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Monday, March 30, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 3/29/09

Praise God for nuggets of ministry progress! Yesterday was a good day of worship even though it started out a little weird for me. I can’t put a finger on it but it was a rather interesting morning. So much so, I washed my car before service. Weird!

Nevertheless, our women’s ministry was in charge of service yesterday as every 5th Sunday of 2009 is dedicated to the women’s ministry. Kinda sounds like the traditional Mission Circle Sunday back in the day. They did an excellent job ushering us into the presence of God. Tracy did all the singing during praise/worship, good job. I learned something new, the month of March is Women’s History month and Sis Loud did a presentation on Dolores Huerta, Harriet Tubman, and Marian Anderson. Good information that reminds us of God’s faithfulness to humanity.

We continued our study on the names of God, El Elyon – God Most High was in our study line-up.

Topic: Trusting God Who Controls Everything
Text: Genesis 14

Thesis Statement: How much does God control? Everything! God is actively participating in our lives all the time, good and bad.

1. The Distance of God’s Sovereignty – v. 19 - “And he blessed him and said; ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth…”

God is sovereign over heaven and earth.

What this means is….

His Dominion (supreme authority) is Everlasting - The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. - Psalm 24:1 (NLT) - God can do what He wants to.

The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity. - Psalm 115:16 (NLT)

Nothing can stop what God wants to do.

He Does according to His will – “And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

God can do what He wants to without explaining it.

Bottom-line: God is in charge of the entire universe all the time.

2. The Display of God’s Sovereignty – v. 20 - And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand."

- We know God is at work because of God’s Permissive Will

Biblical illustration of God’s permissive will is seen in the life Job (Job 1:1-6)
Be assured that while God’s permissive will allows trouble in our lives it’s to our benefit to trust Him more.

- We know God is at work because of God’s Protective Will

Biblical illustration of God’s protective will is seen in the life Peter (Luke 22:31-32)

- God places limits on Satan. He can’t do no more to you than what God allows.

- Jesus is praying for you!

- God is in control not Satan

3. The Decision to Trust God’s Sovereignty – v. 22 - But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth,

Abram turns down the offer of Bera, king of Sodom to trade Lot for material possessions.

There is one of two things we can do in response to the Sovereignty of God…

- We can oppose His control

- We can trust His control

I closed the message with a series of questions to make us think.

Where does your trust lie? In your stuff, smarts, and skills or the Sovereign

Is your soul eternally secure with the Sovereign? God is in total control of our eternal destiny.

Are you able to accept God’s control when it costs you everything?

God be praised for planting and watering seeds. May it fall on good ground.

In the afternoon, we had our first women’s fellowship service of the year. Great fellowship among the women! The women of Praise Chapel and First Goodwill Church joined together this year to build each our women’s ministry. It’s helped both churches to stay encouraged in the work of the Lord. We’re both small congregations and we’re able to network with each to make a difference in both churches. Evangelist Fannette Douglas was the speaker and she really blessed the women of our church (and those in attendance) in a great way. She has a mentoring ministry called “Daughters of Faith” that is awesome. She is really gifted in ministering to women, young and old. May the women of First Goodwill and Praise Chapel be made better from our fellowship together.

That’s it that’s all, until next time; Stay blessed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Present the Gospel

As we all know, Easter (Resurrection) Sunday is quickly approaching and with less than 3 weeks to that day, I’m in the process of planning our Resurrection Day Service. I started out wanting to be extravagant with all the bells and whistles. I began calling friends for favors for this big day of ours so we can worship with a live band, praise team, praise dancers, etc. I’m working on a short presentation to run on our “BIG” screens. If I could, a donkey would be walking down the aisle as if it was Jesus entering into Jerusalem for the very first time. I mean I want to be big with extravagance with an effort to impress those who would attend. And the truth of the matter is that many churches, pastors, preachers, members, and invited guest come that day to impress one another with a new on the outside while the inside is a total mess.

