Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Discussion about Music

We have been discussing music at our Vacation Bible School 2009 at Macedonia this week. This video was sent to me and will serve as a discussion point tomorrow for class. For Macedonia purposes and for people who do not know my philosophy on issues like this, I am striving to be an Acts 5 preacher: Let them Alone, If the plan is of man, it will fail, if it is of God, it will succeed because you won't be able to over throw it, so either way Let it alone and leave it to God. I look forward to our discussion.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Could We Have Some Time Together?

I went bowling this week and God spoke to me in a bowling alley. Amazing! I learned something in bowling alley from a fellow pastor. He told me that every couple of weeks this bowling alley removed all of their bowling pins from rotation and put them on the shelf replacing them with another full set of bowling pins from storage.

I didn't believe him. It made no sense to me. It seemed logical to me that the pins are made to be knocked down, run into, mashed together, collected up and reset for the process to begin all over again. If the pin is not broken, why replace it? If it is scratched, throw some paint on it but as long as it can take the punishment, keep it in play.

What I did not know was my friend is a bi-vocational pastor and he works on the maintenance team for this bowling alley. He said this particular alley used wooden pins and wooden pins need rest. I laughed even harder as the level of non-sense he was talking about was becoming too much for me. Wooden pins are inanimate objects. They don't need rest, they aren't real.

He looked at me and said "Obviously you are not a bowler? Obviously?!!! He said all of the knocking around, the flipping over takes a hardship on the pins and they lose what every bowler looks for in a good bowling alley, "Action or Alive pins". They lose their ability to bounce around or be as alive as they should be which can make the difference between a Strike or a "ten pin still standing because the messenger didn't come to take it out"??

This bowling alley learned if you took the pins out of rotation and gave them some rest, they come back stronger than ever, alive and full of action. They need rest and it costs less to rest them then to keep buying new pins. I heard the Lord at that moment. The owner of the bowling alley, in order to preserve the life of the pins has scheduled rest for the pins so they could continue to take the abuse that they had to endure while on that particular lane.

I am not sure what lane you are on, you might be on the kiddie lane where everything is light, gentle and you barely get knocked over but you might be on the professional lane where the ball is coming at you from high speeds with hooks, curves and intent to remove everything in its way. GOD, your owner has programmed rest for you so you can take the abuse assigned to you on that lane.

Life has bowled us over, trials have knocked us down, situations have run through us, some days we are a battered mess lying on the sides of the gutter with no ability to pick ourselves up only to be collected by the machine of life that won't stop. Life repositions us for the process just to begin over and over, again and again, time after time. Is there any relief from this? Does the ride ever stop and allow us to exit.

In order to "restore your soul", God has to "Make me lie down in green pastures". Even better than that, God programmed a day for you to rest once a week. A day to remind you of who HE is, what HE has for you and what HE wants to accomplish in your life. "Remember the Sabbath Day and Keep it Holy", is God"s personal invitation where HE says to all of us, "Could We Have Some Time Together"?

Funny where God speaks sometimes, but thank God HE does speak!!!


Monday, July 20, 2009

We Made It

John P. Kee has a song entitled "We Made It" The song says, We made it through hard trials We made it through the pain Often criticized, we never gave up Lied on, we remain strong My life is in God's hand. Many tired, along the way Had no vision, desire to stay Felt it would crumble if they were gone We kept praying, we stood strong My life is in God's hand. He upholdeth me He holds me up He upholdeth me With His right hand Yes, yes, yes With His right hand My life is in God's hand.

We just finished hosting The 88th Session of The Original Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana, Incorporated and I am so proud of the Macedonia Church family. We are not a big church or a church blessed with an abundance of money but God gave us favor.

I need to thank many people who made our hosting possible. 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 let me say thank you to a lot of nice people in this town.

Thank you to my South Bend Pastor, Pastor K.D. Witherspoon for his knowledge and assistance for helping South Bend put our best foot forward. Without him and BBC, this would not have been a success

Thank you to Angelia Forrest and the entire office staff: During stressful times, the office deals with the brunt of the pastor's moods. I certainly was barking loudly but I am grateful that the staff knows I don't bite. Bless you!

Thank you to our state youth director Martha J. Bowlds: Your knowledge of convention work and your love for me made everything work greatly. Every Pastor needs a "sweet meanie".

Thank you to Ida and Jerry Malone and the entire kitchen committee for serving food the entire week. Bless you for your patience and dedication.

Thank you to All the Pastors of South Bend whose support and physical presence made a lasting impression to our convention, with special thanks to my South Bend seminary professor Pastor Andre A. McGhee who is part of another convention but still came to help his brothers out. Also, a special shout out to Dr. Erskine A. Jones, Pastor of Sweet Home Ministries Church for preaching our late night service and completely killed the house.

