Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Raven

Where has the time gone? You are six years old but to me you were just born yesterday. You just refuse to remain a baby. Taller, bigger and more beautiful than ever. I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Daddy loves you baby girl.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deacon Ordination Sunday

The Lord allowed the Macedonia church family to witness history as we ordained eight men for the service of Deacon on Sunday. It had been 32 years since Macedonia witnessed an ordination service for deacons, and the wait has been even longer for an ordination service held at our church.
Our church is a great church but like all churches, it is full of people striving to be better but have not yet arrived. We had some deacons who had been ordained the "old-school way: public counsel in front of the church and others who had been appointed deacons, no ordination ceremony. It caused for some division where some church members saw some deacons as "real" deacons and others as "pretend" deacons.
The Lord put it my heart to bridge this gap and after three years, He gave me the opportunity to do so. When we first arrived at Macedonia, we began a DDT Class(Deacon Development Training). Like DDT, I impressed on these men, either you could be used to clear space, make room and achieve progress, or you could exhibit the negative consequences of DDT and explode, cause death and destruction and be a walking time bomb for our church.
We studied the qualities a deacon should have in Acts 6:3 and I Timothy 3. We instituted visitation for the sick and shut-in, hospital and bereavement visitation as well as Lord"s Supper Distribution for the sick and elderly. We engaged the men to do more in worship besides devotion; entrusting them with the responsibility of worship leaders with a servant mentality.
We presented eight(8) candidates for the office of deacon and we are proud to say, Seven(7) received a full recommendation to exercise the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a deacon and one received a probationary recommendation pending further review and examination.
I am proud of these men and I thank God for giving me the chance to work with such a fine group of servants who put God first, support their Pastor and will work for the betterment of Macedonia. These men are:
Deacon Christopher Dudley
Deacon Kevin Howard Sr.
Deacon Jerry Malone
Deacon Perry Patton
Deacon Frederick Prince
Deacon Luther Taylor SR.
Deacon John Williams
Deacon Jerry Willis SR.
Special Thanks to our Four Horseman (our senior deacons) Deacon Calvin Manns, Deacon Roosevelt Starling, Deacon Henry Turner and Deacon Levi Trotter for all of their work that has laid the foundation for these men. Also, special thanks to our Moderator and Preacher for this occasion, Dr. Keith D. Witherspoon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So you want to be a Deacon

Deacons in the early churches of the New Testament period were selected on the basis of these Christian qualifications:

a. SERIOUS PURPOSE — "Likewise must the deacons be grave." (KJV/3:8) or, "Deacons, too, must be serious." (Williams/3:8) Semnos (grave) comes from the root word meaning "to reverence" or "to worship." Persons in the presence of a deacon should feel reverence for spiritual matters.

b. HONEST IN SPEECH — "Not double-tongued" (KJV/3:8) or, "sincere in their talk" (Williams/3:8) "Double-tongued" means saying one thing to
one person and something else to another. A deacon should thus be in
control of their tongue. They should not deceive anyone. They should
speak out for righteous causes. They also have the responsibility for being
slow to speak angrily. Their word must be honest. Gossip, tale bearing,
idle talking, or slander are not a part of a deacon's nature.

c. TEMPERATE IN LIVING - "Not given to much wine" (KJV 3:8) or, "not addicted to strong drink." (Williams/3:8) The deacon should be free
from any intemperance that would injure him and the family and
make ineffective his Christian witness in a non-Christian world
devoted to a variety of willful excesses in personal living.

d. STEWARD OF POSSESSIONS - "Not greedy of filthy lucre" (KJV/3:8) or, "not addicted to dishonest gain." (Williams/3:8) While deacons believe that material possessions are not evil or filthy, They are not
controlled by a greedy obsession to obtain all the material possessions
they can. They will have a caring concern for the needs of others;
and they will desire to share material possessions with others.

e. SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY - "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure
conscience." (KJV/3:9) or, "they must continue to hold the open
secret of faith with a clear conscience." (Williams/3:9) This means
deacons should believe sound doctrine, and should hold firm to their
convictions. Their spiritual integrity is above reproach.

f. PROVED SPIRITUAL MATURITY - "Let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless."
(KJV/3:10) or, "They too should first be tested till approved, and then,
if they are found above reproach they should serve as deacons."
(Williams/3:10) This means that they should demonstrate these
spiritual qualifications before being elected. Their daily attitudes,
speech, and conduct should be observed for an appropriate period by
fellow Christians. "Blameless" means that no one could level a charge
of wrong doing against them. Only after they have thus been tested
and proved true should they be elected.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