As I prepared for our church conference on last night, I quickly became convicted with my planning approach to Resurrection Sunday. Bob Kauflin in his article; “How To Approach Easter Planning” says: “If we’re most concerned about our creativity, our lighting, our talent, our “relevance,” or our cleverness, we’ve missed the point. It’s not that any of those things are wrong or unimportant. They’re just not the best thing we have to offer unbelievers who come through our doors on Easter morning. For that reason, we need to make sure that at some point we clearly explain our need for a Savior. Tell it plainly, biblically, and passionately. Most people are oblivious to the fact that their greatest need is to be reconciled to God. We have the privilege of telling them. What a joy!”

It was at this point that I realized that as a Christian and pastor, I have one responsibility to unbelievers on Easter Sunday morning; “PRESENT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST”.

Take a moment to reflect on the week of crucifixion…we can all agree that the cross was everything but extravagant. It was ugly, terrible, and painful! But it was the ugliness of the cross that provided the beauty of salvation. Thank you Lord for dying on the cross!!!

My approach to Resurrection Sunday changed from extravagance to evangelistic. We discussed our approach to presenting the Gospel before, during, and after Easter Sunday morning to unbelievers. What a wonderful discussion!

Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the pressure of planning a service that we miss the service importance.

Here’s our plan for Resurrection 2009:

Theme: “The Gospel in Present-Tense – “An Old Story with Power to Change Your Life Today”
Text: Ephesians 2

Outreach Plan: Mailers, Eblast, Egg-Vitations (Kids evangelistic approach), One card-One guest, Love Jars (filled with cookie mix, soup ingredients, brownie mix, etc – given to guest families), and an appreciation gift ( Max Lucado’s book “The 3:16 Promise”). We’re also going to purchase bottle water and label with our churches name, address, etc for that day and on-going as an evangelistic tool (thank you Deacon Ham for that idea).

Follow-up is one of our biggest shortfalls. Based on our “Stay Connected” Cards received after the service we will send out a follow-up letter of thank within three days of Resurrection Sunday.

Service Plan: “God Moments”: Each member will share in 100 words or less “What the Resurrection of Jesus Means to Me”. These testimonies will be inserted into our bulletin and a selected group of members will share their story in our worship service. This is power of a short story in presenting the Gospel from our members. We’re still working on a short presentation of the gospel message in length of 2-3 minutes to show during our service.

Preaching Plan: Ephesians 2 – I’m not sure actually what part of Ephesians 2. The text is so rich and wordy that I’m going to take some time over the next couple weeks to pray and meditate for a communication approach.

It is my prayer that God will be glorified in our feeble attempts to share the Gospel on Easter Sunday morning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Men Of Integrity

In this week's article from Men of was this featured article:

Key Bible Verse: So think clearly and exercise self-control (1 Peter 1:13). Bonus Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-19

When Karen and I got married, we set a guideline. Since eating together can be intimate, we said we wouldn't eat alone with someone of the opposite sex unless it was either truly necessary for work—which this wasn't—or we gave our spouse advanced notice—which I didn't.

During the week our project groups met daily, and I spent a lot of time talking with Becky. I was thinking, Maybe I shouldn't be doing that. But we're friends, there's nothing wrong with talking.
The last night of the course there was a dance. I remember thinking, I wonder if I should ask her to dance with me. That probably wouldn't be a good idea. But if I don't she'll perceive me as rude. See how sexual temptation was surrounding me with a cone of delusion?

What kept me on the safe side of the line, even though my toes were right up to it, were two people with whom I have honest relationships: my wife and my friend Tim Jones. I knew they were going to ask me how the course went. I wasn't going to be able to bluff them. When I told Karen about this, it was a hard conversation for her; it was a hard for me too. But accountability is what saves you.