Thank you to our Greeters Ministry: who served as guides, hospitality agents, bathroom directors etc. bless you for being kind.

Thank you to the greatest choir ministry and one of the most gifted minister of music musicians in the land Jovan Lewis: for singing every night for 6 straight nights bringing us into an atmosphere of worship.

Once again let me thank the entire Macedonia church for all of the teamwork of cleaning, painting, polishing elbow grease and grunt work it took to pull this off.

Due to the influence of Pastor Witherspoon, I was blessed to receive a position that will require a lot of prayer. I was honored to become the President of the State Congress of Christian Education of The Original General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana, INC.

Please pray for us as we step out in faith. Haters are everywhere! Admittedly, I have only been pastoring 15 months here in South Bend so to walk into this position is nothing but the favor of God and the generosity of kind Pastors. I don't want to embarrass MY God, my church or my preaching brethren but I firmly believe that Christian Education in our churches is the key to transforming them into what God actually intended for them to be.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fear Not

I am scared. I understand that is not the nature of God because "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind", and with that said, I am still scared. I am quoting the Word of God to calm my spirit, "Greater is He that is in me"......., "I can do all things through Christ"......, God is our refuge and strength"............, and yet I still remain scared.

I have the honor and privilege of hosting The 88th Session of The Original General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana Inc., here at Macedonia and therein lies the source of my terror. I am scared. What if we fail? What if we don't have enough? We are not a large church like other sister convention churches, maybe we can't do it, our town isn't as large or great as Gary or Indianapolis, maybe we should just be part of the state but not host the state. We can't do it like other cities do it so maybe we shouldn't even try.

I have been around convention work my entire life from a young man, associate minister, assistant Pastor and now as a Pastor/Teacher. I understand the demands, the pressures, the attitudes and arguments that can happen when a church hosts a convention. I have been around the ministers who publicly praise you but privately won't to see you fail. I am scared.

It is this feeling that over took me last night in my bedroom. There is no worse feeling in the world then being in the bed you bought on the mattress you picked out with comfortable sheets that you discerned would be perfect for sleeping and you can't go to sleep. I would rather someone take a hammer and hit me upside my head than to lie in agony waiting for sleep to come but never arrives because your brain won't shut off.

Henry David Thoreau said ,"Nothing is so much to be feared as fear". Fear is that internal warning cry that signals danger is nearby and we better do something quick. It is so unpleasant of a feeling, it motivates us to take action and remove ourselves from whatever is threatening us. Flee or fight, hide or hunker down, trust or throw in the towel, watch God or watch your enemies.

John Ortberg in his book, "If you want to walk on water you've got to Get Out of The Boat", says Fear that ceases to be sporadic and becomes habitual moves to a category of worry and Ortberg says, "Worry is a special form of fear; Worry is fear that has unpacked its bags and signed a long-term lease. Worry never moves out on its own, it has to be kicked out".

If fear and worry has to be kicked out, how do I kick it out? I am not strong enough! My foot isn't large enough! My words aren't powerful enough! Thanks be to God He already took care of it for me! Lloyd John Ogilvie says in his treatment on the subject that the most common command in Scripture is God's way of taking care of it.

The most common command is not to be more loving although God wants us to be. God wants us to walk with integrity, holiness and humility but even those virtues are not the most frequent imperative found in the Bible. Ogilvie says, "The greatest command in Scripture that occurs more often than any other is formulated in two words: FEAR NOT.

There are 366 "fear not verses in the Bible--one for every day of the year including leap year. Last night instead of a hammer to the head or a late night hoagie to the lips or a sip of hennessy to the liver ( I realize that no one eats late at night or drinks anything other than water, I was just on a H kick, please forgive the references,) God gave me a fear not and I went to sleep. I look forward to the convention because God has got it all in His control.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Christian Declaration of Independence

I am free from failure for "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." Phil.4:13

I am free from want for "my God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" Phil:4:19

I am free from fear for "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2Tim1:7

I am free from doubt for "God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Rom. 12:3

I am free from weakness, "the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Ps.27:1

I am free from the power of Satan "because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." 1Jn.4:4

I am free from defeat "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ." 2Cor.2:14

I am free from ignorance, "for Christ Jesus is made unto me wisdom from God." 1Cor.1:30

I am free from sin "for the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all sin." 1Jn.1:7

I am free from worry "for I am to cast my cares upon Him." 1Pet.5:7

I am free from bondage "for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2Cor.3:17

I am free from condemnation, "for there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death". Roman 8:1-2

I was supposed to close using this but the Lord led me another way, maybe it can bless someone else.