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Friday, December 30, 2011

Ministry on The Move

This coming year looks to be pretty busy with ministry opportunities for which I am so grateful. I'm excited about what God is doing in my personal ministry as well as Him using me at Mt Pilgrim to assist Bishop Sanders. Here's a few highlights for the year that I'm looking forward to:

January 13th and 14 - Teaching a leadership conference for One Church Bishop WT Ervin entitled: The Soul Health Of Leadership - Leading When It Hurts To Lead

January 22 - Preaching at a Renewal Service with New Harvest Christian Church - Pastor F Demond Harris at 8:30 am. Preaching for Divine Direction Church - Pastor A E Johnson @ 11:30 am.

January 29th - Scholarship Prayer Bowl - First Missionary Baptist church @ 3 pm.

July 9th - 13th: Citywide Revival in San Angelo, Texas

Writing curriculum for the church - Theme: Shifting from Doctrine to Duty - James 1:22

Planning for True Word Conference late summer/early fall

Study/writing series in book of Revelation entitled Relevant Lessons from Revelation.

Thanking God for ministry opportunities.



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Time is Jesus Time

This Sunday (12-18-11) @ 4 pm. Come be blessed!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Looking Ahead - 2012 Here I Come

I can't believe that we're just about done with 2011. Wow! Each year this is a time when I reflect over the year personally to see what plans I accomplished, where have I grown, what do I still need to work on, who have I wronged, who do I need to forgive, and who do I need to ask for forgiveness.

Needless to say, nothing went as I hoped for, planned for, wished for... well you get the picture. And I mean nothing!

It is true when the bible says "Only God knows the plans for a person's life."

There is so much I can complain about as it relates to what didn't go right. But unfortunately to complain would be the direct opposite of trusting God no matter what cards life deals to me.

Therefore, I don't want to focus on what didn't go right, instead I want to focus on what I've learned and what I need to do become the man, husband, father, and preacher/pastor God desires me to be.

I will write this in sections because there is a lot for me to say as I look back over 2011.

Life's Adjustments -

There has been so many adjustments this year beginning with walking away from what I love to do the most...pastoring, to getting a new job, to changing churches, to developing new friendships, and praying for old relationships that have become distant for so many reasons. What I've learned is that adjustments are inevitable in life! I (we) will always experience adjustments whether we like them or not. How we handle adjustments is key to our spiritual development. How we respond to adjustments will dictate and determine how effective we are in our ministry service for God. Paul explained to the church at Corinth that he had plans to come visit but kept getting detoured. He also explains to the church at Philippi while in prison that his life adjustment turned out for the furtherance of the gospel (Philippians 1). When reflecting on Paul's statement of what happened to him turned out for the furtherance of gospel, I ask myself, has my life's adjustments furthered the gospel in any way, shape, or form? I answer honestly.... I don't know! Personally, I say know because I don't see any fruit. On the other hand, I don't know because what I see is not what I really see. God works out the details which we don't always see physically with our eyes.

Staying focused in life's adjustments is staying focused on furthering the gospel. Detours will happen but it can't stop the gospel from moving forward and drawing someone to Christ. The best sharing of the gospel is not preached but lived through each of our lives.

These adjustments are teaching me to be patient with myself, others, and circumstances. I have a tendency to want to move things quickly ahead before its tome if i can. So much for that now. I have no choice but to wait on God.

I hear all the cliches...
"Waited time on God is never wasted time on God".
"Time heals all wounds!" "Recovery/forgiveness is a process!"
"It just takes time!"

Yea, ok!

Let's just be true to ourselves, it's hard waiting on God when you want/need immediate deliverance.

However...

Here's what I have learned so far, waited time is necessary and needed time!

We need waited time....

- To grow
- To forgive others
- To regain trust
- To discover and/or re-discover God's will for your life
- To re-adjust priorities
- To seek God for direction
- To correct a wrong
- To establish boundaries
- To re-focus
- To spend time with family (children, husband, wife, mother, father, brothers, sisters, etc).
- To prepare yourself for the next assignment. I know my calling in ministry as being a pastor. Why because after all I've been through, I still have a desire and burden to shepherd God's people.
- To develop a financial plan.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Will To Live

Recently I've been intrigued with the stories on TvOne's documentary show entitled: "Will To Live". It is true stories of survival against all odds. The only way I can describe each story is by using one word...AMAZING!

As I watched an episode this weekend sitting on the couch my sermon brain began to kick in because their were a number of people with a Will To Live against (and in the midst) of impossible situations. It led me to a preaching/teaching outline that I pray to share some day soon (hopefully in my next pastorate).

- Will To Live With Determination - Mark 5:24-34

- Will To Live With Dependency - Proverbs 3:5-6

- Will To Live With Dedication - Romans 8:35-39

- Will To Live With Direction - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

- Will To Live With Decision-Making- Joel 3:14

Pray God blesses my study time and presentation!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Church Dropout

Last night on KJLH Beyond the Pulpit with Pastor Xavier Thompson pastor of Southern MBC, they discussed the topic "Church Dropout" with special guest pastors of our city, Pastor L A Kessee of Bethany Baptist Church and Pastor Melvin Von Wade of Mt Moriah Baptist Church both in Los Anageles, Ca. Good listening piece of material from seasoned pastors on the subject at hand.

Why do people stop attending and being committed to church?

Here are a few of the responses from callers and guest (that I can remember):

1). Lazy pastors and preachers

2). Church has become a distraction for some people. The caller explains that for them church politics, fighting, etc is too much to handle and therefore resolves that staying home is better to getting closer God.

3). Churchless Christianity- people who use TV, internet, and radio as they're church fellowship

4). Pastor Wade says church dropout is due to "church frailty".

5). Rev Melvin Wade Jr says that the church is not bridging the generational gap to reach young people. When God led the people of Israel to the promise land with Moses they crossed a Red Sea but with Joshua they crossed the Jordan River. Two different bodies of water but headed in the same direction.

6). Entertainment - the church has allowed the entertainment world to enter into the worship service to compel men, women, boys, and girls to come to Christ.

7). Mixed priorities of what's important

8). Lack of developed leadership resulting in senior leadership staying too long as the church's pastor.

9). Under-developed leadership, lack of training, or lack of mentorship in young preachers. Therefore, throwing them into the fire before their time.

10). This one is my thought on the issue....lack of sincere reverence in the church. I believe our reverence for God has lost its sincerity. And churches that strive to maintain reverence are labeled as traditional for which I take exception. I love contemporary, exciting, lively, enthusiastic, zealous worship. However, I believe we can't allow our contemporary worship overshadow our reverence for God. There has to be a limit where we don't push the envelope so far that God is pushed to the back of the line. God is to be the centrality of our worship whereby leading us to worship Him in spirit and truth. In laymen's terms, watch how we treat God in our worship service. Both saved and unsaved attendees need to know that they are in the presence of God.

What's the solution? Writing my thoughts to publish soon

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recovery!

A few weeks ago Tracy and I were going to Walmart to do a lil shopping. While driving, she says to me: "Clint, have you noticed that for the past few months we have not discussed our departure from First Goodwill". I looked at her and said: "No, we have not and that's a good thing to give us time to heal". I have discovered in the past few months that sometimes you have to step away from intense situations to clear your mind, to guard your heart, protect your family, and listen to God. Unfortunately, the enemy is not happy when he can't and couldn't destroy you in a situation with the hope that you will doubt God and turn away from Him. So he (the enemy) will throw at you nuggets of past hurtful situations that will cause you to feel the sting of pain, loss, frustration, guilt, unforgiveness, depression, discouragement, and frustration. So, a few weeks ago, we started receiving calls that we thought were calls of concern about our well-being that ended up being a strategic plan of attack to pull us back into feelings of hurt and pain and frustration by discussing events that took place earlier this year. Blood starts boiling! Eyes filled with drops of sadness! Heart is pounding hard and fast! Mind is racing faster than words can come out! We've been incognito on purpose and staying in Lakewood not bothering anybody trying to move on. Why are we being pressured into having feelings failure and that we've done something wrong by moving on. I write this experience as help to others because I know i'm not the only who has been attacked with the weapon of pulling you back into past hurt to get you off the course of recovery. Recovering from any hurt in life is a long process and even still some people still do not recover. The memories still linger in the air of our minds as a dark cloud covering portions of a blue sky. We may never forget the hurt but God will take the pain away. Here are a few suggestions that has helped me recently keep on track to recovery while being attacked at the same time.

1). Pray - this seems simple and easy but also hard to do when the heat is on. Ephesians 6:19-20 teaches us that the best defense in heated situations is a praying offense. Pray about it!