—Kevin Miller in Preaching Today

My Response: Who do I have—not condemning, but firm—to walk through situations like this with me?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 3/22/09

What a good day yesterday! God has renewed my fire and passion for preaching all over again. It’s been a struggle over the past few weeks and I wasn’t sure why it was. I think it was my defeat in understanding my study of Adonai because I’ve never, in my ministry, struggled with a text like this before where it has caused me to abandoned it and preach something else.

After my post on Thursday, I still tried to study and develop thoughts on Adonai, I took it as a challenge, but I lost. So, now I’ve resolved to commit Adonai to a personal development study for myself but not for preaching or teaching.

So yesterday I preached:

Topic: Appreciating God’s Blessings
Text: James 1:17

Thesis: You are blessed believe it or not.

The text teaches us two (2) important reminders of God’s blessings to aide us in our appreciation of God’s blessings.

God’s Blessings are Sufficient – “Every good and perfect gift comes from above…”

Point: God is good all the time!

God is good all the time in Salvation - Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; [it is] the gift of God.”

God is good all the time in Sanctification - Tts 3:3-5 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

God is good all the time in our Security - 1Jo 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

Conclusion: God is good to us with blessings that last a life-time.

Eph 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ,

God is the Source of all Blessings – “and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

Paternal Source of Blessings – “..and comes down from the Father…”

Pure Source of Blessings – “…and comes down from the Father of lights…”

Protected Source of Blessings – “…whom there is no variation or shadow of turning…”

The nest was cast but none came in.

Last night I preached in a revival in Pomona, Ca for Pastor Terry Johns for the 1st time. For the last 20 years they have a 30 day revival (Sunday – Friday) in the month of March. What a worship experience! The young people of the church are on fire for the Lord and loves the Word of God. I preached “Strength for Weary” from Isaiah 40:28-31. The church was very receptive to the presentation of the Gospel and many responded in faith during the invitation. God be Praised!

This week is going to be pretty busy with work, our quarterly church conference, sermon preparation on El Elyon-God Most High, Aysia’s track meet(s), preparation for Resurrection Sunday, and so much more. God has not failed me yet in giving me strength to handle all my responsibilities and He won’t let me down this week either.

That’s it that’s all, see ya later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Study of Adonai

Now, I really understand what it means when “WE” say that “our finite minds cannot obtain an infinite God”. For the last three (3) weeks, I’ve been studying a name of God, “ADONAI”. This descriptive name of God has given me so much trouble in studying it that I’ve decided to abandoned it until a later time. When? Who knows but not right now!

My approach to studying the names of God is to study by it’s 1st mention of Scripture. This particular name is mentioned for the first time in Genesis 15:2; But Abram said, "Lord GOD (translation ADONAI), what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house [is] Eliezer of Damascus?". I’m not understanding how God reveals Himself has “Adonai” in the text.

I’ve researched in every resource possible to find a clear meaning of the name and its relation to Genesis 15. I did a Google search and not much came up that was understandable in my opinion. Here’s what I mean.
ADONAI - a-do'-ni, ad-o-na'-i ('adhonay): A Divine name, translated "Lord," and signifying, from its derivation, "sovereignty." Its vowels are found in the Massoretic Text with the unpronounceable tetragrammaton YHWH; and when the Hebrew reader came to these letters, he always substituted in pronunciation the word " 'adhonay." Its vowels combined with the tetragrammaton form the word "Yahweh (Yahweh)."

Use in the Bible: In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times. There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah (e.g., Adonai Jehovah). It occurs 200 times in Ezekiel alone and appears 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9. Adonai is first used in Gen 15:2.

Variant spellings: None

TWOT Reference: 27b

Strong's Reference: 0136

Adonai in the Septuagint: kurios — Lord, Master

Meaning and Derivation: Adonai is the verbal parallel to Yahweh and Jehovah. Adonai is plural; the singular is adon. In reference to God the plural Adonai is used. When the singular adon is used, it usually refers to a human lord. Adon is used 215 times to refer to men. Occasionally in Scripture and predominantly in the Psalms, the singular adon is used to refer to God as well (cf. Exd 34:23). To avoid contravening the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" (Exd 20:7), sometimes Adonai was used as a substitute for Yahweh (YHWH). Adonai can be translated literally as, "my lords' " (both plural and possessive).


