Monday, February 23, 2009

Pastor A. Glenn Woodberry's 25th Anniversary

I want to thank the Macedonia Baptist Church for allowing me to go back to my home church, Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church to help celebrate my pastor and father in the ministry, Pastor Rev. A. Glenn Woodberry's 25th Pastoral Anniversary.

In 1984 a man from Blossom, Texas came to the Mt. Olive church and revolutionized ministry within the state of Oklahoma and throughout the surrounding areas. Pastor Woodberry took a church of 300 members and transformed it into a membership of well over 3,000. He did this not through gimmicks, gadgets or gizmo's but rather he did this through sound preaching and teaching of the Word of God.

Pastor Woodberry is one of God's best preachers. YES I AM BIAS BUT THE MAN CAN PREACH. One would never know by the way Pastor Woodberry conducts himself that he pastors such a large congregation. He preaches revivals in the smallest of venues and accepts engagements in places where he has had more money in his pocket than the church had to pay him.

He has been a counselor and a sage for young pastors everywhere and anyone who has heard him teach a pastor's training class has left amazed by his willingness to share his successes and his failures to prevent us from making the same mistakes.

Many of you know that Sister Patsy Woodberry has been sick for sometime and many of our churches have been praying for her. This has been hard for pastor and the church as well. I am glad to report in the middle of service today, we saw a vision of the words Abraham said, "Is there anything to hard for God", as Sister Woodberry surprised us all by walking into the church and stood by her husband and we beheld the power of God.

Months ago she couldn't open her eyes, speak a word or get out of bed. Doctors said it would never happen but God said today would be the day. Pastor started crying and we all joined him and the minister of music played Amazing Grace and the CHURCH WENT IN.

All of the Sons of the Ministry left our pulpits today to come home. We weren't on program, we just wanted to bring our presence and our pocketbooks. Pastor was shocked and touched. Pastor Emeritus W.B. Parker preached the morning service and the legend Dr. J.A. Reed, Jr., preached the afternoon service.

It was great to see these Pastors and when Dr. Reed gets wound up, there is no one like him. I was amazed how strong he still is after all these years. Pastor Reed has pastored for over 46 years at Fairview and Pastor Parker had served for over 43 years so needless to say I shut up and listened to every word spoken.

I thank God for the training I received under Pastor Woodberry, the privilege of being his assistant for 7 years and the honor that I can say I am his son. I pray God gives MY PASTOR, 25 more years in service and blesses Sister Woodberry with equally long life.

After today, ready to run even more,


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Love has Got you Covered

God gave me the blessing of being sick today as I preached and I thank Him for that blessing. All of my girls have been sick this week and I tell them that when they are sick just lay on daddy, cough, sneeze, whine, whatever because God has given Daddy's the power to take the sickness away. Well it worked and so here I am sick but it was a wonderful reminder that preaching is not about our horn, holla or our homiletics but rather it is God using us in spite of us to connect with people who need a Word.
I have been preaching the 13th chapter of I Corinthians concentrating on the Love of God and vs 7 was on the agenda today.

Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. endures all things

I believe this passage gives a description of what God's love looks like. I contend that the Bible does not give a definition of love but rather it gives a description. The world tries to define love through books, movies, poems, songs and soap operas but the Bible never defines love in terms of abstracts, feelings or ideology. It only describes love.

Love is not a feeling! Love is not an abstract! Love is an activity and the basis for this is found in the Bible. When you read I Corinthians 13:4-7 in a normal English scriptural rendering, you will find only adjectives; however, when you read this same passage in the Greek, there are no adjectives, ONLY VERBS.

