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Friday, May 4, 2012

A Christian View on Suicide


In recent days we have seen an increase of media reported cases of suicides among high profile individuals who many people admired and still admire to this day. At first report of a suicide or murder suicide (where a person murders others and then themselves) it sparks debate among people whether they are Chrisitan or not of that person's eternal destiny.

Just recently, I read a post of a friend that asked a question: "Is suicide an unforgivable sin?" which again sparked debate of approx 36+ comments of people trying to understand what seems to be a hard pill to swallow, a person taking their own lives and happens to them next.

I will admit up front that I am not a professional counselor on this issue so I will not be offering any suggestive advise as to how to handle individuals contemplating or have experienced such a tragedy. I can (and will) only say what the bible says to help us understand God's view on the topic.

As I write this introduction on a Christian View About Suicide, I will do my do-diligence to insure accuracy of biblical teaching on suicide. This is not an easy topic to write on nor is it an easy topic to understand. Therefore, I will allow the Holy Spirit to saturate our hearts and minds for understanding.

What does the bible say about suicide?
First understand that, according to Scripture, suicide is not what determines whether a person gains entrance into heaven. The bible views suicide as equal to murder, which is what it is self-murder. The bible views suicide as a sin just like any and every other sin. The command given to Moses in Exodus 20:13 validates the belief that suicide is sin when it says: "Do not murder". This is a command to not murder others nor yourself. The bible is clear that suicide is a sin. However, the mistake many of us make is categorIzing the severity of the sin from others. I guess we can categorize certain sins to scare the Hell out of us but lets be careful of doing so. We murder in so many ways, like, lying is murder because it kills a person trust of what you say. Slander (gossip) is murder because it kills a persons character. Adultery kills the vows/sanctity of marriage. In short, sin is sin no matter what sin you commit. As well, sin is deadly according to Paul's writing to the Romans: "The wages of sin is death but the of God is eternal life".

Are there biblical examples of people committing suicide? Yes. The Bible mentions six specific people who committed suicide: Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul's armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4-6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). Five of them were wicked, sinful men (not enough is said regarding Saul's armor-bearer to make a judgment as to his character). Some consider Samson an instance of suicide (Judges 16:26-31), but Samson's goal was to kill the Philistines, not himself. The Bible views suicide as equal to murder, which is what it is—self-murder. God is the only one who is to decide when and how a person should die.

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

National Day of Prayer 2012

Today, May 3rd, 2012 is National Day of Prayer. This is a special time in the life of our government, society, families, and Christian community. It's ironic that our government would take prayer out schools but still set a special time of prayer for us to observe as a country. Wow, I'll take it!

When I pastored First Goodwill, I looked forward to spending this day with the church and other sister churches as we came together in prayer as a body of Christ. I still look forward to this day of prayer time. I'm under the belief that if you don't pray any other day (which is bad if you're not praying in the first place) you should pray today. If our government thinks enough of prayer to give it a special day surely as a Christian you and I should make it a priority today.

1 Timothy 2 is a favorite passage of
mine for this day...

2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to bthe knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man1 Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time...8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.

Enjoy National Day of Prayer!

He's Too Long

A few weeks ago during a meeting session at the church, I admitted that at times I can be long winded during a preaching/teaching opportunity. For which a response came back; "Yea, you were long but I chalked it up as you being a preacher!" We all laughed cause it was funny the way the person said it.

Since that time, I've been asking myself, Am I really a long winded preacher?" I will say in recent days I am more time sensitive by watching the clock or being aware of the late hour when being put up to preach.

I've also heard guys speak of the congregations retention ability during the sermon presentation that after about 20-30 minutes people checkout of the message and don't hear anything else you have to say. I dint think thats it for a few reasons:

1). A many of folk can sit in front of the TV for hours watching their favorite shows and can tell you everything about it the next day if not days/wks later and don't leave out one detail.

2). I just believe people listen to want they want to ... Period.

3). We can listen to an entire CD and memorize the lyrics with no problems.

4). Some guys (preachers) are just plain old boring. I will admit I fell asleep on some guys because they were too long and boring.