It appears that this particular name of God is based on statistics of usage and grammar structure. Am I missing something here?

Nevertheless, I’m struggling with the meaning and revelation of God to Abraham as Adonai in Genesis 15.

So, I thought I would write to see if I could make sense of my research thus far. These are scattered thoughts and nothing is definite as of yet.

OT meaning of Adonia: I’ve read just about every cross reference I could in my study. There are a couple of words that came out in my reading of Adonai: reverence. The OT use of Adonai was used in place of YHWH (YAHWEH) because the people held God’s name in high esteem. They lived in practice of Exodus 20:7 – “"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

I also see that Adonai means authority or sovereignty. This is seen throughout the Psalms.

Psa 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
Psa 8:9 O Lord , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psa 16:2 I say to the Lord , "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."
Psa 22:30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
Psa 35:17 How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions!
Psa 35:22 You have seen, O Lord ; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me!
Psa 35:23 Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication, for my cause, my God and my Lord!
Psa 54:4 Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.

There are many other OT passages that explain “Adonai” - God’s sovereign authority over our lives.

Did I just discover the meaning of Adonai? I’m not sure I’ll keep writing.

Adonai in the Septuagint means kurios — Lord, Master. Kurios means he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord. The possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner who has control of the person, the master. It is title of honour expressive with which servants greet their master.

The OT usage of Adonai is in dual and can refer to God when used with capital letter “L” or can be used for a human being when used with lower case “l”. This seems so technical trying to explain this name. Geeeeesh! But, I guess I have to dig through the technical in order to understand the meaning of Adonai. I hope those reading can follow my messy study.

In the NT Adonai (kurios) is used strictly referring to Jesus (God, the Messiah). It appears that the NT strips the dual reference of Adonai from referring to God and man to just referring to God, alone. Jesus makes it plain to His disciples in Matthew 10:24; “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” Jesus also says in Matthew 23:8b – “…you have only one Master and you are all brothers.”

In the NT, I see two words of importance; master and servant. God might be many things to us, but He is always our master, and we are always His servants. Adonai reminds us of our place in God’s order.

When we put all this together, the question still remains what does Adonai mean? What is the relation of Adonai and Abraham in Genesis 15? Should I take another route to studying this name? Why is this one so hard to comprehend? Is it fear of discovering a great truth that’s causing me to abandoned this great name? Or is God so big that I’m not ready to receive Him to Him in this manner of Adonai? I don’t know. I have a bunch of question and it frustrates me to study a text for three weeks and still don’t have anything. I pray I become a better expositor on the other side of this study.

Everything within me says live it alone but I think that’s a cop-out move.

If I’ve gained anything from studying the names of God so far I think it’s this for certain, WE SERVE A BIG GOD AND HE DESERVES ALL REVERENCE!!!!!!!!!

Decisions, decisions, decisions, Sunday is here what is a preacha to do?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 3/15/09

This weekend was very busy, very great, and very relaxing!

I took a break from work and the church this weekend something I really needed to do, rest. I have not been out of the pulpit all year nor took a few days of work off for rest and it started to burn me out. My boss has been out all year due to a knee surgery and work has been stressful because of a downward spiral in business due to the recession. So, I told everybody good-bye for a minute.

Tracy and I started out to a concert to hear one of my favorite R&B/Jazz singers Kem on Friday in Riverside, Ca. But the traffic was so crazy that we stopped at Chili’s for dinner and went back home. I hate I missed this concert but it worked out for the best because Saturday was extremely long. We had a women’s meeting at the church, I picked up Pop’s clothes and take them to the church for our Impact Day 2009 in April (hopefully), I picked up a board for Tracy to finish a sign job, and made sandwiches for Aysia’s track meet. All of this Saturday before noon. Wow!