Love is only love when it acts, so the Bible never defines Love, it only describes it and this passage paints a wonderful portrait on the canvas of our hearts on what our love should look like. Love is action. The Bible bears record of this: Jn. 3:16, Romans 5:8, Jn. 13:35

Since Love has got you covered, this is what Love does for you:

Love won't Expose your Faults:(Bears) We live in a kiss and tell world, "Secret Confessions of...,The unauthorized biography of..., Hair saloons and Barber chairs are full of people who start conversations like, "Did you hear about..., I hear that Sis. was.... God's Love won't expose your faults. A one word definition is Suppress which means, to withhold disclosure. The world seeks to do an expos'e on your business , that's what Maury and Jerry Springer do and we have our own talk-show hosts in church but I was raised that "house business stayed in the house". Some things you just didn't share with strangers or outsiders. Love will not put your business in the street, it will cover you.
Love does not Exploit your Flaws: The Corinthian Church did not understand this type of love. Love will not let you exploit someone else's bad for your good. That type of love is "pimp love" or "Back door Bob" or "Sugar daddy Shane" love but not God's love. Real love will not let you see someone who needs help and maneuver this into an opportunity to get over on them by exploiting their pain.
Love Enshrouds your Failures: It covers you! The word Bear literally means "To Cover with Silence". Love won't leave you in the cold naked and exposed. When life strips everything away in an attempt to shame and disgrace you, God will bring you a blanket to cover your shame. That blanket is called Love.

Don't believe me? Ask Noah Genesis 8:20-23, Still not convinced, listen to the proverbs(10:12), Peter chimes in agreement in I Peter 4:8 that Loves covers a multitude of sins. Don't Believe them, ask me? What stops my faults, flaws and failures from being broadcast as part of the evening news? I am covered! What prevents my deformities, deficiencies, and diseases from being on the front page of the South Bend Tribune? I am covered! Still not convinced, Go to Calvary!

I needed something to cover my mistakes, my mess-ups my mismanagement, my maniacal moments of manhood, I looked over and over but nothing seemed to work. Alcohol covered me from me temporarily but when I came to, I was still naked and bare. Chasing women took my mind off the headaches but added more headaches and in the long run, I was still naked. I needed someone with a long enough blanket to cover my trail of sins and a wide enough blanket to encompass the breadth of my dirt. Where can I find a blanket like this?

My liturgical robe can't do it, my Hart Schaffner& Marx suit can't do it, what can wash away my sins, nothing but the Blood of Jesus. I lost it there and I am losing it now because unlike most of my peers in the blogging community, I haven't always been a good boy, obeyed all the rules, went down the right roads but I am covered. I ended for the most part there but to finish the verse love also:
Love does not Endorse the Findings of others(Believes all things)
Love Expects in Faith the best(Hopes all things)
Love Endures because of the Father(Love never Fails)

Time to run straight to the bed and for the first time within my first year of full-time pastoring, I am not going to the office on Monday nor answering my phone. I pray you had a good Sunday of worship!


Monday, February 9, 2009

God's cure for Selfish living

It was a hard Sunday for me as I buried a faithful mother of the church who loved her pastor and her church and served faithfully for over 60 years. In the short time I have been here, she had made a major impact on my life. I woke up Sunday listless and could not shake it; however God is gracious and He allowed us the strength to make it through.

We continued our series on the love chapter of I Corinthians 13 and we finished off verse 4 and delved into vs. 5 and 6. There are 8 things Love is and 8 things Love is not according to the text:

Love is: patient, kind, rejoices in truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres, never fails.
Love is not: envious, boastful, prideful, rude, self-seeking, hold grudges, angry, delights in evil
This teaches us 4 things:
How to deal with others
How to deal with Life
How to deal with yourself
How to deal with God
Sunday we dealt with ourselves but therein lies the problem, many people don't know they are sick. They look fine, no symptoms, no cough, cold, aches or pain and yet they are dying everyday. What ails them is worse than hypertension, more invasive than cancer, has wiped out more generations than the Black plague or the Bird flu. It is called SELFISHNESS.

We are all infected. From the Pulpit to the Pew, from the Pastor to the parishioner, we all have this disease. Don't Believe me. Let's play a game! Go find a group photo somewhere that has you in it. The first time you looked at the picture, where did you look? Of course you looked at you, it's only natural right? Everyone else could look horrible in the picture but if you look good, smile right, hair perfect, you call it a good picture, even if everyone else looks a hot mess. You are infected.

