motives are godly and pure

· Network. Make your contacts available in areas where you’re not gifted or spiritually qualified to handle. It’s nothing wrong with saying; “I don’t know but let me refer you to some who can help you”.

· Honesty. By virtue of extra years, mentors have more life experiences than the mentoree. However, when sharing life experiences make sure you use the word of God and how it changed your life circumstances.

· Ask good questions. Remember, you as a mentor do not possess all the answers but you can discover the need(s) of the mentoree by asking the right questions. Right questions, will uncover deep spiritual issues.

Questions Mentors can ask:

· How is you ministry or job affecting your relationship with God?
· How is your sense of God’s call being clarified?
· Where are you skills being tested?
· Where is your character being tested?
· What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
· How can I help you?
· What evidence can you point to of the presence and power of God in you life?
· How are doing in your prayer life?
· How’s your devotional time with God?

This is not an exhaustive list of questions but it’s a starting point. The more time you spend with each other the better the questions. Remember, your primary goal as a mentor is to uncover deep spiritual needs and point them to God for the answers.

Personal Development

As a mentor, it is important that you are a continuous learner. Your personal development is key the success of mentoring someone. Therefore, the mentor must:

· Be Positive (Philippians 4:8). You must genuinely believe in the potential of a person. It is your goal to pull the best out of that person.

· Be Flexible (2 Corinthians 1:16-20). There will be times when the person you’re mentoring will need you at the most inconvenient of times. Be flexible enough to accommodate them to the best of your ability.

· Be Prayerful (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Never stop praying for the person(s) being mentored.

· Be a learner (2 Timothy 2:2). All leaders of our church are expected to be a mentor. Therefore, all leaders of the church are expected to be in bible study, Sunday morning worship, and complete all assigned reading. It is also the leaders responsibility to develop and maintain their own learning disciplines. If you’re not learning, you can’t mentor.


Progress Updates

How will we measure the progress and effectiveness of our mentor ministry? It’s difficult to measure based on numbers and percentages. However, quarterly meetings will take place among leadership mentoring group to assess needs, challenges, and progress. The best measurement for progress is disciples in action making disciples causing growth in the Body.

I believe this is the direction God is leading for us to fulfill the Great Commission.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

FGC Bible Reading Plan 2009


Here is our corporate bible reading plan for 2009 at First Goodwill Church. It's simple and I tried to make sure it's achieveable by reading shorter books first in combination of OT/NT.
Try it and tell me what you think!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 01-05-09

It's good to be in 2009, what a privilege, honor, and blessing!



Our first service in 2009 was wonderful. We're still unpacking and waiting for Edison to install new transformer for electrical upgrade. The building is extremely cold and many of our members struggle with it so they don't come or if they do the attention is on cold and not God. I'm praying for Edison to come out this week to install transformer so our electrical work can be completed.



At any rate, the preaching event was exciting (and I'm not saying that because I was preaching). I preached rather hard yesterday in our service as if it was my last time. Going into the new year I have a new appreciation for the preaching event and want it to be more meaningful in exposition as well as presentation. I'm focusing my attention on my presentation this year wanting to tighting up on speech, gestures, words, volume, etc. I'm still learning and want to improve.



Sermon Outline:



Text: Luke 17:11-19

Topic: I'm Grateful



Thesis: We have much to be thankful for!



1. Thank God for His Presence - v. 11-13

Point: God will meet you right where you are.



2. Thank God for His Power - v. 14

Point: The Word of God has the power to change your life no matter how bad it is.



3. Thank God Personally - v. 15-19

Point: It's your responsibility to praise God for His goodness! Take advantage!



Thank God for His word! We didn't catch any in the net but we'll keep fishing until then.



I'm getting ready for our church conference meeting this Wednesday night. I feel a deep desire to focus on evangelism and ministry. Our meeting will not be spent on financial issues. The discussion is simple, WE'RE BROKE! We're going to discuss ministry through building meaningful relationships. I want to be as positive as I possible can. However, I can't talk about the future without discussing some of the issues in the early part of 2008. It was a hard year for us as a church the first 6 months of 2008. We pulled through but it needs to be discussed in a preventative manner to insure history doesn't repeat itself. So, I'm praying as to how I should approach our year-end review.


I've abandoned our series "The Importance of Supporting the Local Church" for now and starting a new series this coming Sunday entitled " The God of Our Trust". This sermon series will be based on the names of God (Elohim, El Shaddai, Jehovah-Jireh, etc). I pray God will bless our efforts and our understanding of God so we can trust Him more and love Him deeper.



In 2009, 3rd Sunday is Evangelism Emphasis Sunday and 4th Sunday is Stewardship Emphasis Sunday. I plan to preach messages emphasing the importance of Evangelism and Stewardship all year long. In our bible study time, I'm going to complete the book of James and spend the next 6 months on worship. I'm researching information for this study.

I'm implementing a new members class and leadership training course. I met with our leaders a couple of weeks ago and in our devotional lesson I explained that leadership positions at First Goodwill is earned not appointed. One of the mistakes made over the years was that people were "nominated" for key positions with no leadership skills, integrity, or spiritual maturity. It was about filling spots for the sake of filling spots and that needs to change. Implementing a leadership course sets a standard for leadership as well as provides communication of expectations and responsibilities. Plus, if a person wants a leadership position he or she will be willing to learn what it means to be a leader at FGC.

Our ministry focus will be corporate mentoring for all ages. All ministry teams will make it their aim to mentor each other as they work together in ministry. This will require each person to focus on self-development to be a consistent example for those they mentor. I'm reading a download packet entitled "Essential Church (Reclaiming a generation of dropouts)". This packet has challenged me to look at the relationship between the seasoned saint and our young people. One key element that's missing in our church is the seasoned saint/young people relationship much like the relationship between Paul and Timothy. One thing that kept me rooted in the church is preachers and deacons who took me under their wings to develop me as a Christian man. This was vital in the early development stages of my life. We need it today!

I'm really excited about this year. I believe God is going to do some good things for our church but we have to be strategic in our efforts.

This is the first year that I feel like I'm pastoring the church now and I'm excited about it.

It's good to be back in the blogging community, I missed you guys, let's stay in the fight together.

Be blessed until next time!