We arrived at Aysia’s track meet at 2:30 pm but the races didn’t start until 5 pm. She was in rare form Saturday. Nobody could out run her in the 200 meter nor the 400 meter relay. She started having problems with shin-splints in the last race so she didn’t do well. The re-occurrence of shin-splints stems from inadequate stretching. As with all teenagers, they know everything. We got home at 8:30 pm and everybody was totally exhausted from the day.

I didn’t preach Sunday but I did go to church. My nephew Louis Monroe preached and did excellent with El Oloam – Everlasting God. His sermon title; “Just In Case You Forgot” -Genesis 21:33. We had good worship but off crowd from the good crowd we’ve been having over the past few weeks.

After church, Tracy and I packed up and went to San Diego, Ca for her birthday. Her birthday is on March 18th but we celebrated the weekend before. I wanted the buffet at Pala Casino but when we got there it was closed until 4 pm and I didn’t want to wait so we left and went to our favorite Mexican food restaurant instead. After dinner, we went back to the room to watch movies but as our bodies would have it, we fell asleep.

I’m an early bird so I woke up at early (5 am) Monday morning but forced myself to sleep until 7 am. We had continental breakfast and laid around watching movies until checkout time. We took a slow drive back home. We didn’t do much but we did have fun getting away from those teens of ours. We needed another day but I'll settle for what we had for now because budget said one day is enough.

We had our playoff game last night and won. I had a decent game (15 points – 9 assists – 12 rebounds). I was one assist away from a triple/double and a beast on the boards. Bring on the NBA! Hey, right! Quarter final is tonight at the Westside Jewish Community Center. We’re projected to take championship, hands down.

Now, it’s back to the grind! Hope all is well with my blogging family, peace.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


It's amazing how when you get bombed in ministry that God sends little nuggets of hope to stay in the fight. My brothers and I play in basketball league every Monday together with other family members and friends.

Each week we all meet at my brother's house to ride together before going to the game. It allows us the opportunity to hang out and chat to keep our closeness. But something unusual has been happening for the last two weeks that I really have not been paying attention to until this morning when I woke up.

Last week when I got to his house, my sister-in-law, spent an hour downstairs talking to me about the church and trying to understand the mechanics of church structure. She doesn't normally do that. When we come in she says hello and goes upstairs to her room. No dislike among any of us but she let's have our space being brothers. This is also a blessing because she grow up with a Catholic background. But it seems as if her interest in Christianity is increasing more and more each day. I caught onto our discussion pretty quick and turned from discussion church mechanics to Christian discipleship. We didn't get to finish our conversation because we had to leave for our game.

Last night as usual, we met at my brothers house to go to the game. When we got in the car, our conversation changed from the usual non-sense that the two of them talk about to my brother expressing a desire to change his ways. He was extremely excited about our last Family N Friends day and has been telling everybody he can think of about the next one. All the way to the game and even arriving to the game, he really opened up to me with some very intimate questions about change. I caught on to what was going on and started sharing Christian discipleship. In our shoot around, he kept talking as if it was nobody in the building but he and I.

I've been praying extremely hard for the last few years about my siblings salvation. I was the church boy in the family, they went to church because my mother made them go to church, and they stayed home most of the time when they got older.

I believe my prayers are being answered in many ways as it relates to planting seeds of Christian discipleship to my siblings. I'm asking you my blogging family to join me in prayer for their salvation.

God honors faithfulness not just in the pulpit but also in our efforts of evangelism. I'm learning that.

Stay blessed until next time,

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 3/8/09

Let me sum up our 67th Church Anniversary Weekend. Awesome!!