2). Speak the truth in love (confrontation) - Many of us don't like tough conversations. At least I know I don't. However, I've found myself as of late doing it more an more often. The difference is that now I'm slow to speak. Confrontations are difficult but is do-able without breaking fellowship with the other person. Matthew 18 outlines for us how to handle disagreements between two people. Moreover remember, the end goal in confrontation is reconciliation.

3). Control your anger - When I started receiving phones calls immediately my blood started boiling when i discovered the true nature of the call and I was about to burst like a screaming tea kettle. A few months ago, I received some information that again made me boil on the inside. In time past I would have unleashed the dragon but I didn't. I waited for a few weeks before having a conversation with the other person so I could be clear and plain about what I needed to say. I made my point and ended the conversation so that I didnt violate Paul's exhortation to be angry but do not sin.

4). Move on - what happened yesterday cant stop you from moving on not unless you allow it to. I've vowed to the best of my ability to not speak of any issue that will cause me to loose focus. So unfortunately for others but fortunate for me, I kill the subject before it starts. This Sunday I heard one of the greatest messages on Genesis 13:11-16 when Abram and Lot split. One of the points in that message was that we need to find peace in parting. In other words, we need to split from some things so we can be successful in other things. Find peace so that it doesn't bring you down and move on.

5). Surround yourself with godly people who are really concerned about you and not the situation - it's amazing that when I was in the heat of battle I heard from people that I normally don't hear from and now that the dust has settled some I don't hear from them much anymore. But God has placed some genuine people in my life now that is not concerned with what was. We talk about what God has on the other side of it but most of all we just have fun together period. We pray together. We encourage each other. And we hold one another accountable. Without any hidden agendas.

6). Be honest about your feelings - if it hurts it hurts! God created with emotions but we can control the emotions that we feel. We can hurt and still maintain our faith and character. When I broke my hand years ago it hurt pretty bad. Now, I have scars but no pain.

7). Recovery is a process, so don't rush it

8). Be cautious with whom you share your dreams and successes - everyone can't handle the success (or even potential success) of others. They will celebrate but it will be what I label as "coveted celebration". Some people celebrate and covet your success at the same time with hopes of your ultimate failure. I heard a preacher say once "you can't share your dreams with everyone".

9). Trust people again - I know this sounds like a contradiction after saying be careful with whom you tell your dreams. But it's not. You can develop relationships without sharing your dreams. The point is we can't judge new relationships on past hurtful experiences. I know for a fact God will move some people and bring new people to your life.

10). Keep trusting God - oftentimes when bad things happen the first person to get attacked is God. Why did God allow this happen? It's hard to accept the sovereignty of God most times. However, I've learned a valuable lesson over the years and certainly within these past few months. That is, most times we see the agenda of others before it's revealed and God will throw up a red warning sign saying: "Be careful danger lies ahead!" However, we put on our ignoring blinders saying to ourselves "they won't do that". And then when it happens, we start to blame God. There are some things that happen in life that we can't control and then there are some things in life we can control with discernment.

Keep it pushing! I believe things will get better!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tithing....Mandatory or Optional

I am a part of a clergy discussion group on Facebook that is utilized for pastors, preachers, and lay leaders to pose questions for discussion to help increase our knowledge and understanding about God, salvation, Christian living principles, practical ministry helps, etc.

Most of the questions and responses are very beneficial and affords us the opportunity to learn from one another as well as see things from a different perspective.

I’ve decided to take some questions, comments, suggestions, and post my response on my blog. Others discussions I will respond with the group on Facebook. The purpose of me blogging my response is not to bash anyone’s ideas or theology but to respond according to what Scripture teaches on a particular issue in a more thorough way.

In recent weeks there has been much discussion on the topic of tithes/offerings. Should believers tithe? Should tithing be mandatory? Should leaders be required to tithe? And so many questions and concerns.

I want to post my response to this question that was directed towards the group…

“What does your church teach about tithes and offerings? Manditory or optional?

I teach the tithe as a standard practice of Christian living just like every other biblical principle given in Scripture. The issue for many believers however, is whether or not tithing is relevant for us today? The tithe was never the standard of Old Testament generosity, nor is it the standard of Christian generosity today. Tithing may be a helpful guideline as we strive to develop a lifestyle of even greater giving, but it was and is possible to tithe faithfully while neglecting true, biblical generosity (as Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees; see note on Matthew 23:23). First, a close look at the Old Testament and other ancient Jewish evidence shows that the tithe (as a mandatory gift equaling a tenth of one’s income) only applied to crops and animals from the promised land, not to all income in any time and place. Moreover, 10 percent was never “the standard,” for there were three tithes (two every year, one every three years) and many other offerings and gifts that were also part of Jewish life. In the Old Testament and today, God usually requires far more from his people than the 10 percent we typically assume.

However, the NT teaches a radical generosity. The idea tends to strike us as strange, but only because of our modern, secular assumptions about money. In the Bible, giving away large parts of one’s income is quite realistic. John the Baptist taught that the man with two tunics should share with the man who has none (Luke 3:11). Zacchaeus the tax collector, when he converted to faith in Jesus, thought it fitting to give half of all he owned to the poor (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus praised a certain widow in the temple who gave away the last pennies she had to live on (Luke 21:1-4). The first Christians in the Jerusalem church willingly sold their own possessions to give to those in need (Acts 2:45). They were normal people, just like us. The only difference is that the life-changing power of the gospel had made its way even into their personal finances. And the same is possible for us, as well—though it is important to note we are not directly commanded to give all away, as the rich young ruler was. Above all, we should remember that Jesus promises that we cannot out-give him. Whatever we do for his sake, he will take care of us and reward us. If we give away a fortune for Jesus’ sake and earn a lower living standard, social status and health care, he may not give it back all in this life; but we do have the promise that our blessings soon will be eternal and that we can “store up treasure in heaven” rather than on earth precisely by doing such acts for the poor. And we may just find ourselves “reaping generously as we have sown generously ... having all that [we] need, [so that we] will abound in every good work ... rich in every way so that [we] can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:6, 8, 11).

In short, the tithe of a tenth is a good starting point for generous sacrificial giving is the teaching for NT believers.

But, there are still so many questions about the principle of tithing that many of us need an answer. So, I want to address a few questions regarding tithing and a Christian’s responsibility:

If I choose to tithe, does God expect more than a tithe from me? For most Christians the answer is a resounding “yes.” The Old Testament sets forth a system of tithes (10 percent offerings). For this reason, many Christians conclude that by giving 10 percent, they fulfill God’s requirement and are absolved of further responsibility. But interestingly, the tithe is mentioned only rarely in the New Testament, not because God expects less from the majority of us, but because far more is possible.

If I am not required to tithe, am I free to give whatever I want?
Yes, but this doesn’t mean we give whatever we wish, no questions asked. The apostle Paul did say, “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Will God really “throw open the floodgates of heaven” if I start to tithe?
Perhaps. But we must recognize that this oft-quoted passage (Malachi 3:10) was written not as a blanket promise to Christians in all times and all places, but to a very specific group of people in history—the impoverished, insecure Israelites living in the land after their return from exile in Babylon. Many “health-and-wealth” teachers today misuse this passage to guarantee that God will give us prosperity in this life if we only start to tithe, especially to their ministries. (Other pastors use this passage less controversially as an encouragement to people who hesitate to give.) But do these same teachers also promise that God will send us into exile in Babylon if we don’t tithe? Such promises tend to ignore the context of Malachi 3, which is tied intimately to life in the promised land of Israel after the people returned from exile. Interestingly, God requires more here than just tithe (Malachi 3:5): He requires his people to be generous in mercy and justice.

Should I tithe on my gross or net income? I answer this question with another question, which do you want God to bless.

Why should you give? We might ask instead, “Why should we not give?” We often assume that money exists for our own benefit, rather than for God or others. Pastor Andy Stanley tells a story about a little boy who was scolded by his mother because he refused to share his lunch with a classmate who had brought no lunch to school that day. The ironic point, Stanley says, is that we expect our children to know that possessions are for sharing, yet when it comes to our own affairs, we act as if possessions are for keeping. First, we should give because it is a reasonable response to all God has done. Because God has shown such great mercy to his people by sending Christ to suffer in our place, it is fitting that we should offer ourselves as sacrifices to him (Romans 12:1) and specifically in part by giving our money (2 Corinthians 8:8-9). Generous giving is an act of Christian worship. Second, we should give to show the genuineness of our Christian confession. Many people say they know Jesus, but those who really know him show it by their lives, especially by their generosity (Matthew 25:31-46). Third, we should give because the Lord Jesus (Luke 12:33) and his apostles (2 Corinthians 8:7) command us to give. Christian giving is certainly much more than a duty, but the biblical commands are unavoidable. Fourth, if specific instruction from the Scriptures were not enough, we should give because God promises to reward us for doing so (Luke 12:33). As it turns out, to give is not to throw money away, but rather to invest it for a staggering return. The Bible is certainly not lacking for reasons that we should give. Why would we not give?