5). People stay up way too late and then come to church asking God to speak to their tired restless mind. It ain't gone happen and if it does call it a miracle.

I think you get my point.

A person's retention ability is not the problem but a symptom. A follow up question then is this, what is the problem? My answer, who knows but them.

While I am aware that an effective sermon does not have be long as much as what maybe considered a short sermon can be deemed ineffective.

Here's the issue that I've been toying with in my head for weeks.

Am I a longed winded preacher or a concerned preacher who wants to insure God's people are fed regularly and consistently?

When approaching this topic from the stands of consistent preaching, I realize I can be both long and short winded as long as I am consistently interpreting the text accurately.

Preaching is like cooking a good meal. There are some meals that require long preparation time and there are some meals that are cooked quickly (right out of the box) and the final result is satisfied eaters.

My ultimate goal and mission in ministry is to insure that God's people are satisfied with what I prepared for them to digest whether short or long.

At the end of Amen, I want them to walk away and say that was good for my soul.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Question That Died

During extending the invitation, I usually ask if you were to die to tonight are sure you would spend eternity with God. Until recently, I wonder if this is a good question to ask after reading an article in Christianity Today.

The article is entitled "Spotlight: The Question That Died".

I want to share some of what I read in this blog...

"No other question has been so identified with American evangelism and the evangelical movement. Billy Graham used it regularly in his crusades and books, and it was the backbone of training for D James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion. But a new survey from LifeWay Research suggests that it's not a question many people are asking themselves. About 11% of Americans say they wonder about it once a year or so; similar percentages said the question occurs monthly or weekly. But about half (46%) said they never wonder about it at all.

Scott McConnell says; "Starting faith-sharing conversations by assuming people are wondering about spiritual things when they are not could be a wrong place to start".

Ken Silva, VP of North American Evangelism Explosion says; "People are open to talking about eternal things, whether they've thought about this question or not. It tends to be people who don't evangelize who imagine people aren't open".

While this has made me think of how to approach evangelism, I still believe its a relevant question to ask. The assurance of salvation is essential to our doctrinal beliefs and without the assurance we're eternally hopeless.

So I ask, If you were to die tonight would you spend eternity with God or in Hell?

Think about it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Resurrection Sunday Review

What a wonderful resurrection weekend experience!

It started Friday night, I had the privilege of preaching in a Good Friday service with my brother Pastor Raymond Chandler of The St Thomas Baptist Church. He doesn't do the traditional 7 Last Sayings on the Cross. Instead, he takes bits and pieces of week leading to the cross and gives us an assignment to speak on a specific event.

This year I had the two thieves which I titled: What Mean These Thieves - Luke 23

Thesis statement: These two thieves hanging represent two groups of people in our society.

1). The Spiritually Selfish - the first thief represents an selfish spirit relating to repentance. He's not concerned with what Jesus can truly bring to his life. Instead, he joins in on the mockery and says; "Save Yourself and us!"

2). The Spiritually Sincere - The second thief tells the first thief: "Shut up! Don't you know who you're talking to. We deserve our punishment but this man has done no wrong!" This second thief represents the repentant heart who recognizes that Jesus can give him true forgiveness. So he says: "Lord, when u come into your kingdom, remember me!

3). Sufficient Resource - Jesus is hanging in the middle praying; "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing!" If anybody can a prayer through its Jesus. Not only that but while hanging on the cross He still sufficient power to forgive sins. He says to the second thief: "Today, you will be with Me in paradise." what a blessing!

Sunday was an awesome day of celebration with one service at 6
am. We got out of church at 8:30 and had the rest of the day to do nothing. Loved it.

I look forward to Resurrection Day in 2013 where prayerfully and hopefully I can share my Passion Week preaching series looking at the week long events leading to Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.

I watched the return of Derrick Rose with my Chicago Bulls team. He was definitely rusty after being out for so long but they played well inspire of it.

I cooked baked chicken, rice, green beans/potatoes, Pozole, and white beans. The Pozole was for my lunch.

I played some BB. We went 4-6 for the day. Soar then and still soar now.

Until next be blessed!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Bother?