We had a glorious time this weekend starting with our Prayer Breakfast on Saturday. The food was excellent thanks to Good Life Catering Services. Minister John Bernard did an excellent job leading songs of worship which set the tune for the preaching moment. Pastor Ron killed it with Luke 13 The Parable of Barren Fig Tree which he Titled “One More Year”. What a blessing! I got stuck on v. 8 But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

In short, it’s the fertilizer, Pastor Ron’s translation; “The stinky stuff”, that God uses to bring the best out of us. My prayer; ‘Lord, give me some of that stinky stuff”.

It was a really good time of fellowship with Pastor Ron, the members of Rhema church, Min Bernard and friends, and Pastor Payne. Thank you all for making our prayer breakfast such a huge success. Awesome!

Tracy could not make the prayer breakfast because my daughter Aysia had her first track meet. After the prayer breakfast, Tracy called and alerted me that Aysia hadn’t run yet. Mind that it’s 1 pm and they’ve been at the school since 8 am that morning. So, I helped clean up, changed clothes and headed to the school. Aysia out ran those girls by 2 car lengths in the 4x4 relay and another race (I can’t remember what it was). Good job! We did not get home until 8:30 pm. I tried to read in preparation for Adonai but lost the battle to sleep.

Before falling asleep, I prayed real quick, “Lord, tomorrow is Sunday and I’m having trouble with Adonai. Help me!”

Heading to the church, the Lord placed on my heart to preach Isaiah 40: 28-31.

Title: The Strengthening of the Weary

Thesis: God will give you strength.

1. The Person of our Strengthening – v. 28-29

- God is Sovereign – “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth”
- God never gets tired – “Neither faints nor is weary”
- God is smart – “His understanding is unsearchable”
- God is the source of our strength – “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength”

2. The Principle of our Strengthening – v. 30-31a

- Waiting on God is Difficult – Waiting on God is difficult when you need immediate deliverance and/or assistance.
- Waiting on God is to your best interest – Waiting on God means getting closer to God

3. The Promise in our Strengthening v. 31b

Here’s the promise, God will renew your strength to keep on keeping on.

I never got to the promise because I got caught in the principle and it broke me down. The Hebrew meaning of “wait” is to bind together or in a figurative since “twisting”.

A few weeks ago I went to wash my car after the rain. I have a shammy that I’ve been using for about 3-4 years. As I was drying the car, my shammy became filled with water and the only way to release the excess water was twisting the shammy so it can be used again. Waiting on God means that before He blesses us sometimes we need to be twisted to relieve ourselves of excess baggage, worries, problems, stresses, anxieties, and frustrations.

I lost it right there. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been extremely anxious and worried about the growth of our church. We’re planting and watering but not seeing any increase. That makes for a frustrated preacher/pastor. But I also exhorted the church during this season of ministry together where it seems like no growth is apparent. God is twisting us to release us of some excess to prepare and strengthening us for the journey that lies ahead. KEEP TWISTING US LORD!

After service, we didn’t intend to hang around but we had leftovers from the prayer breakfast so my mother and Sadie went in the kitchen and made us some breakfast. We dined sufficiently with leftovers (that’s another sermon). We watched, as a family, Christian comedian Bishop Billy Bob. He was soooo funny!

Our afternoon service got even better with Pastor Michael Albert of Mt Aaron Church (who’s also a son of First Goodwill) and Pastor Curtis Monroe Jr of Redeemer Church. What a time! As God would have it in His sovereign control, pastor Monroe preached, Psalms 40:1-3 – “To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, [And] established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth-- Praise to our God; Many will see [it] and fear, And will trust in the LORD” of which he titled; “Get Ready to Sing”. WOW!

The word for our church during this celebration is “Wait On God”.

We, as a church and pastor, needed this weekend of preaching. God be praised!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

67th Church Anniversary Weekend

Our 67th Church Anniversary will kick-off this Saturday, March 7th @ 9 am with a all-you-can- eat prayer breakfast. Our speaker for this event is Pastor Ronald Saunders of Rhema Community Church and Min John Bernard will lead us in praise and worship.