What is sacrificial giving, and why is it important? Sacrificial giving is the kind that is done at great personal cost to the giver. In other words, give until it hurts. It doesn’t cost you anything it won’t mean anything to you.

Why should I be a generous giver? Jesus measured generosity by a radically new standard: the condition of the giver’s heart. The apostle Paul said that even the most lavish donations are empty acts in God’s sight if the giver’s heart is hardened toward him (1 Corinthians 13:3). So a truly generous giver is, first of all, a person who has been reconciled to God through faith in Christ, whose perfect life and sacrificial death can generously free any person from sin. Once this gospel works its way deep into that person’s heart and mind, the stage is set for a new person to emerge: a generous giver.

The bible speaks about money matters in such way that the measure of a person’s maturity is measured by their generosity (or their continued sacrificial investing) in kingdom business.

I believe tithing is a Christian principle to be practiced by every believer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Did You Pray About It

The pressure was on some months ago while I was faced with situations that had me stressed, frustrated, discouraged, anxious, and disappointed. The pressure was so thick it was affecting me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I was totally drained! Never in my life have I experienced anything like it before. It seem like crying was a daily occurrence to the point my wife and family were really worried for me and my well-being.

During this time, two of the most precious people within our church were dying together, husband and wife. Never seen nothing like it before in my life. And then, family members died. In all within a 3 month time period, 6 people passed away. Never seen nothing like it before. During the funeral of one of my members, I tried to keep it together but when I stood to preach my last sermon for the member who passed and members of the church, I completely lost it. Weeping uncontrollably! Thank God for sustaining grace which allowed me to pull it together and complete my assignment.

During these most difficult months I was asked on several occasions….

Did you pray about it?

When asked the question, I was spending a tremendous amount of time praying about all the situations I was facing. My prayers were not long but quick and short prayers:

“Lord, protect my heart, mind, and ego!”
“Lord, give me peace about the situation!”
“Lord, help me to understand what’s going on!”
“Lord, search my heart!”
“Lord, protect my wife and teenage children through this process!”
“Lord, protect me from the wolves. Those who are only looking for a reason to gossip about my situation rather help me navigate through the situation!”
“Lord, let me not loose my love for ministry and preaching!”
“Lord, restore the joy of my salvation!”
“Lord, forgive me for past mistakes!”
“Lord, hold my wife together as my help mate but now let me help her!”

I’ll be the first to admit that my prayers were short and quick because I found it extremely hard to pray during a time when I was experiencing extreme loss everywhere imaginable.

Did you pray about it? And the follow up question was….

What was God saying?

If I can be extremely candid and honest, I prayed but had no clue what God was saying at the time. The pressure was so thick that it placed a dark could over my faith which had me doubting if this is all worth it. I was doing everything I could to make sense of all that was going on but was becoming more and more confused, irritated, stressed, and frustrated. I tried using church clich├ęs to encourage myself but that wasn’t working. I tried to sing some of favorite hymns and that wasn’t working. I ran out of options and yet the question(s) still remained...

Did you pray about it? What is God saying?

Did I pray about it? Yes, I did! What is God saying? Honestly, I don’t/didn’t know!

It’s been a few months and while things are still somewhat fresh God has been showing me some things that I believe is helping me to keep moving forward with Him and not give up.

First lesson, back off from the situation. The pressure got so thick that I made a decision to take my hands off and let God deal with it. This was not an easy thing to do. I’ve learned that there are times when there’s nothing more you can do about it. I went into a shell mode so to speak where I didn’t talk about the situation (as best I could). I stop taking some phone calls. And, I even backed off by taking a few Sundays off to spend with the family. I’ve found that by backing off, it afforded me the opportunity to clear my head from all that was taken place and see it from a different perspective.

Second lesson, pray anyway. It’s said that the best time to pray is when you find it hard to pray. That’s true! I know I didn’t loose it totally because I kept praying even when I thought it was useless. In John 11 Mary and Martha went to Jesus about Lazarus but He stayed where He was and didn’t run to raise Lazarus immediately. Paul prayed in 2 Corinthians 12 asking God to remove the thorn in his side but God said “NO!” I’m learning that God’s no really means a slow yes. He’ll show up when the time is right. But in the meantime He will keep you covered with His strength. And trust me, I know He will.

Third lesson, be quiet. Let me say it this way, keep your mouth shut. Sometimes I believe we talk ourselves out of our own blessing simply because we don’t know how to be quiet. I made a selective choice as to whom I spoke to about what I was going through. And with others I developed a generic one sentence answer where a follow up response couldn’t take place. I shot it down before it got started.

Fourth lesson, don’t spiritualize everything. This particular lesson may sound blasphemous to many of you reading this blog. But hear me out first before closing your ears. There some decisions we will make that are business transactions for which we can’t spiritualize. Having to close a business, sale a home, change stock, laid off a job, etc are all business transactions while living in an economic downturn. However, the decision is business not spiritual but how you handle the decision then becomes spiritual. Therefore, your prayer then becomes…”Lord, guard my heart and ego!” “Lord, give me peace about this decision!”

When the pressure is on it makes praying and hearing God’s voice difficult. But whatever the dilemma, distress, and/or difficulty you’re facing don’t stop praying.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lesson Clarification



Bishop Sanders has started a lesson series for Wednesday Night Bible Study entitled "What God Thinks About Same Sex Marriage" which in my opinion is a good topic of study at the moment because of the push to teach homosexuality in schools to our young people.

Last night was the second session of lessons of which Bishop and I did tag team teaching. I was giving the assignment to build a biblical argument on how God views homosexuality.

I wasn't sure exactly where I would pick up so I wrote the following outline to be on the safe side.

"God's View Of Homosexuality"
Select Scriptures

My thesis: The holiness of God disgust Him because it's against His creative design for humanity for men and women.

1. Humanities Design - Genesis 1:27, Genesis 2:23-25
Point: God created marriage relationships for one man and one woman.
Anything outside of this design is totally against the will of God.

2. Humanities Perversion
Genesis 6:1-7 - an indication of demon perversion whereby evil spirits enter into the human body to pervert God's intentional design for man and woman.

Genesis 19:36 - Incest - Lot sleeps with his daughters and they have his children.

Genesis 38:15-18 - Prostitution - Lot meets a prostitute and pays for sexual favors

Genesis 19:5 - Homosexuality - Men show up at Lot's with a bold request to send the men so they can sleep with them.

Point: Evil spirits coupled with humanity has perverted God's intentional design for sexual pleasure of which He made and said it was good to shared between a man and a woman in marriage relationship.
Anything outside of this design disgust God's holy nature.

3. Humanities Disgrace

Deuteronomy 22:5 -The Disgrace of Woman - it doesn't look good for women to be wearing men's clothes. In other words, women should not be sagging and men should not be switching.

Deuteronomy 23:1 - The disgrace of man –Verse 23 deals with transsexual/transgender activity whereby a man will cut off his organ to become what he believes to be a woman trapped in a man’s body. The statement here in verse 1 is deliberate and alarming because the text say no one who cuts of his sexual organ will enter the assembly of God. This should be alarming to those who consider doing and those who have done it. But also upon further review of the God we serve extends forgiveness in Isaiah 56. Leviticus chapter 20 teaches us that there is mercy before death and mercy before judgment to those who repent.

4. Humanities Decision – Ezekiel 16 – There were all kinds of iniquities characteristic of this particular city but none of them was more shocking than homosexuality. Adultery, and fornication and polygamy and incest and rape and prostitution are already present in the world by the time we get to Ezekiel. But none so ugly has homosexuality. The question is how do we handle such perverted sin as a whole that is corrupting humanity in a major way. The text helps us in handling the issues:

- Confrontation – v. 1
- Point People To God – v. 8,14,19,23,30,35,34,63
- Humiliation – v. 63

Point: God will break us down only to draw us to Him!

Lesson clarification: Time was running out so I didn’t time to elaborate further so I want to do it now. I stated in the lesson that people who live the lifestyle of homosexuality oftentimes carry feelings of humiliation, anger, depression, discomfort, and loneliness. Further my statement was …. “And that’s how God wants them to feel.”

I need to clarify this statement because it would seem that I was saying God is a vindictive God who rains down His wrath on people who are hard-headed.