As a Christian have you ever wondered why bother with evangelism efforts during seasons like these? Christmas, Mother's Day, and Easter? I know I used to ask why bother.

Most of the times people who attend do not come with the right intentions. They come with new clothes, new hair, new hats, new shoes, well manicured/pedicured, baskets for the children, rabbits with eggs (which I never understood), and a well cooked dinner awaiting they're return home. All of this and so much more for the big production ... Easter Sunday.

As a Christian, preacher, pastor, I used to say why bother? Churches will be filled to capacity on this coming Sunday. Choirs will be well-prepared, pastor well prepared, plays of the final days of Christ leading to His resurrection will be performed, and a tokens of love giving to all the guest who attend. But, I used ask why bother?

Many of those who attend this Sunday will not return until next year if God allows. Many of the church's members that we have not seen in months if not since last year will be in attendance this Sunday after which we will never see them again. So, my question remains the same "why bother?"

Well, that question is no longer a part of my Christian sentiments during this season. There are a many reasons why we should bother during this season to reach out to people who do not know Christ for themselves

Allow me to offer a few reasons why I believe we all should bother....

(1). Remember Christ has drawing power no matter the season - Jesus said in the gospel of John: "If I be lifted up for the earth I will draw all men to Me". No matter the season Jesus has drawing power.

(2). Remember your salvation story - Many of us received knowledge of Christ on Easter Sunday. We may not have joined that day but we did hear the gospel story which sparked a spiritual interest in Christ and now we have a personal relationship with Him.

(3). Don't count anyone out. Many of you will bring friends and family Sunday to church some you thought would never step into a church. God still has power to save them even on Easter Sunday morning.

So there is a reason to bother. What are you going to about it now?

Let the church say Amen! Let the church say Amen! God has spoken let the church say Amen!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

At Least One Week

Passion Week (also known as Holy Week) is the time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday). Passion Week is so named because of the passion with which Jesus willingly went to the cross in order to pay for the sins of His people. Passion Week is described in Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. Passion Week begins with the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday on the back of a colt as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9.

It is referred to as Passion Week because in that time, Jesus Christ truly revealed His passion for us in the suffering He willingly went through on our behalf. What should our attitude be during Passion Week? We should be passionate in our worship of Jesus and in our proclamation of His Gospel! As He suffered for us, so should we be willing to suffer for the cause of following Him and proclaiming the message of His death and resurrection.

The question is, how do we properly proclaim the gospel of Jesus this week that will serve as a communication of witness to the world and/or those closest to us? Long question...huh?

While reflection on holy week, there's an exhortation and encouraging challenge for each believer to strive for least this week (at least one week out of the year)...

Pursue holiness with a passionate determination this week.

Keep in mind, a perfect Jesus died for imperfect people. He's the perfect One and we're striving to become Christ-like. You don't have to be a Jesus Jr to live holy for at least one week. Just set yourself apart from those things and people who will make you act like you don't know who Jesus is.

This week make a commitment to do all you can to be all you can for God, this week!

This week lay down the phone from unclean conversation, this week!

This week get off FB, as it will distract you from being all you can God this week.

At least one week out of the year, live holy for God is holy.

Let the church say amen! Let church say amen! God has spoken, let the church say amen!

Be blessed loved ones!


Monday, April 2, 2012

A Wonderful Week

This is a wonderful week in the life of every believer. Therefore, you and I should this week in victory.

It's Holy Week! It's a monumental week! It's a week of remembrance! It's a week of salvation! It's a week of deliverance! It's a week of celebration! It's a week trial and triumph! It's week of prevailing under pressure!

It's a wonderful week!

This is the week our Lord suffered on our behalf. Don't get me wrong, I'm in know way ignoring the pain and agony Christ experienced on the cross. But celebrating the fact if He didn't do it I would not be where I am today. So I'm thankful for just being saved today.

It's a wonderful week, it's Holy Week which leads up to greatest even in Christian history... The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As a reminder if this week, here's a timeline of events that took place during the week our Lord was crucified...