On Sunday, March 8th, our celebration continues in our 10 am worship service with a special message from me. And then at 3 pm we will conclude our celebration with guest churches: Pastor Curtis Monroe and the Redeemer Church family and Pastor Micheal Albert and the Mt Aaron Church family with a special guest appearance by Praise-N-Motion.

If you are a without a church home, un-saved, or have no prior commitment with your current church family please join us in worship. God and His people will meet you there with our presence.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How Do You Find The Time?

This question “How do I find the time?” was asked by Pastor Ronald Saunders of Rhema Community Church in his comment to my Sunday notes 3/1/09. He’s not the only one who has asked the question or one similar to it in recent days. So I thought I would write my philosophy, belief, conviction, etc on time management.

Last year, 2008, was one the busiest years for me as a pastor, employee, husband, and father. I had to juggle my time availability with numerous responsibilities (i.e. project, sermon preparation, employee responsibilities, family, me time (mainly rest), children activities, and a host of time robbers.

One of the most precious commodities in life, in my opinion, is time. Time passes by like the wind. Sometimes you feel the breeze of its comfort but then its rumble that can blow you over (Quote by: Me).

I’ve learned over the years (and still learning) that much can be accomplished in 24 hours. Being a bi-vocational pastor is teaching me that I don’t have time to waste. There are 2 verses that are dear to my heart for using my time wisely.

Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time (Colossians 4:5).

These 2 passages help me to stay focused on my day-to-day activities and responsibilities. Please don’t take this as if I’m a time management guru because I’m not. Actually, it has been one of my biggest challenges as a pastor over the years. But last year taught me the importance of time management and with some adjustments I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in short period of time.

Here are several suggestions I want to offer to a busy person:

1. Schedule – One of my learned principles that has helped me over the past year or so is scheduling my responsibilities by priority. I carry a calendar with me at all times and it has been installed on my cell phone. The calendar consists of all church, family, job, and me activities. I try my best not overbook myself. The word NO is becoming one of my favorite words. I use Microsoft Outlook task manager like my bible (figuratively speaking) with reminders to help me follow-up and follow through. A good schedule of your activities provides clear direction for the day. I’ve set Friday nights as together time for Tracy and I. To the best of my ability I try my best not to make plans on that day that doesn’t include her. Sunday afternoons is family time (after I rest). So we go for ice cream or something as a family. You’ll be amazed that simple things matter most to the ones you love in spending quality time.

2. Discipline – Be aware of time robbers (i.e. TV, hanging out, telephone, surfing the internet, Facebook, blogging, friends dropping by, etc). I don’t have a lot of friends that I talk to or hang out with on a regular basis. And the friends I do have we pretty much have a schedule time to check in with each other and we respect each others responsibilities enough to get off the phone or say good-bye so we can continue our daily duties. Protect your time!

3. Be flexible – This could be considered as a contradiction to discipline. Because one hand I’m saying be disciplined but then saying be flexible. Let me explain before you close your ear. It is possible to not get everything done in one day, that’s reality. Something unexpected comes up all the time that can throw a monkey wrench in your whole plan. Be flexible enough to deal with the unforeseen but make your way back to your schedule and start the next day. If you’re having a number of unforeseen events that just may mean you have not scheduled yourself properly. Unforeseen events should be the exception not the rule.

4. Take advantage of free time – I’m not a lover of reading but I like to read. Of course, one of my problems is finding time to read through a book completely not to mention tight finances. So, I subscribe to different Christian websites for reading material (Christianity Today, Building Church Leaders, Lifeway, or download free books from John Piper’s website). I also print book material from my Libronix (contains books for David Jeremiah and John McArthur) and Wordsearch (Larry Burkette and too many others) software by chapter or sometimes read from my cell phone. This has helped me prepare for my teaching and preaching assignments as well as personal development. I have a study organization worksheet that I use for passage studies and each week print a copy. It consist of text and all translations and observation questions (why, when, and how). I carry this worksheet everywhere. So at lunch, track meet, watching a game, or wherever, I use that free time.