Let me be very clear, we do not serve a vindictive God. He is a forgiving and loving Father. However, feelings of humiliation, depression, anger, loneliness, and discomfort are produced as a consequence of our disobedience to a holy God. Further cross reference helps us to understand that our God is not vindictive but that our sins produce consequences for our sin. Ezekiel 36:31-31; “Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel”. This text again supports the argument that God is not vindictive but that our sins causes after guilt and shame. These feelings are not God-inflicted but sin-inflicted.

This clarification was necessary because I don’t want us communicating to others an untruth about God. I hope I clarified the statement with biblical backup to support my argument.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My thoughts on Sunday’s Best

First I want to state that “I love gospel music”! I loved it from the day of my childhood. I also enjoy watching the Christian reality TV show “Sunday’s Best”. However, I do have a dislike with the show…the judges who are judging the show. Grant it, I do recognize the difficulty of judging contestants because this is gospel music in which each person is singing about and to God who is worthy of our song of praise. Yes, I recognize the difficulty of judging the show because of our personal preferences of gospel music and for those who sing it. For instances, I’m not a big fan of Mary Mary nor Kirk Franklin. I can listen to the music but it does not invoke the presence of God into my life in most cases. Their music actually creates a party atmosphere that makes me want to dance (and I’m not talking about Holy Ghost dancing either). Much of their music, in my opinion, is not meant for worship service (maybe a concert but certainly not a worship service).

I, personally, don’t see how Mary Mary’s hit single “Walking” can be sung in a worship service preparing the congregation for hearing the Word of God. Now, I will agree that the Christian community does need some type of alternative music outside of R&B, Rap/Hip Hop, Jazz, etc. We do need something for us to listen to that is clean and that we can enjoy without feeling guilty of what we just listened too. But I also believe we need music that will point us to God even while we’re bobbing our heads to the beat. Unfortunately, I sometimes can’t hear the words without hearing the beat first.

I love me some Kim Burrell and her new single is killing! Tracy called me one day after hearing the song and asked if I heard. “I did”. She then asks me “what do you think about it? She’s not saying anything about God.” I told her “I love the song”. Then I said to her…”You know I haven’t paid much attention to the words.” The next time the song came onto the radio I listened very close to the words to see if God was mentioned in the song. Sure enough He (God) was mentioned in the song as Lord. I didn’t pay attention to the words because I was wrapped around the jazzy melody of the song and being able to distinguish the song from jazz and gospel was a difficult thing for me to do.

My thesis for writing this article is simple and clear….

Gospel music should point us to God and God only!

Many of you who are reading this article would/will say….”He’s traditional”. My response to you is “noooooo, I’m not”. I have a concern that gospel music is crossing over into secular music (in some cases) to reach a larger audience which anyone who is serious about ministry would love to do. And (let’s be honest) to make the almighty dollar of which every one of us as to eat. So why not make money doing what you love to do. I understand all of that! But, I believe the gospel is being taking out of Christian music.

I also believe that personal preference is also displayed in the judging of the show. For instances, last night, there were three ladies competing for the final 10th spot; Shanandolan Reynolds – Dallas, Texas, LaTrice Smith – Macon, Georgia, and Timesha Sampson – Memphis, Tennessee. In the end Timesha won the 10th spot….why??????

I think LaTrice out sung her for the spot. And even with Timesha’s opening song, Pastor Donnie commented that “they made the right choice”. How is that? Again, personal preference is my thought on the judging.

However, there is one other dislike for me that is much more important and possibly damaging to those competing for a recording contract. It’s the constant statements relating to the anointing. How does a person judge who has and/or has not the anointing? Is it based on if someone shouts at the end of their segment? Is it based on how the contestant reacts after they’ve song? Is it based on the audiences reaction after the song ends? Is it the antics of Kirk Franklin after each contestant? Is it emotional charge? Is it how they came onto the stage or left the stage? Does what they wear dictate how much anointing a person has during the competition? How do you judge the anointing?

Or, is personal preference basis for judgment of who has the anointing or not?

I think its personal preferences. We see the same anointing judging method of personal preferences in the life of the church. The choir wasn’t anointed because they didn’t sing our favorite song. The band was too loud so they weren’t anointed. The microphone system is this or that so the service wasn’t anointed. The deacons keep singing hymns each week during devotion. The pastor wasn’t anointed because he took a stand in a message on abortion, homosexuality, adultery, or some difficult topic that challenges us to stop a life of sin. Well, I believe a pastor/teacher who stands on the uncompromised Word of God is anointed because it takes the anointing to stand bold against issues that rub the congregation the wrong way in their sinful lifestyles.

Again, I say personal preference is the measure of our judgments. The church we attend, large or small. The preacher we listen too (I can/will write an article on this one soon). The people we hang out with. The topics we study in scripture. The money we give in worship services. And so many other choices and judgments we make based on personal preferences.

My exhortation to you is don’t be a Pharisee and allow your personal preferences cause you to miss out on the effectiveness of a person’s ministry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

There is a God



For the past few weeks while getting ready for work I’ve been watching my 2nd season of Good Times DVD set. I loved this show as a kid and I still love it has an adult. While watching shows back-to-back, there was one episode that I’ve watched over and over again but never really paid close attention to…..”One Nation Under God”.

This episode deals with Michael receiving the highest honor in high school to lead the “Pledge of Allegiance” in an assembly. It was such an honor that his mother, Florida and close Wilona, was shopping for something to wear during the assembly. JJ and Thelma are home. JJ is cleaning after losing a bet to Thelma and is now her servant for one week. He starts to cleaning Michael’s drawer only to find a letter addressed to Florida that he will not lead “The Pledge of Allegiance” during the assembly due to his belief.

When Florida returns from shopping, JJ hides the letter in her apron for which she request to start preparing dinner. After a while, Florida notices Thelma movements as she is pointing to the letter in Florida’s apron alerting JJ to grab it. TOOOOO late! Florida sees the letter and reads it. Of course she’s disappointed at the note informing her that her son will not lead the “Pledge of Alliance” during the assembly due to his belief.

When Michael comes home, naturally Florida wants to know what happened and why he’s not leading the “Pledge of Allegiance”. Michael’s response startles Florida as he tells her that he doesn’t believe in the statement….”One nation under God”. As far as he was concerned there is no God because his employer Mr Dickson says…”God doesn’t exist”. Florida tries to convince her son that God does exist and that he needs to acknowledge God’s existence. But stubborn Michael holds to he’s convinced of by Mr Dickson that “God doesn’t exist”.

I don’t have time to go through the entire episode (you can watch it when you get a chance). However, at the end of the episode Michael gets fired from his job because of his mother and convinced by Mr Dickson that he doesn’t have to believe what he believes. If God exists to him then he should believe that God exists.

What a noble move of Mr Dickson but reality is that there are many people within our society who says “God doesn’t exist!” As a matter of fact, my boss is adamant about not believing in God and doesn’t mind saying it openly and argumentative. I have on some cases tried to defend the reality that God does exist without being argumentative with my boss. Honestly, I thank God I’m still working. I’ve learned for sure that if take care of God’s business He will take care of your business.

I write this blog as an open conviction that I do believe God exists. One of the questions in the Good Time’s episode that Mr Dickson had for Florida is “How do you know God exists”. This a theological question demanding a theological answer for which Florida did not provide. So let me answer it in this blog….

The existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. The Bible says that we must accept by faith the fact that God exists: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). If God so desired, He could simply appear and prove to the whole world that He exists. But if He did that, there would be no need for faith. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:29).

That does not mean, however, that there is no evidence of God’s existence. The Bible states, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset—all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” Deep within us is the recognition that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God’s presence in us and all around us is still obvious. Despite this, the Bible warns that some will still deny God’s existence: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Since the vast majority of people throughout history, in all cultures, in all civilizations, and on all continents believe in the existence of some kind of God, there must be something (or someone) causing this belief.

In addition to the biblical arguments for God’s existence, there are logical arguments. First, there is the ontological argument. The most popular form of the ontological argument uses the concept of God to prove God’s existence. It begins with the definition of God as “a being than which no greater can be conceived.” It is then argued that to exist is greater than to not exist, and therefore the greatest conceivable being must exist. If God did not exist, then God would not be the greatest conceivable being, and that would contradict the very definition of God.

A second argument is the teleological argument. The teleological argument states that since the universe displays such an amazing design, there must have been a divine Designer. For example, if the Earth were significantly closer or farther away from the sun, it would not be capable of supporting much of the life it currently does. If the elements in our atmosphere were even a few percentage points different, nearly every living thing on earth would die. The odds of a single protein molecule forming by chance is 1 in 10243 (that is a 1 followed by 243 zeros). A single cell is comprised of millions of protein molecules.

