Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How to Get past YOUR Jordan

The birth of a New Year brings new hope and an optimistic outlook on the future. Many people have already claimed that in 2009, this will be your time, or in 2009, everything will be fine, or for some in 2009, I am going to get mine, and for all of those who are praying that prayer, I hope God gives you everything you desire.

However, even though the clock will change times, dates will change months, calendars will change years and the line of demarcation will be crossed, don't fool yourself into thinking that the new year will help you escape old problems. The Bill collector still knows your number, trouble still has a key to your door and the devil is still after you.

I have always loved the passage found in Joshua 3:1-6 where the people of God are crossing over into their destiny in the promised land. The phrase found in vs. 4, "you have not passed this way before" has arrested my attention as I stand looking over the horizon of another year.

Selfishly, I want everything to be great! No problems, no deaths, no headaches, heartaches, really I don't want anything to ache. I want members who are concentrated on ministry not mess, people who see the possibilities not the problems, I want the promised land! But I realize that, NO ONE SEES THE PROMISED LAND WITHOUT GOING THROUGH JORDAN TO GET IT.

What is Jordan? The simplest definition is "Anything that stands in the way or in between you and your destiny". Under normal circumstances, Jordan is not that formidable but when you get to your Jordan, it won't be normal. When the Israelites came to Jordan, Js. 4:15, the river was at flood stage. Under normal circumstances the Jordan was shallow and only 100 feet wide crossing at Gilgal but when the Israelites showed up it was over a mile wide and very deep. It was over 50 times wider and deeper than it would be normally and they would need supernatural help to get past it.

Jordan is not just a bill but it is a debt so large that there is no way you can pay it without some supernatural help. Jordan is not just a death but it is a death of someone so beloved in your life that it shuts down your ability to want to go on and live yourself. Jordan is not just a problem in the church but it is a problem so deep that it threatens your message, your ministry and now they want to call a meeting. It can't be fixed, faced or fought without supernatural help.

We can get past our Jordan's if we:

The Ark of the Covenant was symbolic of the presence of God. If the Ark moved, it meant God was moving. Where ever God leads, we must be ready to follow. The Bible says, "set out and follow it", it reminds me of the game "Follow the Leader" Where ever the leader went, we went, behind the bushes, through the trees, down the valley, etc., and it is the same in our lives, since we have not passed this way before, wherever God leads, we must follow.

There were clear instructions on getting to close, "There shall be a space between you and it................that you may know the way by which you must go". By giving a distance between the ark and those following, the ark could clearly be seen by the people. Too often we want to rush ahead of God without keeping our eyes on God, then wonder why we fail.
Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you".
Sometimes we miss the wonder because we have not put in the work. Separate, set apart, consecrate yourselves. Get ready! If we are going to get past the Jordan's in our lives, we must examine ourselves to make sure our lives are as clean as possible.

We are all unfinished flower beds constantly needing the Master's touch in our lives. He digs, weeds, transplants and tills away at the places in our garden that do not look like him. It is not an overnight process and neither should it be but he is still working on us. We am not what we will be but neither are we what we used to be but the gardener while shaping us knows exactly what we can be.

Not sure what this will be but still I am ready to run,


Monday, December 15, 2008

Shared Service

Sis Janice Gaddis, Pastor Teron Gaddis, Rev. Ray Owens

What an amazing weekend I shared with an innovative Pastor and a powerful Church in the Greater Bethel Family of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Pastor Gaddis' commitment to Preaching/Teaching once again shows me that real, sustained and effective church growth is not done through Gadgets or Gimmicks but is through the power of God.

I have shared with this church family on the second Sunday in December for the Pastor's Aid Day for almost 8 years now. I started going when Pastor Woodberry missed a connecting flight from Bakersfield coming back from his vacation and I had to cover. After that Pastor Gaddis told Doc, stay on vacation, I can use you for another area of ministry and use Ray in this spot. Since I am no longer at Mt. Olive, it would have been very easy for Pastor Gaddis to say out of sight, out of mind but he thought enough of this preacher to bring me back to Oklahoma (not home as South Bend is my home now).

Many of the challenges I face here in South Bend and at Macedonia, Pastor Gaddis has already faced. A church with great older adults and loads of babies but a missing generation in young adults. Pastor Gaddis went off grid from the normal traditions of the church, his church motto is that they do church beyond the box, so he went after the unchurched. To see what God has blessed him with now knowing what he started with is a testimony to the faithfulness of God and the power of preaching and planning.