Sunday - The Triumphal Entry (The King who came to die) - Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-6, Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19

Monday - The Cleansing of the Temple (Jesus Cleans House) - Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 10:1-8

Tuesday - The Authority of Jesus Challenged (Who Is This Guy) - Matt 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 10:1-8

Wednesday - The Plot against Jesus (We'll get You if it's the last thing we do) - Matt 26: 1-16; Mark 14:1-11; Luke 22:1-6

Thursday - The Last Supper, Gethsemane, & Arrest (Dinner, Betrayal, Denial - What a day) - Matt 26:26-56; Mark 14:22-50; Luke 22:14-53; John 13-17

Friday - The Crucifixion - (He Died A Real Death) - Matt 27:32-54; Mark 15/21-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:38-42

Saturday - In The Tomb (Jesus has a funeral service) - Matt 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42

Sunday - The Resurrection (He got up like He said He would) - Matt 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-&; Luke 24:1-12

Let the church say amen, God has spoken, let the church say Amen!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

My Mixed Emotions

Today, I have mixed emotions, I'm excited at what today begins and leads up to as I'm reminded of the death, burial, and resurrection of my Savior. I'm also a little disheartened because this will be the first time in 8 1/2 yrs that I'm not preparing to preach an evangelical message for those who would attend the church I pastored. I love this time of the year in the Christian faith not just because of the preaching moment but because of the rich history surrounding our salvation story.

I also love this time year because of some the great sermons that will be preached throughout this week. Yes, reality has finally set in that I'm not pastoring a church any longer but that doesn't mean I can't share the gospel message via this blog. So this week, it is my goal to share my biblical convictions about the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

It is this day, Palm Sunday, when Jesus enters into Jerusalem on a donkey as King. People lined up along the streets to witness His arrival laying down palm branches and shouting: " Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"

Here's an outline of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus:

1. Prophecy Fulfilled - Matthew 21:1-5 Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on this day was spoken of in time past as a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. This is significant because if the prophesy was not fulfilled then God would be a liar and if God is a liar then everything else about God and our future is a lie. But thank God that God cannot lie.

The King has arrived just as He said He would!

2. A Procession of Humility - Matthew 21:6-7 - Jesus doesn't ride in on a horse but on a donkey. Why a donkey? The bible describes the donkey as the foal of a beast of burden. Riding a donkey for a king was not customary. Kings rode in on horses not a donkey. King's rode in on a horse to signify war but Jesus rode on a donkey to signify peace. In addition, Jesus rode in on a donkey to signify His humility of fulfilling what God called Him to do and because He was carrying the burden of our sins to the cross. Thank God for being humble and a burden carrier.

3. A Praise of Familiar - Matthew 27:8-9 - The people are praising Jesus' entry for all the wrong reasons. The people are praising Jesus because they think He has come to lead a war against the city of Rome. They missed the main purpose of Jesus' coming which was to save of us not lead a war against a city. In our day too many people (Christians and non-Christians) are praising God for all the wrong reasons. They expect Him to lead a war against our enemies (haters) rather than praising God for the salvation to come which leads us to eternal life. Thank God our victory is not in fighting a enemies but in the resurrection of our Savior.

Invitation:
There maybe someone who has read this blog who doesn't know Jesus for yourself, today is a real good day for you to get to know Him. If you're unsaved you don't have to remain that way. Today, receive Christ. If you need assistance into the salvation of the Lord inbox me for the plan of salvation.

"Let the church say Amen, God has spoken, let the church say amen!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It Will Never Stop

I remember many encounters with racism as a boy living in the state of Texas. But one particular instance stands out more than most of them.

I was a Jr in high school playing on the varsity basketball team. One of our games was in Pasadena, Texas which was known as KKK headquarters. We were a 12 man team made of 6 Blacks, 3 whites, 2 Mexicans, and 1 Asian. My coaches were all white.

We got on the bus headed to our game. For us it was like any other game, we knew we were going to win.
When we arrived to the school the bus took a detour and took us around back. At the time we didn't know much nor did it bother us, we were ready to play ball. We got off the bus went into the locker to get ready to play. As we came out of the locker room and into the gym, the noise was unbearable and needless to say disrespectful. But we didn't care we was ready to play ball. The game started and immediately it was war. We were fouled (hard), low bridged, tripped, spit on, called nigger, kicked in the butt, and not one foul or technical foul was called. The first quarter was hell and yet we were up by 10 points. It got so bad that the white, Mexican, and asian players refused to play but the black players wasn't going to lay down that easy.