A third logical argument for God’s existence is called the cosmological argument. Every effect must have a cause. This universe and everything in it is an effect. There must be something that caused everything to come into existence. Ultimately, there must be something “un-caused” in order to cause everything else to come into existence. That “un-caused” cause is God.

A fourth argument is known as the moral argument. Every culture throughout history has had some form of law. Everyone has a sense of right and wrong. Murder, lying, stealing, and immorality are almost universally rejected. Where did this sense of right and wrong come from if not from a holy God?

Despite all of this, the Bible tells us that people will reject the clear and undeniable knowledge of God and believe a lie instead. Romans 1:25 declares, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” The Bible also proclaims that people are without excuse for not believing in God: “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

People claim to reject God’s existence because it is “not scientific” or “because there is no proof.” The true reason is that once they admit that there is a God, they also must realize that they are responsible to God and in need of forgiveness from Him (Romans 3:23, 6:23). If God exists, then we are accountable to Him for our actions. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want without having to worry about God judging us. That is why many of those who deny the existence of God cling strongly to the theory of naturalistic evolution—it gives them an alternative to believing in a Creator God. God exists and ultimately everyone knows that He exists. The very fact that some attempt so aggressively to disprove His existence is in fact an argument for His existence.

How do we know God exists? As Christians, we know God exists because we speak to Him every day. We do not audibly hear Him speaking to us, but we sense His presence, we feel His leading, we know His love, we desire His grace. Things have occurred in our lives that have no possible explanation other than God. God has so miraculously saved us and changed our lives that we cannot help but acknowledge and praise His existence. None of these arguments can persuade anyone who refuses to acknowledge what is already obvious. In the end, God’s existence must be accepted by faith (Hebrews 11:6). Faith in God is not a blind leap into the dark; it is safe step into a well-lit room where the vast majority of people are already standing.

What does this mean? It means God exist in all facets of our lives from the time we wake up to the time we lay down at night. It means God exist from birth to death. It means God exist from beginning of time to the end of time. It means God exist in good times and in bad times. It means God exist in poverty and in wealth. It means God exist in sickness and in health. It means God exist when the sun shines and when the clouds form for a storm. It means God exist during hard times and good times.

Bottom-line; there has never or will ever be a time when God does/has not existed.

Does God exist? Yes, He does….

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Study To Show Yourself Approved



During my down time from pastoring, I recognize I still have an obligation as a preacher to continue sermon preparation. My assignment may have changed but my responsibility as a called man of God still requires me to study the word for my own personal development and pulpit presentation.


Its amazing how my mind has been clicking lately as it relates to study topics. Here's a few ideas that have crossed my mind of late...



* Praying With Meaning - A Look At The Model Prayer - Matthew 6:1-13


* Living With Purposeful Intentions - A Look At the Be-Attitudes - Matthew 5:1-12


* Fighting To Win - A Look At Spiritual Warfare - Ephesians 6:10-20


* Daily Spirit Filled Living - Handling Relationships Properly With the Spirit's Help - Ephesians 5:18-6:9


* The Type Of People God Uses - A Look At the 12 Disciples - Matthew 10:1-4


* A Path For Your Life - A Study Of Micah


* "I AM" - A Look At the "I AM" Statements of God - The Gospel of John


* God Is In Charge - A Look At 2 Thessalonians


* The Joy of Partnering in Ministry - A Study of Philippians - This one I need to complete.


* Psalms 119


This will be good study and writing. When my next assignment comes I will be locked and loaded. Not just for the pulpit but also personally.


Look Out!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Preaching is my medicine!

Several years ago I read a book entitled "Preaching through a Storm".
Unfortunately (or fortunately), I gave the book to someone else to read so I don't remember much. But I do remember a few thoughts of the book (paraphrased) that has come back to me in recent days. One of those thoughts is when a preacher goes through a storm that storm will do one of two things: draw the preacher to the pulpit or push him away from the pulpit.

As we have seen, there are many pastors being pushed away from the pulpit and pastoral ministry. However, for me PREACHING IS MY MEDICINE and PASTORAL MINISTRY IS MY DESIRE! In other words, I'm drawn to the pulpit and not from the pulpit when going through a storm.

While in transition, it has been a challenge for me. I miss preaching/ teaching and shepherding God's people on a weekly basis. While it's important for me to be poured into after 9 years of pouring out, I feel like Jeremiah...I got to say something on God's behalf weekly.
I also recognize the difficulty this transition has been on my family.

And therefore, I recognize that I'm not alone during this challenging time. This has led me to pray daily for my family to protect us from bitterness, hurt, and unforgiveness. Tracy loves ministry work just as much as I do. So for the both of us the transition is challenging.
Yet, we both look forward to getting back to work in building God's kngdom. I thank God for her and love her for her support.

While times have been difficult, I thank God for my church family...Bishop Sanders and Mt Pilgrim. They have received me and the family so graciously and with warmth that it has lightened the load of this season. They didn't/dont ask me why i'm not at First Goodwill anymore. As a matter of fact they've been pushing for me to get busy.
Well, I am ready to get busy! I truly thank God for my pastor and church family. May God bless you all!

God has also allowed me to form a bond with brothers, some pastors and others who are not, that's been praying and encouraging me on a regular basis. Thank God for each of you. Our talks and prayer times has also helped me to stay focused on my calling and they don't treat me any different now that I'm not "pastoring". Actually, it seems as if they're respect for me has increased. Nevertheless, I thank God for you brothers. Let brotherly love continue!
Sunday, I had the privilege of worshipping with pastor Stan Richards and the Beacon Light Church family. What a wonderful time of worship!

I preached a message entitled: Living Above the Worry - Matthew 6:25-34. The point of the message is that God warns those of us who do worry to stop it and to those who are not worrying, don't start! God, your heavenly Father, will take care of you. The church received the message well and I believe I needed the message just as much as the next person in the church. I do worry a lot about many things. But thank for confidence in knowing that my worry is really not necessary when I look at all that God has done, is doing, and will do as long as I trust Him. Thank you to Pastor Richards for being so warm in his introduction and for being a true brother and friend. I look forward to us worshipping together again!

This coming Sunday (God willing), I will be preaching at Village Baptist Church with Pastor W Charles Harris for their Men's and Women's Day service at 3:30 pm. It is my plan to preach: We Can Do It Better Together - Acts 2:42-47. If you're not busy please come out and receive worship and the word.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Wish I Knew



I received this email today from Sermon Central and wanted to share it as a blog…

10 Ministry Principles I Wish I Knew When I Started


Brady Boyd


I have been a pastor for about 15 years now, and it has mostly been a fantastic journey with some of the best people on the planet. I did not attend seminary or have much formal training when I started out, but I sure wish someone had told me these ten things in the beginning.



1. Sheep bites can’t kill me, but the gnawing will make life miserable a few days each year.


2. No matter how hard I try, I will always be tempted to measure my success by attendance numbers.


3. The best thing I can do to build and grow God’s kingdom is to be myself and not compare myself to others.


4. It takes a long time to become old friends so nurture and cherish the old friendships God has given me.


5. I will only have as much spiritual authority as I am willing to submit to myself. Independence will destroy me, but there is power in submission.


6. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Challenge people to go deeper even when the message is unpopular.


7. My brain will always feel like scrambled eggs on Sunday afternoon so don’t make any major decisions until Tuesday morning.


8. Some people will only trust you after a really long time of proving yourself, and another group will never trust you no matter what you do.


9. Don’t feel guilty about taking a Sabbath. It was not a suggestion.


10. I will never regret spending time with my family instead of saying yes to a church meeting that someone else could lead.


I hope this is helpful to other young leaders who are launching out into ministry. What are some of things you wish someone had told you before you started ministry in the local church?



Now here is my response to the question at the end of the blog….



11. Be careful you who share dreams and successes with. Everyone cannot handle what God wants to do in your life.


12. Be careful how much information you share about your personal life with others. Some will use it against you when the time is right.


13. Going with the goers is not easily identified. Some hang around for what they can get from you rather than what they can contribute to the progress of God’s work and the progress of your spiritual maturity.


14. Eliminate distractions immediately. Letting them linger can be detrimental to your focus.


15. Be careful to not allow others to validate your worth, work, and witness. People forget what you’ve done today as quickly as tomorrow arrives (or they remember a past failure). In addition, compliments are not compliments but is patronizing covered with cute words to make you feel good with a hidden agenda.


16. Guard your family from the wolves. Wolves in sheep’s clothing are not always distant. Some of them are those closest to you!