They are building Phase 1 of their new sanctuary and should be in by May. We pray God's choicest blessings on this ministry and can't wait for our Marriage conference in 2009 when the Gaddis family will come to South Bend and bless not only my church but this community.

Looking at his church, I saw a quick glimpse of what Mark 2:1-12 describes. I saw Shared Service. Everyone had their place, their position, their point, their "pole" if you will. I shouted when I was watching his church because I knew I was coming back home and preaching what the Lord was birthing into me.

Many people want to "Give" the Pastor the vision and foolishly many uncalled preachers have accepted some person's counterfeit vision instead of asking God for a vision for their church. God Conceives the Vision, then he Creates the Vision in the Pastor and that vision Consumes the Pastor with a burning to Cast the Vision, every sermon, every Bible Study, every business meeting, Cast the Vision until the people Catch the Vision and Correlate the Vision with their Conduct.

That's Mark 2. It's Shared Service. We have to help people who can't get themselves to Jesus. If we get them to Jesus, they can be healed but they have no motion, no movement, no manner to get themselves to Jesus. We are waiting for people to come to our churches who have no way of getting there in the first place. Yes they have transportation , yes they know what time service is but their condition has rendered them without movement.

Shared Service teaches us that there has to be a:

Right Method: Work together, Man your end of the pole, Some Carry, Some Climb, Some Cut

Righteous Message: Faith to Listen, Favor to Look upon, Forgiveness to Look past

Revealing Majesty: Transitional Position( Sins forgiven), a Transformative Posture( Get up) a Transcendental Praise, (We have never seen anything like this!)

Thanks to Macedonia for allowing me to go to Greater Bethel, thanks to Pastor Gaddis for allowing me to come and thanks to Pastor Staples for preaching the Word of God in my stead encouraging, edifying and educating the Body of Christ like only he can.

I am ready to run!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joseph, The most overlooked Man in the room

It is amazing to me how God will use certain events to either birth something into your stream of consciousness or to give confirmation to what he already has deposited. I was granted the privilege of being the speaker today for the Washington High School African-American Male Leadership Group. Their motto is: To Be so strong as to let nothing disturb my peace of mind, I am somebody, I will not fail.

It was a great time and I am indebted to Principal George McCullough, Jr. and my deacon Captain John Williams for allowing me to come; however, God used this to arrest my attention. I am disturbed by how society treats men in general, and African-American men in specific. We have women who think I don't need a man, a society that would seek to incarcerate before educate, and a church who seems to have turned a deaf ear to the development of men and their rightful place in the church and at home.

I know this is true and Joseph is my prime example of it. For some weeks now I have had a private irritation about the theological treatment of Joesph as it relates to the Christmas Story. Our Uniform Sunday School series of lessons has begun and will conclude the Christmas Story without a mention of Joseph, which is not an aberration but the norm.

Theologians concur that Joseph is the least significant of all the characters within the Christmas story. Mary is the prepared vessel and the obedient servant, the angels are an example of spontaneous praise as they witness Jesus doing something they have never seen before, the Wise Men teach us that some things are worth waiting, watching, walking, working and worshipping, the shepherds are our link that Jesus came to the least, lost, and left out but Joesph doesn't matter to us, after all he is just the baby's daddy and he isn't REALLY the father so why discuss him?

At the risk of peril from religious brothers and members who might think I am being more chauvinistic than spiritual, after Jesus, Joseph is the most important figure to this story. With all due respect to my Catholic brethren and the environment in which I Pastor, Mary was Chosen, The Wise Men where Commissioned, The Shepherds served as Confirmation and the Angels Celebrated but only one man had a Choice.

When God decided to entrust the care of his child to another, he needed to find a man. A man whose ego would not get in the way, a man who would listen to his words, a man who would think before he acts, a man that would be able to complete the genealogy of 42 generations, he needed a man.

God still needs men today. The world may have no use for you but God does. Not perfect men or unblemished men, or walking Biblical dictionary men but men who can choose him and do what he instructs them to do.

We measure men by what they say, what they have or who we perceive them to be. Therefore, Joseph means nothing to many because he has no recorded words, no books named after him and no seemingly notable events but Joseph is a great example to many of us that the real measure of a man is not based on what he says but how he lives. Even if my words are silenced my actions will still have an effect.