Selfishness is an obsession with self that excludes others hurting everyone in the process, a divisive arrogance. It exists in the church and reigned at the Church of Corinth. They had the toddler laws which I call the church laws as they both fit:

If I like it, it's mine
If I can take it away from you, it's mine
If I had it a while ago, it's mine
If I say it is mine, it's mine
If it looks like mine, it's mine
If I say I saw it first, it's mine
If you are having fun with it, it's mine
If you lay it down, it's mine
If it is broken, IT'S YOURS

There is a cure for selfishness. It's found in the Bible. Forgive me as I was having a Warren Wiersbe moment and John Phillips' outline was wonderful so "I milk a lot of cows but I churn my own butter", this ain't mine but it was mine Sunday. We need a "B-6 Shot. B-6 is vitamin needed to maintain healthy living for the body. It does many things such as regulate your glucose(sugar) and it makes hemoglobin to carry oxygen to your tissues.

However one of its most important features is it aids the immune system to fight off infections. Whatever is in the body that does not belong, the white blood cells rush to fight off the infection and restore the body back to good health. Our Churches, our communities our culture needs a B-6 shot. Here is what the shot consists of:

Don't Be Envious- True love is not jealous over the abilities or possessions of others, love is pleased when someone else is doing well.
Don't Be Egotistical- It's Not About You, Love does not need to brag and start a parade in its honor. It does not have to draw attention to itself. It is not arrogant or proud.
Don't Be Eccentric- Love knows how to behave, this is love in action. It is not rude. Love controls the emotions, it is not friendly one day and rude the next.
Don't Be Exacting- Love is not selfish(seeking not her own) or self-centered. It never looks at itself first.
Don't Be Enraged-True Love does not keep record of evils done to it, and it only responds in anger to that which angers God which means everything else is handled in forgiveness.
Don't Be Evil-Minded-(thinketh no evil)Literally it means "TAKES NO WORTHLESS INVENTORY". Love does not believe all it hears about another nor does it look for fault in others. Loves does not gossip or rejoice when a believer falls but it rejoices when truth wins out.

As with all medicine, it is great in the bottle but it is better in the body, I said way too much, my apologies, time to run and study some more,


Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Church's Love Life

I pray that God was glorified, Jesus was magnified and the people of God left edified from church services on yesterday. The Lord has lead me to preach out of I Corinthians 13 for the month of February. After diving into this, it may take longer than a month but I am excited about this journey. God blessed us Sunday to talk about The Church's Love Life.

Forgive the title as it can make people go places I don't need for them to go but when I looked at this love chapter, I realized that in context it is part of a greater speech that included chapters 12-14 concerning the manipulation, misapplication and the exploitation of spiritual gifts in the Church at Corinth.

Different gifts, Same Spirit, Different parts, One Body! Paul urges them to desire the GREATER GIFTS and he shows them the more excellent way. He urges them in I Cor. 14:1 to "Let Love be your Highest Goal(NLT). He pleads with them to "seek those abilities the Spirit gives that will strengthen the whole church". LOVE IS THE GREATEST GIFT.

So, How is your love life? What does your church look like? What is it known for? When people mention your church, what compliments do you receive? Do they talk about your singing? Giving? Sacrifices? Prophetic Nature? Paul says you can do all of that but if you don't have Love, it's all worthless.

The Sensational, Spectacular and the Sacrificial are all meaningless without Love. Your speech, no matter how you say it, nor how accurate it may be without love is just noise. Oratory can move a person's emotions, rhetoric can move a person's mind, a speech can move a person's will but only love can move a person's heart to Jesus.

For the series my outline is the Portrait, Priority, Particulars, and the Permanence of God's love, and God is asking the Church for our Participation Through Propagation. We participate through our Actions, our Attitude and our Affection. Sunday, I didn't get past patient and kind.

Patience=what I take in, that's my SUFFERING
Kindness=what I give out, that's my SYMPATHY
I couldn't give or take if it wasn't for my SAVIOR, and that's my focus.

I typed too much as usual so I leave with what Max Lucado said in his book "A Love Worth Giving", although Vine says that patience is "Long, Tempered" meaning endurance under provocation, when you put the Greek words into a picture it can describe a pot of water sitting on the stove. It's on the burner and the burner is on but patience is keeping the flame down so the pot doesn't boil over, Patience is keeping the burner down.

I may get warm and sometimes I may even get hot but patience stops me from boiling over. I lost in right there Sunday and as I type it and think about it again, I am ready to lose it one more time so,

Time to go run and study some more,