Many of these I’ve heard before but did not really understand until I’ve experienced them for myself.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Blessing Or Burden



We left the hospital from visiting my grand-daughter and sister-in-law on yesterday afternoon. We were in a hurry to get home to watch the BET Awards. Traffic was moving wonderfully on the Santa Monica freeway and in the transition from the 10 to 110 Harbor freeway. We got into the carpool lane with a straight shot home until the transition from 110 to the 105 freeway and that’s when traffic became slow moving the rest of the way home (and at times a complete stop for about 20 to 30 seconds). If things were to move like they were we would have been home in time to see the opening act of the BET Awards. However, it didn’t happen that way so we missed out but was able to watch the balance of the show.

While driving into work today, I started reflecting on my drive home and two (2) different transitions I found myself in trying to get home yesterday. My reflection showed me that life presents transitions that can be a blessing or a burden.

The transition with a straight shot home is considered a blessing because I would have got home in time to see the opening act. We don’t have problems with transitions that work in our favor. We enjoy life’s transition of a job promotion, finding a job, open doors, good health, decent money in the bank (whatever that means to you), well-behaved children, a growing church ministry, continuous preaching engagements, that one opportunity to show you can do it. See, transitions with a straight home are easy to handle because it worked in your favor.

On the other hand transitions that become slow moving in life’s traffic jams are considered a burden. We don’t like it when life slows down, especially, when we need/want to get to our final destination. It’s during life’s slow down moments that we become stressed, frustrated with God, anxious, worrisome, burdensome, afraid, doubtful, angry, jealous, faithless, and impatient. However, we must remember that life’s traffic jams are not all bad. Some of life’s traffic jams protect us from potential arm that we don’t see coming our way. Some of life’s traffic jams makes us slow down to here from God. Some of life’s traffic jams affords the opportunity of reflection with the end of goal being thankful for what all God has done in your life.

I speak from personal experience while in transition. I will be totally honest that I have mixed emotions about life’s transitions as I have both feelings of blessing and burden during this transition. So driving in this morning, I started to ask God to help me understand this transition. Of course, the following scriptures started coming to mind….

Psalms 1 - Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law [fn] of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. There is a threefold lesson to learn during life’s transition in this passage: (1). Be careful who listen to and what advise you follow – v. 1, (2) Let the Word Of God stabilize you – v. 2-3, (3). God knows what He’s doing in your life – v. 5-6.

Psa 25:5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Learn what you can during life’s traffic jams.

Pro 20:22 Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you. God is fighting for you during life’s traffic jams.

Isa 49:23 Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame." God is promoting you during life’s traffic jams.

Gal 5:5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. You will be made all the better after life’s traffic jam.

(Disclaimer: The above text(s) is being worked into a sermon series/book entitled, Handling Life’s Traffic Jams – Trusting God during Life’s Transition)









Monday, June 13, 2011

New Scripture Memorization/Devotional Plan

Have you ever struggled with scripture memorization or finding a realistic scripture reading plan?

I will be honest I struggled with memorizing scripture as well as with a realistic plan for my scriptural devotional reading with all the demands life has for me.

Well, with God’s help and technology, I’ve discovered an easy way to memorize scripture and develop a plan for my scripture devotional reading that’s been working pretty well for me so far.

I use my Microsoft Outlook to assist me in the area of personal development with scripture reading and memorization…

The changing of my password during login helps with my plan. At work, we are required to change our password every six (6) weeks. I’ve been using the Psalms as my password beginning with Psalms 1 and each time I change it goes from Psalms 1, to Psalms 2, and so forth.

Once I change my password, I then schedule my reading in Microsoft Outlook Calendar by placing Psalms passage in the body of my calendar. I then set a scheduled reminder for each day for the next six (6) weeks with a time that is usually in the early AM (like 6 am). I do this so that no matter what time I log onto my computer, a reminder notice will pop up of my need to read the scripture selected as my password.

By doing this, I’ve conquered two (2) birds with one stone (so to speak). I have plan for reading and memorizing scripture using the one thing we all use the most these days the computer.

If I can’t remember a passage of scripture in six (6) weeks no matter how long the passage maybe then there’s another problem. Also, it helps me to take small bites for a sense of achievement rather than a large amount that usually cause feelings of failure when I don’t complete my commitment.

Try it, it just may help you and let me know how it goes!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Seasons!

A good devotional on seasons from Today In The Word...

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. - Ecclesiastes 3:1
Scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, recently created the world’s most accurate clock. Called an “optical atomic clock,” it’s made of an oscillating laser, a mechanism called a “comb” that counts oscillations, with a single mercury atom as the point of reference.The optical atomic clock “ticks” one quadrillion times per second. Research is ongoing, but this type of clock could be up to one thousand times more accurate than current atomic clocks. Such precise timekeeping might be applied in navigation, communication technology, and deep space exploration.Time, no matter how it’s measured, is one of the inescapable realities of life. God ordained seasons in nature; He built them into the rhythm of life.

There are seasons in our lives as well, and in God’s plan for history (cf. Dan. 2:21; Titus 1:2–3; 1 Peter 1:3–5). The observation about times and seasons may be simple, but it’s important for keeping a sense of balance. Today’s reading sets forth a principle, then fleshes it out with contrasts. Some events are pivotal, such as birth and death, war and peace. Others describe basic emotions, such as love and hate, weeping and laughter. Still others highlight fundamental patterns of action, such as speaking or keeping silent, searching or giving up. These events, emotions, and actions are the stuff and substance of life, the threads of which it’s woven.Getting hold of the truth that life has times and seasons can be one of the keys to inner peace and contentment

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Favorite Quotations

During my reading of Being Holy, Being Human by Jay Kesler there are a few quotes that stand out to me that I want to share with those who are reading this blog:

Gregory the Great says, "The pastor should always be pure in thought... no impurtiy ought to pollute him who has undertaken the office of wiping away the stains in the hearts of others ... for the hand thought would cleanse from dirt must be clean, lest, being itself sordid with clinging mire, it soil whatever it touches all the more."

C.S Lewis says, "When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.

Marting Luther says, "Our office ... subjects us to great burdens and labors, dangers and temptations, with little reward or gratitude from the world. But Christ Himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully".

John Newton says, "The Christian ministry is the worst of all trades but the best of all professions".

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Be Still...

“Be still and know that I am God.” This has been my intention over the past two (2) weeks, “Be still…”

While this is a challenge for me because I work it is a necessity for me as it relates to my ministry…publically and privately. I try my best to hear from God and sometimes for me it’s best that I go into a shell mode or as Jesus declares in Matthew 6…”go to your secret closet”. The time has been very enriching. There have been challenges along the way that tried to get me out of my “Be still…” moment. Nevertheless the time has been extremely wonderful for me.

Over the past two (2) weeks I’ve read 2 books, “Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry” By John McArthur and “Character Forged from Conflict” by Gary D Preston. Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry is a re-read for me so I read what I thought was needed information. However, “Character Forged from Conflict was a must read for me and I’m glad I read it. I started a new book this week entitled: “Being Holy, Being Human” by Jay Kesler. The thesis of the book is on being transparent without being hypocritical as Christians. I’ve read the introduction and chapter 1, so far so good. Another must read.

I’ve also used this time to spend with the family. For the first time in years, Tracy and I rode our bikes to El Torito for brunch. Good time of eating and talking with Tracy something we haven’t done in a minute. We ate so much that riding back home was a BIG challenge. But we made it home. We tried to train our puppy cocker spaniel (Rocky) to go outside without running crazy in the streets after cats. However, that joker did what we thought he would do run down the street after cats. It was short lived as he got tired and just wanted to lay around afterwards. But it was cool, watching Tracy do her HGTV thing in the rose garden, Aysia on the phone sitting on the back of the truck, Myles playing football (or something in the street), and me running in/out the house watching Cooley High (my favorite movie).

Later that evening Kari and lil Jimmy met us at Blizz for frozen yogurt Sunday. Then they played a Operations game while I watched my Bulls struggle playing the Heat. They had no answers for Chris Bosh. He did whatever he wanted to do. And then, lil Jimmy beat me in Michael Jackson’s dance game to “Billy Jean”. He knew all the moves. So, later Sunday night I practiced so he won’t beat me again. It’s on lil boy! See you on the dance floor!...lol

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Much Needed

Over the next couple of weeks I will be taking a much needed time of rest (it’s called vacation). The first five (5) months of this year has been challenging, a blessing, tiring, frustrating, prayerful, and fulfilling. I guess the best way to explain it is I’ve been a bag of mixed emotions since 2011 started. So, the church and I decided, I need to rest as I seek God for direction for the future of ministry.