Maybe we should take another look at an overlooked man in Joseph.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Don't Miss the Party

By far this is the best weekend I have had here in South Bend, I officially am from Indiana now as it snowed all Friday and Saturday and I didn't bunker down like I had been doing. I kept going like it was no big deal. I attended a concert where one of my members Eugene Staples II, the son of one of our Pastors at the church Eugene Staples, Sr., is the lead musician for the Voices of Faith University of Notre Dame Gospel Choir. It was wonderful and God's name was praised, starting on the 4th Sunday of January, this choir will be ministering at my church every fourth Sunday to give them an outlet to use their gift for God and to introduce my church to another avenue of ministry.

Sunday was powerful ALL Day. We continued our advent series, "God is Closer than you think" with our sermon coming from Luke 10:38-42 and we urged the members "Don't Miss the Party" Martha invites Jesus to the home for what seems to be a dinner party but gets so lost in the preparation, she forgets the Prince of Peace is in the House. She is mad at Mary for not helping her and orders Jesus to tell Mary to come and help her. Jesus in effect says, Martha you are missing the party, only one thing is necessary and needful and Mary has chosen that one good thing.

During this Advent season many people are so busy making preparations to buy this, cook this, plan this that we have lost sight of the one who the holiday is all about. We have become so obsessed with the other stuff that we have forgotten the one needful thing. We encouraged the members in order not to miss the party they need to give up their worries, they need to concentrate on worship and understand that Jesus is worthy. The Lord blessed in spite of the limitations of the preacher.

We closed the day with an evening service where the church had a Pastor's aid program honoring my family. I am blessed with three beautiful girls Rachael, LaBraia, and Raven. Pastors Andre A. McGhee and K.D. Witherspoon came over to bless us in this program. I thank God fortheir fellowship, friendship and faithfulness to God as preachers and Pastors in this area.

Pastor Witherspoon killed the house. Many members of Macedonia had never heard my brother preach so they didn't know how powerful of a preacher spoon is. THEY KNOW NOW. He ran and drug everything in the house. I am glad I know he is my friend.

As grateful as I am for the friendship of these pastors, I am even more honored to be the Pastor of Macedonia and to be the recipient of the riches of God as distributed by this loving church. My mother taught me that people don't have to be nice and when they are nice they don't have to be nice to you, so when the occasion comes where someone is nice, the least you should do is say thank you. God bless Macedonia and I love you very much. It was a great weekend.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is Anyone Really Looking for Jesus?

Is Anyone really Looking for Jesus? I will kick off Advent season by using the John Ortberg book as a Title for my series,"God is Closer Than You Think". Advent is seen by many as a denominational thing: catholic, Methodist, Lutheran, etc., but the celebration of Advent is not bound to one group or one church.
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.
Advent is the beginning of a celebration where the Church looks forward with expectation and anticipation for our coming Lord while making great preparation to that end.
However, I must ask again, Is Anyone really Looking for Jesus"? A Post-Thanksgiving crowd of New York shoppers burst through the doors at Wal-Mart knocking down a Wal-Mart worker while thousands of people trampled on, stepped over and stepped around but never stopped to help.
Dozens of employees came to help their fallen brother and they too were trampled on, run over and knocked down by a feeding mob fed by the assumption that they were saving money even if it meant they were taking a life.
When they announced that they needed to shut the store down because someone had died, people yelled, screamed and cursed saying, "I have been in line since yesterday morning" and they kept shopping. Is Anyone really Looking for Jesus?
On the left/west coast, two men are shot inside a Toys R Us, whether for toys or an argument over rival gangs no one knows, and yet more people are concerned over the economic impact ensuring shoppers that it is still safe to shop, please ignore the shooting of some misplaced individuals, feel free to continue spending your money here with us. Is Anyone really Looking for Jesus?
As tragic as it is that America cares more about Macy's and the Mall then they do about the Messiah and the Manger, as amazing as it is that Black Friday from a Wall Street perspective means more now than Good Friday does to a Christian from a salvation perspective, it is mind-boggling to think some of our churches are missing Jesus as well.
We have developed a Martha mentality where we have become so lost in the details that we have forgotten that the deliverer is in our house. The positioning of the poinsettias mean more than the proper placement of the Prince of Peace in our houses of Worship. Is Anyone really Looking for Jesus? I will start this Sunday to began a search for this "so called elusive Jesus that is so hard to find to help show someone this advent season in the words of John Ortberg, God is closer than you think.
We will start Sunday in John 1:14 with the hope of simply saying, God took off divinity that he might kiss with grace we the disfigured that we might have the chance to be delivered back to our Daddy. Pray for us in this adventure as we are excited about the journey.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leadership in the Community

I have the blessed privilege of saying, "I am a SON of Pastor A. Glenn Woodberry and a product of the Greater Mt. Olive baptist Church in OKC. All of us had to have a start somewhere. No one just arrives. Joshua and Caleb needed Moses. Elisha needed Elijah, John Mark needed Barnabas, Paul needed Gamaliel and Timothy needed Paul.