So we decided, forget these plays and let's do street ball. We knew how to foul and play dirty without getting a call. Elbows flying and people flying. We had 30 fouls to use (5 a pieces for each player) and were going to use them all that nite. At the end of the first half, some of us had scratches, bloody noses, scraped knees, and hurting all over. But we didn't care, we were winning by 30 points at the half.

When we got into the locker room my coach through a fit about our style of play basically saying we let them get into our head. But we didn't care we wanted to play ball, they were playing dirty so we decided to fight back and we were winning by 30 points.

We got mad at the coach because we felt he was taking their side especially with him being a white coach. We didn't care that he respected us before all we knew is that right then in the heat of the moment he was an enemy.

We got angry at the white players because we felt it was a setup. We didn't care about the times we ate lunch together, parties together in their hood, visited each other, and so on. All we knew is that right then in the heat of the moment they were enemies.

Finally our coach calmed us down and got our attention with these words: "This is only a game!" Our response was simple: "What!" He said it again: "It's only a game! Now let me explain!"

He said: "This is only a game but a prelude to a real life issue...racism. It will never stop! How you play will determine if you win or lose."

I heard but then again I didn't hear h. But now that I'm older l believe what he was trying to say is this...

Racism will never die in America. However, play the game to win!

I don't usually write about current events. Not sure why I just don't. However, after experiencing what I believe to be racial profiling for myself and following the information about the of murder of Trayvon Martin, I will admit a anger cord struck in my body. But I was quickly reminded of my experience as a Jr n high school..."play the game of life to win".

It will never stop but play to win!

Be angry but sin not is the Christian response. Even in our anger, we're still to be witnesses for God when it's tough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pew and Pulpit Partnership

Yesterday was a good day of worship all day and yet a compassionate burden came over me. After attending one service, Tracy and I walked out only to see a car with red tinted windows and white writing (and I quote): "No broke Bs (you can read between the lines) allowed". There was also a young lady on a bike cussing up a storm as members of the church walked out of service.

There were two (2) churches connected to each other and anyone walking by can hear what's going on the inside of both churches. We got into the car and headed home to rest before going to our final service the day.

After the last service, I went home to washed and dried some clothes. While waiting for the clothes to dry, I started reflecting on the day and it hit me: "I've heard 3 sermons and I don't know how many mini-sermons but no one came during the invitation to give their lives to Christ.

I then posted my burden of thought on Facebook: "I've heard 4 sermons 2day and no one came to Jesus. Has evangelism become an after thought in the church?"

When I woke this morning that same burden is on my mind, has evangelism become an after thought?

I have a biblical conviction relating to evangelism that I want to share and here's my thesis for the blog: Evangelism is a partnership between pew and pulpit. The pew and pulpit is responsible for reaching lost people. Allow to share why I believe this a biblical teaching partnership.

The Pew
When Jesus started His earthly ministry, He said to Peter, James, and John: "Follow me and I will make you fisher's of men." Jesus started with a membership of 3 the eventually grew to 12 so they can make a difference in the lives of those who did not know who He was. Jesus gave the command to reach lost people before ascending to heaven in Matthew 28:18-20 and in Acts 1:8, He speaks to those in the upper room assuring them of the promise that they (we) will be witnesses for Him after the Holy Ghost has taken residence. The point is that the command, commission, and communication to reach lost people was given to believers (members) before it was given to the pulpit. I mention this in this fashion because oftentimes the lack of church growth is charged to the pulpit. I beg to differ. The initial contact for reaching lost people lies in the hands of the members. The pastor/preacher does not have any contact with those you invite (at least 95% of the time) until he says: "Open your bibles to..."

In a real since the pew makes or breaks any chance of reaching lost people. More than sharing your thoughts about your church and pastor, I charge you by the mercies of God to share God with people you come in contact with. The woman at the well said come see a man not come see a church.