However, as life would have it the challenges keep coming as my wife received the news Sunday morning that my brother-in-law, Ronald (Ronnie) Spears pasted away at age 47. Totally unexpected and it’s taking the entire family/friends for loop trying to understand what happened. We may never receive an answer but I do believe in the sovereignty of God. He and I had a wonderful relationship coupled with mutual respect for one another. And I will miss him dearly! RIP in peace my brother. And please keep the Tracy and the entire family in prayer. Tracy and Ronnie had a wonderful relationship that expressed love, joy, and respect. Literally, people seeing them would think they were husband and wife the way they spoke and laughed with each other. Needless to say, she’s taking it pretty hard and I request the prayers of the righteous to help her make it through this loss.

This week I started taking intentional steps in my devotional time by making sure I’m not reading my favorite topics but reading material and scripture on what will renew my spiritual strength and vitality. By doing this, I realized I made one of the best purchases of my life; Logos Bible Study Software. I’ve heard about the software but never purchased it because it was a little expensive in my opinion. However, in Dec of 2010 a representative came to our church to do a show-in-tell of the software and after that I was sold on the product. I’m so glad I got it!

The resources and accessibility available are priceless. My iPhone has become my best friend. I was able to download software app on my phone to access all resources for study, devotional reading, and pastoral assistance material. Wow! Before I purchased this product, each week after church I would copy, paste and print study material to read on the bus, at lunch, or wherever I could fit in study time with me being a bi-vocational pastor my study time is limited. My bat cave for study is wherever I make it at the time. But now I can study from my iPhone and no matter where I leave off on my iPhone or laptop computer I can pick up where I left off with my study. I love it!

Not only is study material limitless but resources for pastoral ministry, church administration, leadership development, sermon preparation, marriage counseling, singles ministry, and more are available as well. Books I’ve always wanted purchase is now on my iPhone thanks to Logos. Wonderful purchase, thank software developers.

Also, over the years I’ve developed my own sermon preparation worksheet. Here it is…


Monday:
BIBLE TRANSLATIONS



Tuesday and Wednesday:
VERSE BY VERSE OBSERVATION WORKSHEET

SCRIPTURE CROSS REFERENCE (S)


KEY TERMS (look for long words, big words, sophisticated words, repeated words, central words, emphasized words, words that catch your attention)


DETAILS – WHY (look for therefore, for, since, and, but, that, because) – why is this here? why is he saying this?

DETAILS – WHAT (look for verbs and actions taking place) – what’s going on?

DETAILS – WHEN (time chronology-appointment) – when did this happen?

DETAILS – WHERE (geographical location and spiritual location) – where did this happen?

DETAILS – WHO (look for people in the text) – who’s in the text?

DETAILS – HOW – how does it happen?

DETAILS – HOW – how does it apply?

ATMOSPHERE (sensing what you read – the Bible is about people let them live – 5 senses HEAR, SEE, SMELL, FEEL, LISTEN)

Thursday:
WORD STUDY AND SYNTAX WORKSHEET

COMPOUND WORD ‚ YES ‚ NO
VERSE
WORD
STRONG’S NUMBER
GREEK WORD
PRONUNCIATION
PREFIX
SUFFIX
BASE WORD

ORIGINAL GREEK DEFINITION


TYPE
MOOD
TENSE
VOICE
CASE
GEBDER
PERSON
NUMBER of TIMES USED in Script.

OCCURENCES IN THE BIBLE
# of times it occurs in Scripture:

Authors usage in the same book and other books he has written:

Authors first occurrence of the word:

First occurrence in the Bible:

Other writer’s usage of the word:

Ways it is translated:


CONCLUSION BASED ON CONTEXT AND COMPARISONS


DEFINITION (your definition is the final product)



Friday
STUDY TEXT OUTLINE:


Saturday:
COMMENTARY NOTES

Commentary By:

Notes



Saturday PM and Sunday AM:
Sermon Writing


This may like a lot to do but sermons don't grow on trees and this works for me and keeps me focused.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

National Day of Prayer Request

A Prayer for our nation: 1 Timothy 2:1-6 - First of all I urged that prayers and supplications with thanksgiving be made for all people everywhere as well as those in high positions that we may live a quiet, peaceful, and godly life. This good and well pleasing to God who desires all men to be saved.

A prayer for help: Hebrews 4: 10-12 - we have a high priest who can sympathy with our weaknesses because He was tempted on every side just as we are. Therefore, we can go boldly to the throne of grace to find help in our time of need.

A prayer for the church: Ephesians 4:1-4 - I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace

A prayer for our children: Luke 2:40 - And the child grew and became strong; filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

A prayer for pastoral leadership: Ephesians 6:19-20 - Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
A prayer for finances: 2 Corinthians 8:7, 13-14 - " ... But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving ... "

A prayer for time management: Ephesians 5:14-16 - This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

A prayer for spiritual strength: Ephesians 3:14-19 - For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

A prayer against stress and frustration: Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

A prayer for ministry commitment: 1 Corinthians 15:58 - Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Week

Holy Week (Passion Week) was extremely wonderful but tiring. FamRoyal held our first passion week revival (Tues, Wed, and Thurs). Attendance was great and the people came to have church the entire week by checking stress, frustration, cares, worries, and whatever else at the door to hear the Word and experience God’s presence.

I preached Tuesday night. I preached a message last Sunday entitled “The Gospel Deserves Our Best” out of 2 Timothy 2:8-13. The primary theme of the message is “The gospel still works!” It was still in my spirit and had more needed to be said and I got it out. It was the first time many in attendance have heard me preach but they received me and the message very well. From there it kept going higher, higher, and higher. Wednesday nite Pastor F Demond Harris preached and Thursday Pastor Duane Moore preached. Both blessed us in a mighty way. Thank you to FamRoyal for your love and support as well as a great week of revival that I so desperately needed.

On Good Friday, I shared in service with my brother Pastor Raymond Chandler of Three Oaks Church. Another good service! I was given the assignment to preach on the meaning of Calvary which was a breathe of fresh air from preaching the 7 Last Sayings.

Thought: Lead Me To Calvary
Text: Luke 23:32-33
Theme: Calvary had to happen.

Calvary is a place of Prudence – Jesus was judged at Calvary for our sins
Calvary was a place of Pain – Calvary was know for execution
Calvary was place of Promise – Calvary promises forgiveness and eternal life for all who will accept it.

It was a good week of preaching. Tracy was a trooper and went with me to church each night as I believe we both needed the week of revival together. Thank you for support all week long.

Before preaching on Tuesday, my pastor whispered in my ear; “Preaching is good medicine!” I’ve heard statements similar to this one a many of times over the years but now I know what it means personally. These past few months have been so stressful in my ministry with a decision that I thought (as well as hoped) that I never would have to make. And at times it was difficult organizing sermons and bible study lessons. I’ve had one prayer for the past few months, “Lord, guard my heart of pride and ego and give me peace with those things I don’t understand.” I will admit. I’m still struggling with my understanding and don’t fully have peace but over time God will see me through.

I never wanted a ministry that had to endure storms before God opens the floodgates. But that’s why He’s God and I’m Clint. He knows better than I do about what’s best for my ministry.

Resurrection Sunday was good! However, I’m little hesitant of getting excited about those who attend church on Easter because for many people it is tradition to go to church this day. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see people who visited our church a few weeks ago come back to worship with us yesterday. I believe we planted seed on good soil.

I’m preparing a very special message this coming Lord’s service from one of my favorite passages, Hebrews 6:10. I pray God keeps me focused to complete the work at hand.