No man is an island and no man stands alone. We all need someone. Too many times churches have died off because of a lack of preparation for training the next generation for service. Either saints who were unwilling to pass the baton or even not allowing someone to run beside them just to learn how to handle this race.

Many of us are one if not two major funerals away from our churches being in major upheaval because we have not properly trained our "waiting in the wings workers". We have made some people TOO valuable in the church and allowed some to hold the church hostage because we have not properly prepared the next leaders.

II Timothy 2:1-3; 3:14-17; 4:1-5 gives us a beginning outline that we should
2:1 uses the term SON. Paul speaks of a development that has taken place from the time Timothy was converted at Lystra that has moved deeper than a normal relationship.
All preachers birthed into a ministry are not SONS, in fact some are illegitimate children birthed from wrong sources such as Deacons, members, family pressures, etc but everyone that has Rev. behind their name is not a Son of the Pastor.

To be called a Son implies a Relationship, a Kinship and a Fellowship.

Paul encourages Timothy to Discern- find, choose some faithful men who can teach others. How do we pick people for leadership? It is not based on money given, level of influence, whose family they belong to but can they be trusted, are they teachable, and can they train others in the Treasure of the Word of God.

Paul then seems to express to Timothy, it's time for deployment, in vs 3 to "endure" join with me, share in suffering" You have been deployed to serve. Soldiers don't get to pick when they want to fight or where they get to fight. Soldiers have to stand a post, guard a wall, and be faithful until relived. No where do we have to understand, just obey the orders given you.

It's always a challenge for me as I am still trying to develop my skills to preach and teach to teach Bible lessons when the Sunday School writers skip from chapter to chapter to chapter but the outline I will use to try and bring all three chapters together is:
Enlarge the Family II Tim 2: 1-2
Entrust the Faithful II Tim 2:1-2
Endure the Fire II Tim 2:3
Engage in the Fundamentals II Tim 3 14-17
Equip the fold II Tim 4:1-2
Encourage the Followers II Tim 4:1-2
Entrench when people fall away. II Tim 4:3

I am excited to share this with the teachers in teacher's meeting. We pray that God will be pleased.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Standing Together

It was a wonderful worship day all day for me. Sunday Morning, Pastor Eugene C. Staples Sr., delivered a timely Word out of Acts 4:9-10 that informed and inspired and hopefully will instigate some people to act out our motto of "We are Macedonia and We are called to help somebody"

Sunday evening we shared with the Greater St. John family and Dr. McGhee and family for their 5th year Pastoral appreciation service. Dr. K.D. Witherspoon knocked it out of the park and the ball has yet to land, check out his blog for the outline. The man is gifted and a giant of a preacher.
While the preaching of the Word encouraged me what a St. John member said to me after service provoked me. After thanking me for loving her Pastor, she said, "What you ministers are doing here in South Bend is revolutionary, I have never seen Pastors who work together like you three are doing.

While I appreciated the words, the impact didn't hit me until later. I recognize my relationship with Pastors Witherspoon and McGhee is unique but the thought of standing alongside a fellow Pastor never struck me as revolutionary. I mean, after all that's basic isn't it?

Robert Fulghum's book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten" is helpful here as in it he says, "Share everything. Play Fair. Don't Hit People. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your Own Mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt someone and When you go out in the World, it is best to Hold Hands and Stick Together.
Isn't that what Paul was really saying in his closing words in Ephesians:

31-32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (MSG)

I realized then that what seems normal to me is revolutionary to others because sometimes the worst words people have heard about preachers have come from other preachers.
Instead of building each other up, we have torn each other down. Preachers who try and out whoop, out preach and out sing each other instead of helping our brothers preach, whoop and sing for the glory of God. Where did we lose sight of the fact God has called us to save a dying world by taking the gospel to the unchurched?

We now live in a world where Pastors try and grow their church by stealing members from another church by downgrading pastors to make themselves look better.

My Pastor taught me the principle, "If I can't help you, I will never hurt you" Bible study has turned me into an Acts 5 Pastor as it relates to other Pastors or ministries. Take care and Leave alone! If it is of man, it will fail but if it is of God you can't stop it, either way you don't have to waste time talking about it.
Charles Swindoll in his book, "Hope Again" tells the story of Andrew Jackson while serving as a Major general in the Tennessee militia during the War of 1812 after noticing all of the arguing, bickering and fighting that was taking place among his men, Jackson called them all together and said, "Gentlemen! Let's remember, the enemy is over there!