The pew has the obligation to bring the people and the pulpit has the obligation of capturing (for lack of a better word at the moment). It's a partnership between pew and pulpit.

The Pulpit
In Acts we find that a membership of 120 grew to 3120 after Peter shared the gospel message: "This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted...8And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him. 40And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. 41They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls".

In 2 Timothy 4:1-7, Paul charged Timothy to do the work of an evangelist by being ready to preach in and out of season.

The pulpit is obligated to take every opportunity it possibly can to share the gospel. I believe the gospel is to be shared in every service (morning worship, men's day, women's
Day, etc). The pulpit is not to be found not sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. The method(s) of sharing may be different but not the message.





Monday, January 30, 2012

My Worship 1-29-12

My worship experience yesterday was great. I still haven't recouped from last Sundays preaching assignments with having to go to work afterwards but we had a good time in worship.

Bishop preached like a mad man.

After church was a New Orleans buffet Sunday brunch with food, music, and games. The food was wonderful! I didn't get to stay for the whole event because I had to go home and wash our crazy cocker spaniel Rocky before the next service.

We celebrated with pastor Duane Moore and the Galgotha Church for his 3rd year partnership with the church. The service was good. There was bass player from Beacon Light that was killing it (that's a good term among musicians). I did hear a message on 2 Timothy 2:15 that has sparked interest for me to study. Never preached the text before but I am now.

Here is my fighter statement for the wk:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let His Glory Fill His House

Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. – Haggai 1:6

In chapter 1 God calls Haggai to deliver a message. The Jews were living in their comfortable house while God's house sat unfinished and uncared for because in the people's minds it wasn't time to rebuild. But after Haggai's message, the people got to work building God's house. In chapter 2, the people were motivated to continue building the temple and God will bless them (Haggai 2:5).

In short it is important to notice a few reminders for some and new revelation for others.

1. God wants His house to look just as good as your house.

2. God expects us to invest in His house just like we invest in ours.

3. Gods wants people to visit a beautiful house that speaks well of Him. Just like we want people to visit our houses that speak well of us.

4. Caring for God's house is all of our responsibility.

5. Lumber to build isn't free, it cost to build and it cost to keep on building.

6. God is watching how we treat His house.

Here's the point, your role is needed as a good steward to care for God's house with your presence, participation, and possessions (finance).

Let God's glory fill the house as we build and continue to build together.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Sunday 1-22-12

Yesterday was a blessed day of ministering God's word. I preached for a friend and bro, Pastor F Demond Harris of New Harvest Christian church at 8:30 am. I preached Hang In There for James 1:12. The central point of the message was "You can make it if you hang in there." I got caught up (and so did the church) as I tried to explain the principle of disposition for which if tried to argue the tension of between the word, blessed, in context with testing moments or life's pressure points. Testing points in life are generally kill joys for the believer but the text says testing points are not kill joys but blessings. Which is to say we're being blessed during testing time.

The worship was wonderful and God used me to preach with passion and power. I pushed the envelope to my full capacity.

Again, thank you Pastor Harris and the New Harvest church for your kindness and invitation.

At 11:30, I preached for my friend pastor Al Johnson and Divine Direction Church. I also was able to meet pastor Lamar Simmons for the first time of Greater Mt Olive Baptist Church. He's immediate response upon the introduction of my name was, "Smith, heard a lot about you and now I finally get to meet you." I just pray he heard was of good and not of evil...lol

The worship was good and I preached from Genesis 17:1-8: Our God Is Sufficient. The central point of that message is God is all you need to make it from day to day. God blessed the message and pushed the enveloped again to full capacity. After the service Pastor Johnson commented how he appreciated the fact that I didn't anything back based on the number in attendance. I told him I don't preach for numbers I preach for changed lives. In my opinion that outweighs numbers any day of the week.

Again thank you Pastor Johnson and Divine Direction Church for your kindness and invitation.

My throat is soar but getting better. It really hurt yesterday. But it's my fault for not pushing through my stomach and using more of my throat during my whoop or what I call singing my sermon.