100th Centennial Celebration Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church

Pastor Woodberry says it best when he says "Mount Olive has survived because she is a Bible-Believing church. The thing that sustains a church is not fads, fancy programming or novel ideas but the Word of God". From a frame building in "Rattlesnake Bottom" to a larger structure on fourth (4th) street to a newer more modern facility on Wisconsin to the place where I was born on twenty-seventh and Kelly to the present-day campus on forty-second and Kelly, God has been good to Mount Olive.
I had the honor of preaching at Mount Olive for the kick off of this great celebration. There always has to be a "sacrificial lamb" but I was glad to be back at my home church. Besides funerals or celebrating my Pastor's anniversary, I haven't been back since 2006 so it was a little overwhelming. (DANG THAT'S A LOT OF PEOPLE PACKED IN THAT CHURCH)
I was so proud of the Macedonia Church family who followed me to Oklahoma City. It did me well to look out in the sea of humanity and see my life-line in my church family. Mount Olive put on the big pot and the little pot. T-shirts, shopping, dinner and great church, it was a great learning lesson for our church.
I have always said one day I will make Pastor Woodberry and the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church proud to be able to call me a son. I am proud of my pastor and church but I haven't always been a good son but thank God, He gives us another chance. The parable of the Fig tree lived in Mount Olive on Sunday.
To Pastor Woodberry and the Mount Olive Church, Thank you for letting me come back and to Macedonia, Thank you for letting me come back home to 1862 N. Olive Street.
By the way, the best part of Sunday, WAS BAPTIZING MY GIRLS RAVEN AND LABRAIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

To Restore is to show Love

What Does It Look Like? It has hands to help others, feet to hasten to the poor and needy, eyes to see misery and want, ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.
I have been transformed! I have been changed by God through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on Calvary and by accepting Him as my Savior, I experienced TRANSFORMATION. I am now employed. I have a job and a ministry. God has called me to be a witness. I am God's official REPRESENTATION.

We are not known in the world because we carry a name tag, wear a cross around our neck or tote a large Bible but rather we are known through our actions.
John 13:34-35 (New Century Version)
34 "I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. 35 All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other."

It is easy to love people who are lovable. The Koala bear is so cute an cuddly and the newborn baby smells so wonderful, it is both addictive and appealing to love these types of people but can you love the porcupine personality or the person whose smell from the stink of sin makes it hard to embrace them. Can you love them?

What about the person who messes up? Falls short? Does the unthinkable? What is our response to that person? We should restore them, that is place in demonstration what God has done for us.

Katartizō (to restore) literally means to mend or repair and was sometimes used metaphorically of restoring harmony among quarreling factions in a dispute. It was also used of setting a broken bone or putting a dislocated limb back in place. That is the figure used by the writer of Hebrews in calling on believers to "strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed" (Heb. 12:12-13).

Spiritual believers restore a fallen believer first of all by helping him recognize his trespass as a trespass. Until a person admits his sin, he cannot be helped out of it. Once he has done that, he must be encouraged to confess his sin before God and turn away from it in repentance, sincerely seeking God's forgiveness.

Restoration of fallen brothers and sisters is always to be done in a spirit of gentleness, which is characteristic of those who walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). A Christian who is critical and judgmental as he attempts to help a fallen brother does not show the grace of Christ or help his brother, but instead stumbles himself.

After a church has exercised proper discipline, the members should "forgive and comfort" the one who has been disciplined, "lest somehow such a one be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow" (2 Cor. 2:7). He should not be regarded "as an enemy, but [admonished] as a brother" (2 Thess. 3:15).
From the caution each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted, it is clear that even spiritual believers can stumble. They are made of the same stuff as those who have fallen. Because the exhortation looking to yourself is so vital, Paul uses a strong word (skopeō, to observe or consider) in the present tense, which emphasized a continual, diligent attentiveness to their own purity. They, too, could be tempted and even fall into the same sin for which they disciplined a brother.

The attitude of every Christian should always be the attitude of Jesus. And when a believer needs to help discipline a fallen brother, he should ask for a special portion of Christ's love and gentleness. If the Father does not want even one of His own to be devastated (Matt. 18:14), and if "the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luke 9:56), how much less do His followers have the right to be destructive rather than helpful?

What does your love look like? What type of love does our church display?