Even if this generation or this particular piece of ground here in South Bend has been known more for the sinful practice of brother-bashing that would make people think we were enemies instead of being members of the same family, the time has come for a different picture to be displayed.
Stop the Infighting! Pull for one another, Support one another, Believe in one another, Care for one another, Pray for one another, Love one another. If I can't help you, I will never hurt you. Let's stand together because the enemy is over there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

83rd Church Anniversary and Homecoming Services

If only pictures did justice to what took place at Macedonia Baptist church on Sunday as we celebrated our 83rd Church Anniversary and Homecoming services. God blessed us all day as He allowed us to see many take place. Our website went live this weekend,

In our church we put back up the pictures of former pastors who served Macedonia faithfully starting with Pastor F.D. Johnson, Pastor Anthony R. Pettus, Sr. and Pastor Carlos Williams and we also put those pictures up on the website.

Two churches came together to worship God jointly in South Bend at the morning worship hour. I realize that doesn't sound like a big deal but for two local pastors and churches to come together is amazing, out of town we are used to this but in town is usually an evening affair. What makes it more amazing is, this is South Bend, the preacher fellowship is still a work in process but God is Good.

Rev Andre Wells and the Second Baptist Church came over and the Lord blessed us with a high time. Rev. Wells preached a relevant word out of Lamentations 5:21 entitled "The Road to renewal" His outline was:





Pastor Pettus and the Greater Progressive Family came and shared with us in the evening service so we could say together in one voice "THE DEVIL IS A LIAR". There were people who said this day would never happen, that Pastor Pettus would never step foot back in the Macedonia pulpit, many people were initially upset with me when I announced he was coming back.

Sometimes people try and drag you into their past battles but God showed me that there were certain blessings that He could not give Macedonia or myself because of how they treated Pastor Pettus and my blessings would be dependent on where I stood on this issue, so I stood with God. Macedonia is a wonderful church full of great people but in all of our churches sometimes we see the pastor as our property rather than God's possession. God can do what he wants when he wants how he wants. Pastors don't assign themselves, We go where God leads. Pastor Pettus has been nothing but good to me, He left me a church not in shambles but one that enjoys worship and the Word.
When My daughters became sick and I was scheduled to attend a service where he was preaching, I called him to let him know what was taking place and that I didn't want him to think I didn't want to fellowship. He told me family comes first, take care of them and I will take care of this. When I asked him to come, I told him whenever he could come that's when my anniversary service would be, Pastor Pettus said I will be there the second Sunday in November when Macedonia normally holds the service and I will bring my church and they came in great number.
Sunday, God set things back in order at Macedonia. Worship was amazing and Pastor Pettus wrecked the house. He preached out of Hosea 6:1-3 entitled "The Road of Recovery" He said we must have:

An attitude of Returning

An attitude of Recognition

An attitude of Reliance

An attitude of Resolve.

God blessed us in a mighty way. I am grateful I Pastor such an awesome church following behind such great Pastors. I also thank Pastor Wells and Pastor Pettus for consenting to come and for allowing me to post their outlines on my blog. I look forward to what God will do in our church because of the spirit of obedience that reigned on Sunday morning to his will and his way.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Time to Come Down From the Mountain

Pastor A. A. Jackson Jr., Pastor of the Forest Hill M.B.C of Fort Worth, TX has a saying that I understand a little better now. After the celebration of his sermon/invitation, Pastor Jackson would always says. "It's time to come down now, "We are coming down now".

After these three says with Dr. Issac Culver Jr., and the Jerusalem Baptist Church family of Gary, Indiana, I certainly can say I have been to the mountain top. I concur with Peter that "Lord it's good for us to be here." The hospitality of the church, the life lessons I gleaned from Pastor Culver, the area fellowship of the local Pastors, Dr. Marion J. Johnson Jr.,, Pastor Richard Wilford, Pastor Dwight Mobley and the wonderful praying saints of Jerusalem Baptist was truly amazing.

Because they have no shortage of preaching in Jerusalem, I had a hot crowd every night who basically preached for me every night. Thank God for running a revival for a preaching Pastor because the wood has already been chopped, all you have to do is stir it up. The wisdom they conveyed with me each night will be something that I take with me for a lifetime.

As wonderful of a time as I had I still here Pastor Jackson saying, it's time to come down, there is work to do in the valley.