After church Tracy and I got some soul food from our favorite spot Carolyn's on Manchester. Sooooo gooood!

She took a nap and watched the football games (well as much as I could).

Later we got 31 Flavors and then I crashed for the night.

Both football games were good but the Giants/49ers game I enjoyed the most. I can care less who wins The super bowl I just want good football.

Until nxt time have a God blessing week.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Sunday - 1-15-12

When I was a pastor I would write every week highlights of our Sunday morning worship. I got this idea from fellow bloggers. But when I stopped pastoring I stopped blogging about my Sunday morning worship life. But I've discovered a valuable lesson in recent days, my worship doesn't stop just because my pastorate stopped. No my worship continues despite my ministerial position and/or function in the church.

So like David, I too, will blessed the Lord at all times and His praises shall continually be in my mouth.

This weekend has been a blessing on so many levels.....

First, I participated in a leadership conference for Bishop Ervin and Church One where I shared a portion of material I wrote for the church last year entitled "The Soul Health of Leadership - Leading when It Hurts To Lead". The point of conference material is to inform leaders that hurt, stress, frustration, and pain is inevitable in leadership. However, how we respond to the hurt will dictate our effectiveness in our leadership roles.

It is my prayer that God used me to be a blessing to that leadership team and I thank Bishop Ervin for the opportunity and friendship we're starting to cultivate.

Other topics of the conference were...

Being Resourceful With Limited Resources - Bishop David Cooper

How To Deal With Conflict With Other Leaders and the Congregation - Co-Pastor Kimberly Ervin

Kingdom Stewardship: Order In the House - Bishop W T Ervin

Moving from Ordinary to Extra-Ordinary - Evang Pamela Edwards

I am praying for Bishop Ervin as his dad transitioned this Sunday.

Sunday was a good day of worship starting with Lift-Off which is Mt Pilgrim's 21st Century pattern for Sunday School. I am the Director of Christian Education at Mt Pilgrim and we're in the process of restructuring starting with a mass journey on Sun, Feb 5th with Bishop sharing the plan, purpose, and profit of Lift-Off for our grand re-opening in March.

This past Sunday I taught a lesson on understanding the Godhead (Trinity). Wonderful time! I enjoy teaching theology of this type because I believe it's essential in understanding God and how He operates in our lives to reconcile the world unto Himself.

Sunday morning was off the chain from start to finish.

After church, I went home to rest before Tracy and I went to Mission Viejo, Ca for a MLK multi-Cultural service where Bishop preached.

The service was filled with all nationalities. A Presbyterian church choir killed us and they were so excited about being there. My close friend, Shervonne Wells is minister of music at Mission Viejo Christian Church and it was good hearing her sing. I was also presently surprised to see my big bro, her husband, Bishop Kenneth Wells. Reunion! Love those guys for sure.

Bishop preached us crazy and then brought everybody together the O'Jays song "Get on the love Train".

I was reminded that there is diversity in worship services and no one worship is either right or wrong but diverse of which we can all feel the presence of our creator, God.

On the way home, Tracy and I stopped at Marie Callendars for pie to eat while watching our Sunday evening show.

We both were tired.

This coming weekend will be just as busy with leadership meeting on Sat and preaching twice on Sunday morning. I'm wrestling with a few different messages to preach this weekend to preach and praying God will lead me in the right direction.

I really do thank God for people who appreciate my ministry and what I have to offer. I used to think people thought my ministry was a joke and it would bother me to no end. But now God is showing me my ministry is not a joke and as long as keep Him first by disciplining myself in all areas of life He will make up the difference. I'm not a Paul but God has given me voice with His Word and I am so grateful to be used.

My devotional song this week is ...
"I Give Myself Away". It's ministering to me on so many levels.

I will publish my "Ministry On The Move" schedule for this weekend later this week.

Until then have God blessing week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Thoughts On Christian Education

For the past few months I've been watching my favorite television show Good Times while getting ready for work each morning.

One episode I've watched (on more than one occasion) is relating to education. The morning starts with Florida waking JJ and Michael up so they can get ready for school. It's report card day and everyone is anxious to see grades (well, almost everyone).