Monday, April 4, 2011

I Did My Best

On Mondays, I usually reflect on Sunday’s message and ministry opportunity by reading blogs of some of my favorite writers/pastors. Today, I ran across a term that was unfamiliar to me……”mulligan”. A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action. The practice is also sometimes referred to as a "do-over." In golf, a mulligan is a retaken shot on the first tee box, usually due to a previously errant one. Traditionally, mulligans are allowed only on the first tee shot (one per round) and are not just taken at any time of the golfer's choosing. It is sometimes called a "Finnegan" when the second shot is worse than the first. Golf tournaments held for charity may even sell mulligans to collect more money for the charity. Some social golf games also allow one mulligan per nine holes (thus two for a round of 18). I read an article by Jack Connell who is VP and professor of pastor ministry at Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York entitled “Ministry Mulligans”. The premise of his article is that of sharing his feelings of having a second chance to do it over again as pastor of 10 years. There are decisions, choices, and ideas that many of us make that we regret, at least I know I do. If I had a chance to do it all over again (these are in no order of importance just things I know I would do differently)…. First, I would not let ministry get in the way of business. There are some business decisions I’ve made with ministry in mind that as cost me in more ways than care to repeat. I’ve learned that I can make a business decision and still maintain a ministry mindset. The church can function as a business entity while maintaining its ministry identity at the same time. I’ve learned this the hard way and unfortunately I cannot go back change it now. Secondly, I will be careful of what I share with others. All of my life I’ve been a loner and usually guarded with information about myself personally and publically. I’ve tried to change that over the years during my pastorate and cultivate relationships that would allow me to open up to others whereby I could develop a confidant with other pastors as it relates to ministry challenges for advice and guidance. I believe I cultivated relationships with some while with others it has been used against me when and where required. In addition, I did not pay close attention to those who said they had my back without any additional qualifying statements. I was also told during my pastorate to go with the goers. However, I did a poor job in identifying goers in my membership and as friends. Thirdly, I will delegate more of the small tasks. I agree with Pastor Connell in his section of the article that members need a pastor and not a CEO, CFO, or anything of that nature. However, in a small church it’s almost next to impossible for a pastor not to carry a CEO title without the responsibility as well as of carrying responsibility. This took me away from that which is most important in pastoral ministry prayer and study of the Word. While God has been gracious to me in my study and pulpit presentation, I could have done so much better. Fourth, I would keep the main thing the main thing. When I first got to the church, our building was in bad shape. There was a whole section of the church that couldn’t be used due to a number of reasons. After our renovation completion, I got so caught up in making sure that the monthly mortgage was paid that evangelism and developing small bible fellowship groups were pushed to the back burner and I started renting to the church out for revenue which became my responsibility for opening/closing the church, running sound system, cleaning up after, etc that I lost total focus and concentration on fulfilling the Great Commission. It won’t happen again! Fifth, I will make sure my family has my attention more than the church. The demands on a small church pastor (especially a bi-vocational pastor) are so great that my family was getting lost in the shuffle of things. No pulpit help meant I had to preach/teach every week resulting in extreme burnout after long hours of work during the week. My wife and kids were given a backseat while ministry took priority. Unfortunately, the truth is if I died today my family would suffer and church would get another pastor. While I would gladly like a ministry mulligan, the truth is I can’t go back and change anything in the past 8 years. While I’ve made many mistakes there has been some good as well. The people of God are trusting the man of God again. We did restore a church where ministry can be performed without hesitation in a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment. We’ve touched many lives that we will never know about through our ministry and through the ministry of Praise Chapel who minister in the small building on the grounds. The Word of God was preached/taught faithfully every week without compromise. I gave 100% of me regardless of attendance. Bottom-line: I DID MY BEST!

Monday, March 14, 2011

68th Church Anniversary Recap

This past weekend, our church celebrated 68 years of God’s faithfulness to our ministry. We started on Friday night with a comedy show with some of the best comedians in the area (Sista Merry, Tyree Moorehead, Cizzle C, Six Foota Simm, Aaron Edwards, Sis Canteloupe, and Barry Brewer). We laughed from start to finish. Our judges were my big brother and sister Bishop Kenneth and Shervonne Wells and my friend pastor Reginald Payne. Tracy did a wonderful job decorating the sanctuary and the membership stepped up to serve all of our guest. The jokes were hilarious. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated we really appreciate it.

Saturday was cleanup….a lot of work but we got it done to prepare for Sunday morning worship. Aysia had her 1st track meet at Artesia High School. She did a good job in the high jump and long jump.

Sunday I took a break from our series in Philippians and preached Psalms 67 – “Blessed To Reach The World”.

Sermon Theme: This Psalms is evangelistic in nature and the natural response towards the blessing of salvation is “Let the peoples praise Him, let all the peoples praise Him” – v. 3

This Psalms provides four (4) reasons why we’re blessed to reach the world.

i. God’s Favor is upon us – v. 1
ii. God’s Ways are for us – v. 2a
iii. God’s Salvation is available to all of us – v. 2b
iv. God’s Praise is to be declared forever – v. 3-6

I pray all in attendance were blessed by the message!

The afternoon service went great. Tracy led worship and did a great job! Our guest churches were Pastor Michael Albert and Mt Aaron Church along with Pastor Todd Barnett and my nephew Pastor Louis Monroe and the Word of God Baptist Church. Pastor Monroe preached from Psalms 23 “What God Does when Life Hurts” but before he preached his father big Louis played “Blessed Assurance” on the organ and killed us. That man is a true church musician of which we don’t have many of these days. It was good seeing a friend I haven’t seen in years, Matt Falkner, who plays for Word of God. I started remembering our days at Mt Sinai and almost got on the drums to bring back old times but I held my peace.

My mother and aunty, “The Mothers of Judah Dance Ministry”, surprised the heck out of us with their mixing of the Cha-Cha and line dancing to gospel music. It was different and fresh to see seniors get their groove on. But I’m sure they were hurting by the end of the night…lol Great Job! We did a special tribute for a dear member, Sis Georgia Loud, who recently became ill. We just wanted to say thank you to her for all of her service over the years to the First Goodwill Church. Emotions ran high has Tracy and Sadie began talking about her and what she means to them. It’s been hard as a pastor and for the church to see her and her husband sick but has been gracious to the both of them and for that I thank God.

Last Wednesday, we as a church committed to fasting and prayer from 6 to 6 for the sole purpose of asking God to restore the joy of our salvation for effective ministry and mission advancement. I felt the help of fasting this past Sunday as I preached and decided to fast every Wednesday until Resurrection Sunday (Easter Sunday).

Overall the weekend was good!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Does Anyone Fast

Do ordinary, busy Christians fast anymore?

That was the question that popped into the mind of our board of elders chairman. Pastor mentioned fasting in a sermon, and now the lay leader was getting practical: "What about it?" Should we-a large, modem church in a Minneapolis suburb take fasting seriously?"

John Wesley once said, "Some have exalted religious fasting beyond all Scripture and reason; and others have utterly disregard it". we certainly knew which category we were. So we did what any group of uneasy churchmen would do: we referred the matter to the discipleship ministry team for further study.

In a matter of weeks, a board member presented a report that didn't let us off the hook at all. He noted, among other things that:

  • Fast and other forms of the word are used 78 times in Scripture.
  • Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Jesus, Anna, the disciples of John the Baptist, Paul, Barnabas, and others all fasted
  • Jesus seemed to think of giving, praying, and fasting as a trio of spiritual disciplines in Matthew 6:1-18
  • There are 4 reasons to fast: (1) to better focus the mind on God; (2) to share, in some small measure. God's own grief over sin; (3) to turn attention away from material needs toward the One who supplies all; (4) to intensify our praying.

The final conclusion is that fasting is a biblical teaching and should be practiced among all Christ followers.

Guidelines for fasting

1. Reach a personal conviction on the subject through a careful biblical study

2. Make sure you are medically able to fast before attempting it

3. Enter with a positive faith that God will reward those who fast with the right motives

4. Begin with short fasts and gradually move to larger periods of time

5. Be prepared for some dizziness, headache, or nausea in the early going

6. Mix your prayer time with Scripture reading and singing or devotional reading

7. Keep checking your motives during the fast

8. Break a prolonged fast graduall with meals that are light and easy to digest.

(This is an excerpt from "Fresh Ideas for Discipleship & Nurture written by Clyde B. McDowell - Associate pastor of pastoral care, Wooddale Church in Richfield, Minnesota)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Decisions, Decisions, and more Decisions

This past Lord’s Day I preached a message on A Biblical Perspective for Decision-making. I originally intended explore this topic by looking at various passages of scriptures but then landed on Philippians 1:26-27:

If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

I got stuck on “I am hard pressed between the two”. Paul has a dilemma he’s dealing with, to die or continue on living to follow God’s plan for his life.

I too am faced with decisions, decisions, and more decisions. In a survey, pastors who said they made no tough decisions during a year were more likely to be fired than pastors who could identify such decisions. Pastors willing to face decisions last longer.

Yet longevity is not the only indicator of fallout from making or not making difficult decisions. There are other, less obvious factors. To identify those, one survey asked a series of questions about the toll risky decisions take on the leaders’ personal well-being, their ministry effectiveness, and their families.

The good news from the survey results is that when a tough decision is over, most of the pastors who stayed and even those who leave see benefits from the process they have been through.

Surprisingly, tough decisions cost pastors who stayed more personal pain than those who were forced to leave. Most pastors who stayed after a tough decision said the process took a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional health. Ministry decisions take a toll on everyone in the pastor’s household, no matter what the outcome of the decision. Ministerial effectiveness, as perceived by the pastor involved, always suffer. During tough decision-making many pastors recognized that a church in pain cannot serve as well as a church in good health.

Some of the recommendations offered in my message (of which many of them I didn’t get too) were:

1. Pray before you decide

2. Study Scripture for a clear understanding of God’s will for your life

3. Seek godly counsel from those you can trust

4. Check your motives by asking yourself tough questions and be honest with yourself when answering the questions

5. Try plan for the outcome of decision being made

6. Take your time but don’t wait too long

7. Pray before you decide