Please pray for us as we enter into covenant agreement with the local Pastors of South Bend. We praise God for Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon who is leading an effort to call our area churches together for a time of prayer and fasting so that we may beseech God to end the shootings and violence that has plagued South Bend over these last 6 weeks.

Thank God that the mountain gives us what we need in order to face the opportunities of service in the valley. There are demon-possessed boys in the valley with faith-debating fathers and confused communities but in the midst of it all Jesus says " Bring the Boy to Me". I am pledging my support to work, pray, fast and enter into covenant with all of the other Pastors that in prayer we will bring our Boys and daughters to Jesus for the Healing of the Community.

I preached a sermon Tuesday night out of Mark 9:14-28 titled "IT IS POSSIBLE"

I. We all have an "IT" The it is your "demon"

VS 18 (NIV) "It" seizes him, "it" throws him to the ground

VS 20 (NIV) When the spirit saw Jesus "It" threw the boy into a convulsion.

VS 22 (NV) How long has he been like this, "From Childhood, "IT has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him"

We all have an IT. Something that bothers us, haunts, hassles and harasses us. We try and run away from IT but it still comes, We try and sleep to get away from IT and we dream about it. Many of us have not just developed our IT but we have had our IT so long, IT is part of our family. We have become comfortable living in our dysfunction.

We justify our IT, "My mother was crazy", "you know I'm just real, I"m a Gemini I have two sides" when in reality we are fighting a demon that has set up camp to try and tear down what God has designed. The violence that is going on in South Bend is an IT. IT had been ignored, IT had been overlooked, and now IT must be dealt with because, IT will not go away by itself. IT will not be wished away, or legislated away, IT must meet Jesus.

II. We all deal with IF. If deals with out Doubt.

The father's problem was not a demon but it was doubt.

VS 23- "If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us"

Many of us deal with IF. We have seen out IT so long that we have stopped believing that God can do anything but fail. We say maybe I will always be crazy, maybe the best I can do is a drop-by man instead of a husband, maybe depression will always haunt me, we have spent so much time looking at the problem we have forgotten to look at the provider.

III. Jesus says "He is" Jesus can deliver us from out ITS and our IFS.

VS 24- Everything is possible for him who believes.

Max Lucado in his book, "Just Like Jesus" says God loves you just the way you are but he refuses to leave you there. he wants you to have a heart like his. He wants you to be just like Jesus.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Message for A Messed-Up Mind

Sunday was a blessed day in the Lord for me for two reasons. 1) It was the first time in four weeks that I was back in the pulpit God entrusted in my hands to preach. I started last week preaching in the area but Sunday was my first back home. I had nasal/sinus surgery and a uvalectomy that rendered me without a voice for 10 days and no solid food for longer than that. The church has been good to me, taking care of me and nursing me back to health and my older members have enjoyed bossing me around praying that this will slow me down.

2) After church I got on a plane and went to Oklahoma City to bring my girls back home. They went to see their mother for fall free days and spent the week in OKC. I am a single father raising three girls with the aid of God. It's not easy but I can say, they are my gift from God and my saving grace here in South Bend. It is so wonderful watching them grow in the knowledge of the Lord and Sunday service is not the same if I look out and I don't see them there.

Please pray for me as I enter into a three day revival for Pastor Issac Culver Jr., and the Jerusalem Baptist Church of Gary, Indiana. We pray that God will be pleased with our efforts in trying to be an instrument for him.

Sunday we dealt with Mark 16:1-7 and specifically verse 7

7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that(A) he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."

I hope you caught it, in fact because many of you who read and blog are much more astute than I am, you already saw this but I never had. When I saw it I shouted and have yet to stop. Max Lucado in his Book, Cast of Characters says in our rush to the Resurrection we miss it but it's like discovering a ten dollar bill in a drawer full of envelopes. Happy to discover it but shocked to find it there.

But go, and tell his disciples, AND PETER that he is going before you to Galilee My mind had to ask, "Why was Peter so special that he deserved a shout out from the angelic messenger? Why not, And Matthew? And Thomas? He was the Doubter. And James or John? What ranks Peter to be so important?

It goes back to Mark 14:27 when Jesus says "All of you will be made to stumble because it is written I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter". Peter stands in verse 29 to tell Jesus he is wrong because "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be"

We all know how it ends up whether you like the Matthew 27:75 account or the Luke22:62 account they both end the same, "So Peter went out and wept bitterly"

Where did he go? Where did he run? Better question, where do you run after you mess up? Where do you go to get away from the guilt of your mistake and the haunting memories of your past? Since I have been there, I can answer it doesn't make a difference where you go, you just run, run as far away as you can. Run from your past, run from your pain, run from your problems, RUN, RUN, RUN.