Michael and Thelma are straight A students and JJ is on the verge of being held back in the 11th grade. Due to their love hate relationship, Thelma and JJ make a bet that if he passes the 11th grade he gets the bathroom first for a month and if he doesn't he has to wash dishes for a month. The bet is sealed with a twisting of pinky fingers.

Later that day, Thelma and Michael enter the house waving report cards...Michael has all As and Thelma has all As and one B. Then enters in JJ with a long face and his report card. He hands it over to Florida while Thelma pulls out the apron as she feels she has won the bet. Florida opens the report card and to her surprise JJ passed with Cs and an A in Art. Everyone is so excited about JJ passing until Florida opens his notebook to see that his test don't match his report card. So Florida and James gives him a pop quiz with one condition if he doesn't answer correctly they're going down to the school to see what's really going on. Needless to say, he answered none of them correctly so they go down to the school to have a conversation with the school principle.

To their dismay they found out that the school was pushing JJ through so that they could continue receiving government financial aide which is based on the number of students that graduate each year. James nor Florida is happy about this discovery so they leave it up to JJ to make the decision to go with the school's policy or stay back in the 11th grade. JJ choices to move into his 12th grade year knowing that he should have stayed back to get the education he needs to make in life.

I know Good Times is only a TV show but it does have some real life implications that many people in our families and in some cases (but not all) in the Church.

Biblical illiteracy is a growing trend now among our Christian community. People don't study the bible and many preachers don't study/preach the bible for accurate interpretation and understanding. This makes for an unhealthy Body of Christ.

We have to get back to making the pulpit and pew bible students. The pulpit must preach the word of God and members must study the word of God.

Ultimately, Christian education is a personal discipline for every believer.

Study to show yourself approved to God a worker who is not ashamed rightly handling the word of truth. - 2 Timothy 2:15

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Reading Goal/Plan

Allow me to start this article by sharing my feelings regarding reading: "I hate it!"

I am not a big fan of reading books. But I heard a preacher say once that preachers should make friends with books. If that's true then my friend base is very minimal.

However, no matter my dislike for reading I understand the necessity to read regularly. Reading keeps my thinking juices flowing. It provides me with the ability to learn and see things differently. Reading helps me grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

And during this season of my life and ministry I want to re-charge my sermon pistol with fresh information. Therefore, I've developed a reading plan for 2012 that I'm going to do my best to maintain and follow.

Bible Reading Plan - When I pastored First Goodwill we journeyed on a bible reading plan that I developed by reading the shortest books of the bible first. It worked pretty well for me because I didn't feel overwhelmed while reading. I accomplished my goal of reading the bible in a year and now I'm doing it again this year.

The Book of Revelation - I'm currently reading through the book of Revelation during my devotional time in preparation of teaching through it at Mt Pilgrim. The lesson series is entitled "Relevant Lessons From Revelation". It will be a 10-12 week course study that I'm looking forward to teaching.

Planned book reading:

- A Hunger for God - John Piper

- How much Does God Control by RBC Ministries

- Keeping Your Focus When Your Dreams Are Shattered - A Look At the Life of Joseph by Precept Austin

- How Can A Parent Find Peace - RBC Ministries

- Marriage Under Fire by Dr James Dobson

- Why Would Anyone Want To Be Holy by RBC Ministries

- Men of the Bible by D L Moody

- Surviving Storms of Stress by RBC Ministries

- Contending For the Faith by John Piper

- Most Of All God Loves You by John Piper

You will notice some of the writers repeated. There is a method to my madness. I pick 1 to 2 authors a year to read with hopes of following and understanding they're thought process when writing. Last year I read books by David Jeremiah and Tony Evans.

I like RBC Ministries because they're 30-50 page pamphlets packed with good material on handling life situations with heaven in view. Very practical how-to lessons.

It is also my goal this year to share highlights of book I've read as an article on my blog. This should be fun and helpful to those reading my blog regularly.

In addition, I started an online book on healing some years ago. I want to finish that book not online but as a published book. So I will began writing again soon with hopes of finishing by the end of 2012.

Have God blessing day!