5. Do inventory of your schedule – I use to beat myself up like crazy if I forgot to do something. But then I started going back over my schedule and checking off the things that was accomplished. To my surprise I completed much more than I thought. Now, I write everything down no matter how small a task and when it’s done I mark it complete. It gives me a since of accomplishment knowing my day was not wasted.

Again, I’m not a time management guru. This is just some things I implemented in my life to make better use of my time and I’m still learning. Hope this little bit helps somebody make better use of their time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday Thoughts - 3/1/09

How do I explain this weekend? Uh, let see...busy, awesome, tired, blessed, tired, great, get the picture by now.

This was a great yet busy weekend for me. Friday, we had sound check with the Greater Los Angeles Cathedral Choir. My calling is not a sound technician but thank God for past experiences that's allow me the ability to step in when needed. It's been years since I've conducted sound for concert productions. But thinkgs are quickly coming back to memory. I did my best and pray that they were satisfied. I do, however, have some issues that require my sound engineer to come back to check. So I'll be giving him a call this week to make some adjustments.

Saturday, I went to Aysia's track meet. She didn't run because of shin-splints that keep re-occurring. Her official track meet is this Saturday and I hope she runs. I won't be able to make it because of the prayer breakfast at the church. I left the track meet and went home to clean up and rest before set-up time for musical at the church. I was amazed at the choirs timeliness. Great job! An additional sound check started at about 6 pm and the choir hit the stage and started singing church started before church actualy started. Unbelievably! I have not seen this kind of ministry in years from a community choir. These young people love the Lord with all their heart, mind, body, and soul. They are definitely my favorite group of people besides the people of FGMBC. Prez Blackmon and Renee Spearmen sung "He Changed Me" and killed us. Markita McKnight led praise and worship, WOW! My first time hearing her, WOW! Shari Demby killed it, WOW! Gospel rapper Ezekiel gave us something to think about, WOW! And GLACC was awesome! Overall, Awesome was the word of the day.

When we left church Saturday night, there was a party down the street from the church. It got a little rowdy so I told the saints to get in their cars and go home. Sunday morning the street was taped off and police were everywhere. Not a surprise, someone was killed at the party. Please keep our community in your prayers, Huntington Park, Ca. It's predominantly Hispanic and it seems like the violence is increasing every other week.

Our Sunday morning worship was excellent. We had guest who came by that were new faces for our church. I've been praying that God would burden our hearts for lost people and I'm starting to see some fruit from that labor of prayer. I'm not stopping.

I had a struggle with a name for God, Adonai, last week. This one is giving me the blues. I'm going to pick up this week for Sunday. So far, I got the meaning of the name "Sovereign God". But one of my systems for studying the names of God is to preach the name in it's first mention of scripture. For the most part it works but for this name it's difficult when mentioned in Genesis 15. Too many possibilities of using symbolisms in a sermon and I try to stay away from that especially when we preaching an OT passage.

So, I preached Numbers chapter 13 and 14; "Trusting God For Your Future". I'll post outline later.

After church I went home and Tracy cooked the best dinner; roast w/potatoes and carrots, rice corn bread, and oatmeal raisin cookies. I ate while watching the Fakers (Lakers) who got mopped up by the Suns. Shaq with 33 points. I'm not a prophet but I think if the Suns don't make it in the playoffs, Shaq is coming back to LA, UGHHHHH! I went to sleep and didn't wake up until about 5:30 pm and started watching the Stellar Awards.

This week will be long and stressful. My job starting laying people off on Friday in the shop and this week they'll start in the office. Lord, help me keep my job! I must study to be ready for Sunday, we have to prepare for our 67th Church Anniversary this weekend: Saturday; Prayer Breakfast, Sunday; Worship Service @ 10 am and Afternoon service @ 3 pm. So this week is going to be pretty long for me.

A lot to do and not enough time to do it all.

That's it, that's all, Be blessed.