Since God knew that we were going to run he sent an angel to deliver a message to the ladies, go and tell the disciples, AND PETER. It's alright. Jesus still loves you. it's alright he already knew. Change the name you fit in the story, And John, And Tony, And Steve, And Eugene, And Wendell, And Kevin, And you, those of us that have been messed up by the pain of your mistakes, messed up by the realization you haven't quite reached perfection yet.

Messed up because that sin you thought you had conquered came back to knock you down, messed up by that temptation that you thought you were past, messed up by the knowledge you still have bad thoughts, impure motives, unspoken desires that even when you have pushed them to the outside of your home, seemingly it crawls back in the cracks like roaches who know the way back in. God has a message for you:

Your Failure is Not Fatal
God gives Peter and we A Personal Invitation

What happened to you Peter won't kill you because I died for it. You don't have to die because I died for you. Sin must be punished, the debt must be paid, a sacrifice must be offered so I gave my life in your stead and now here is your personal invitation to come and see. After Peter receives the blessed news that he is not an outcast, he is not a leper or a wanderer, he runs as fast as he can to come and look for himself. God gives us all a personal invitation.

Your Failure is Not Final
God gives Peter and we A Purposeful Indication
Go look Peter and although you won't find me, I left you some clues that I am not lost. No one stole me, I woke up and removed what was no longer necessary and left them for you as something to hold on to until I see you again. Strips of linen/cloth may not mean much to other people but for you Peter they will be an indicator that I am not dead but I am yet alive.
Every Sunrise is God's indicator that He is not dead.
Every Sunset, Every Rainbow, Every bird that sings, Every flower that stands in attention to God's sunlight, Every star that twinkles in the sky is God's indicator, He is not dead.

Finally God gives Peter and we A Powerful Inspiration
God is not the God of a second chance but God is the God of another chance. Noah got another chance, Abraham Got another chance, Elijah got another chance, Rahab got another chance, Sampson got another chance and thank God, I got another chance.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pastor Appreciation Service

Tonight I had the honor of preaching at New Salem Baptist Church for Pastor Matt Adams 1st appreciation service. It went well, God blessed in spite of us. I am a manuscript preacher, not that I need it or really even look at it, but it is my crutch. If something goes wrong where my mind blanks out or I see a mean look or notice Satan in the sanctuary, it is my point of reference to find God again and center myself within his will.

Tonight I accidentally but providentially left my manuscript at home and did not realize it until I was in the office at the church. In the office amongst the preacher brethren chatting about this and that, I heard God speak to me in a clear and powerful way. He told me if your Manuscript was written about THE MAN, get up and talk about THE MAN and the power to preach will come from THE MAN if U will get out of the way and let the Bible be your SCRIPT.

I was delivered tonight from the burden of perfection in the pulpit. God does not bless me because my words are perfect or everything is aligned and alliterated but he blesses me because I am talking about THE MAN.

We had a great preaching experience. I was in a bad spot in between Pastor Andre A. McGhee who preached Thursday and Pastor Anthony R. Pettus Sr., who is preaching Sunday evening but God granted favor. I pray God's choicest blessing on Pastor Adams and the New Salem Church.

I preached out of John 12:1-8 although I only read the first three verses as I didn't want to give Judas any more credit than he deserved. I talked about "A Bethany Experience".

Simple structure: The World loves parties and celebrations no matter how extreme or extravagant the cost may be until someone decides to want to do something for the prophet. When it is for the man of God we in holy ceremony ask, Is it Biblical, Is it necessary, and are we doing too much? Whatever we do for Jesus can never be enough in regards for all he has done for us.

Background: Jn 12:1 starts out with the word "Then". I hate always catching a conversation in the middle of things so I had to go back and found out what happened.

JN 11: 1-16 Lazarus becomes sick, The sisters send word but Jesus sits where he was Two More Days.

JN 11: 17-44 The resurrection shows up and calls Lazarus from the grave Four days later.

JN 11:45 Some believed and were transformed

JN 11: 46 Some become bitter and told

JN11:47 Uncalled, Unscheduled and out of order church meeting is convened.

JN 11:48-57 Agenda on the table. Let's get Jesus before we lose our jobs, He becomes Jerusalem's most wanted.

JN 11:57 ends with if anyone knows where Jesus is they should report it that they may seize him

JN12:1 THEN- easy to have a party for someone when everyone likes your guest but what if Jesus is hated by the Pharisees who want to persecute and prosecute him. What will you do if people don't like your guest.

JN 12: 2 They made Jesus the center of attention, how much better would our churches, lives, and world be if Jesus, not the oldest member, head deacon, controlling family but Jesus had his rightful seat in our worship.

Long story short a Bethany Experience teaches us we should:

Give God the Best We Have, Vs 3 costly oil of spikenard

Give God All We Have Vs 3 she poured it(NIV) she didn't drip it here or there. We do have drippers in the church who like to give God as little as they can.

In spite of Judas, Never Stop Giving God What You Have, Judas committed suicide but his cousins in the family survived, they are always around to say that's too much, that's too loud, that's too long, but you don't know my story, you don't know what I been through...................... That is a Bethany Experience

Thursday, October 30, 2008


16And the twenty-four elders(A) who sit on their thrones before God(B) fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying, "We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, (C) who is and who was,for you have taken your great power and(D) begun to reign.
Revelation 11:16-17 (English Standard Version)

As I sit at my computer to write this maiden blog, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. Grateful to God that he would allow a person like me to be blessed with the honor of preaching His Gospel and pastoring His people. The Macedonia church family is a good church far better than I deserve and I am grateful to God for them.

My mother taught me that people don't have to be nice and when they are nice they don't have to be nice to you. With that said, there are some people that I need to express my thankfulness to God for allowing them to cross my path.

Wanda Dudley- My team leader over our media ministry who is finishing our website and helped me with this blog, it is not easy working so close with a pastor as many times we can be infuriating and bossy but I thank God for a great member who listens to God and always says to me what God instructs her to say. I pray she never loses the gift of listening to God because in a world where God talks all the time, there are many deaf Christians within the body of Christ.

Rev. Tony Rhone- Pastor Rhone was the leader of a group of Oklahoma preachers who grew up idolizing the "Sons of Thunder" to come out of Bishop college, Pastors Ron Carter, Kelly Booker, Tim Neal, Charles Douglas and later Pastor Joe Carter. We later watched God raise up another generation of preachers, Pastor Ricky Turner at Oakridge, Pastor Jeff Mitchell at Tabitha and Pastor Teron Gaddis at Greater Bethel Church and we wondered would it ever be our time.

Pastor Rhone taught us if we would just be faithful to God and our Pastors, God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. The Lord blessed Pastor Rhone with the Galilee Church and then blessed me with Macedonia and recently our brother Pastor Wendell Beneford with the Shiloh MBC in New Mexico. However out of all of us, there is not a better man, minister or messenger of the Gospel than Tony Rhone, his hermeneutic skills are off the chain and it makes me want to study more, I thank God for what he did for me and all the preachers of Oklahoma City.

Pastor Andre A. McGhee
Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon- My brother pastors in South Bend. I answered God's call to come here not knowing anyone here except God. My prayer was for God to help me find some good pastors who I could share the ups and downs with, to be real and honest with who wouldn't sugarcoat what they said to me but would help me grow in Christ as a person and a pastor. God answered that prayer and more in the "Bishop of South Bend" Pastor McGhee and the "Translator of the Text", Pastor Spoon.

Every young Pastor needs a seasoned Pastor because he has already been where you are trying to go, and can share things with you that will make your journey easier then theirs. I thank God everyday for them and pray for BBC and STJMBC and their ministries that God will bless and keep them always. Don't forget me on the Grand Rapids run.

Pastor A. Glenn Woodberry, Finally to the "Preacher's Preacher. My pastor and "POP". I love him more than words can say because everything I have he gave me, the love of the Word, the expository style of preaching, the burden for a connection with the audience, pulpit etiquette, for 7 years of being his assistant at the Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church and for 22 years of being his son in the ministry.

If I fail as a Pastor it will not be because Pastor Woodberry did not show me the way. Through his success and failures, he showed me the providential nature of God. While I have done many things that has caused him to wonder will I ever amount to anything, I am grateful he never gave up on me and I love him more than words can say.

It is out of gratitude that a spirit of thankfulness rests on my heart this morning, Andre Crouch said it best:

How can I say thanks For the things You have done for me,Things so undeserved,Yet You gave to prove Your love for me.The voices of a million angelsCould not express my gratitude.All that I am and ever hope to be,I owe it all to Thee.To God be the glory,To God be the glory,To God be the glory,For the things He has done.With His blood He has saved me,With His power He has raised me,To God be the glory,For the things He has done.© 1971, Andrae Crouch