Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Christmas, Who Will Take the Son???

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art." The young man held out this package. "I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this."

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift."The father hung the portrait over his mantle.

Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?"There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one."But the auctioneer persisted. "Will somebody bid for this painting. Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?"Another voice angrily. "We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!"

But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?"Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. "I’ll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford."We have $10, who will bid $20?""Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.""$10 is the bid, won’t someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!"A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let’s get on with the collection!"The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I’m sorry, the auction is over.""What about the paintings?"I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!"

In all of your getting, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Don't Forget to take the Son. The man who gets the son gets everything.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rev Benjamin Holmes Obituary

Holmes, Pastor Benjamin On December 21, 1930, Pastor Benjamin Holmes was born in Leslie, Georgia to Lynwood Holmes and Victoria Smith Holmes, Sr. Leaving a lasting legacy, he made his Heaven-bound transition on Monday, November 22, 2010. In addition to his parents, five brothers and a granddaughter preceded him in death. He was a respectable, gentle boy and the ninth of ten children. At an early age, Pastor Holmes accepted Christ as his personal savior and never let go. He was a faithful member of Shady Grove MBC in Leslie, Georgia and of Pilgrim MBC in Gary. In 1953, Pastor Holmes married the love of his life, Leatra Purnell Holmes.

To this union, they were blessed with six beautiful children: Yvonne (Rev. Willie) Nichols, Evelyn, Ben Jr., Jeanette (Council) Jones, Antoinette (*Thomas) Gaines, and Melissa. Pastor Holmes was the organizer and pastor of the New Friendship MBC for 53 years! He was employed at the Combustion Engineer Corp., US Steel Mill, the Gary Community School Corporation, and the chaplain for the Gary Steelheads. Pastor Holmes graduated from A.S Stanley High School in Americus, GA. He then attended Fort Valley State College. He received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from the Theological Institute in Houston, Texas; an associate Degree from Calumet CoIlege and a BA in Religious Studies and Pastoral Psychology.

Pastor has mentored and ordained numerous licensed ministers. Multitudes looked to him for direction, encouragemet and mentorship. Pastor Holmes has been awarded innumerable awards for commendations: Tolle-Mann Community Service Award; 2009 Outstanding Pastor of the Year, Midwestern Baptist Laymen Fellowship, Honorary Attorney General for the State of Indiana, Awarded Pastor Of the year by GMOR Theological Seminary, officially certified by the Sunday School Publishing Board in Nashville, TN., distinguished Leader Awards from God's First Ministry, and Instructor for District and State Conventions.

Cherished forever, Precious memories of Pastor Holmes' dedicated life will be shared by his loving, devoted, "easy on the eye" wife of 57 years and best friend, Lady Leatra Holmes; six children, seven grandchildren: LaKisha, Terrance (Tamika), Tarriesha (Rev. Royce Sr.), Antoine, James, Anthony, and Damion II, eight great grandchildren, four sisters: Lucille Franklin, Eleanor Mays, Izora Frank, and Gennie Williams, the entire body of the New Friendship MBC Family, and a host of many nieces, nephews, cousins, fellow yoke men, other relatives and friends. "Well done thy good and faithful servant", you will be greatly missed!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

It has been two years since the entire family has been back at mommas house for Thanksgiving. The past two years my brother and me have been celebrating Thanksgiving in Canfield, Ohio at his house with the girls doing the "Man's Thanksgiving. We would always have a good time and the girls loved it with many of our "non traditional foods" along with the classics.

However, it has just taken a couple of minutes to realize how wonderful it is to be back home. Eating out of the pot, food everywhere, starting fights, mom already ready to get the belt, my aunt's undying passion for the Dallas Cowboys, plus, I forgot how much family I have. Good Lord, this many people in here, I need an offering plate!

The Lord has blessed my mother, Angeline Owens to see 75 years. Today is her birthday. Although we have tried to cook and introduce our man food into this tradition, we quickly were reminded, THIS IS HER HOUSE. She is an amazing woman and I thank God for her everyday. I wouldn't be the man, Pastor or even father I am if it was not for her.

The weather just became normal as when I first arrived, it was in the 80's and 70's but I left South Bend in the 30's so I needed it to cool off. I have become a Northerner. I need it cool in November.

I plan on thinking about the goodness of Jesus, thanking God for all He has done, spoiling my girls, picking fights and gobble till I wobble.

No running, call a medic, MAN DOWN


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thou Shalt Not FaceBook

New Jersey pastor orders church to get off Facebook because too many couples are using it to cheat

A Christian pastor in New Jersey is commanding his church leadership to get off Facebook because he says too many congregants are using the social tool to cheat on their spouses. The Rev. Cedric Miller, at Living World Christian Fellowship in Neptune, N.J., has issued an ultimatum to roughly 50 married church officials: delete your Facebook accounts or resign.

Miller said that over the past six months, some 20 couples at his church have sought his counseling for infidelity problems because either the husband or wife had reconnected with an old flame on Facebook or were using the site as an online singles bar to pick up men and women.
"I've been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half," Miller said. "What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations, and there have been physical meetups. The temptation is just too great."

The pastor, 48, plans to preach about the subject on Sunday, but concedes that, while the associate pastors, deacons, minister and other leaders must follow his orders, he can’t tell the congregation what to do. Miller had asked married church members to share their passwords with one another, but that solution didn’t seem to be working.

"The average citizen is going to see my action as controlling, not that I care about that," Miller told the Asbury Park Press. "I'm not concerned with being politically correct. I'm trying to save families and marriages."
Miller, a married father of six, has a Facebook account, but said he will deactivate it this weekend.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We've Come This Far By Faith

The story is told of an old farmer who had a strawberry farm. He was on his knees pulling out weeds when he noticed there were runners on the berry plants. From each original or mother plant a number of slender shoots like arms reached out in all directions.

They were thin, green stalks creeping along the ground and after reaching out about six inches, the end developed roots and they penetrated in the ground and began to grow upward being nourished by the mother plant to help bear more berries.

Then the new plant began putting out runners and after growth of about six inches, it penetrated into the ground and started a new plant. The berry plants were multiplying…bringing forth more fruit. This is what God wants us to do—become effective responsible reproducing Christians. He wants us to be productive—reaching in all directions bearing fruit for Him.

We celebrated our 85th church anniversary and we thank God for allowing Macedonia to make it this far. Special thanks to Pastor Paxton Reed of the Northlake Community Church of Huntersville, North Carolina for preaching a powerful sermon "The Power of Weakness" from Judges 6. Also, special thanks to everyone who volunteered their time, skills and services to make this event possible.

To all the kitchen workers and servers, no one knows the headache and heartache that it entails feeding church people but we made it. May God give you back everything you expended.

Someone might ask, "How did you make it 85 years"? We are the fruit of Pentecost, the plant kept putting runners. Paul and Barnabas, then Paul and Silas, Paul's second Missionary Journey produced new runners, In Macedonia, in Ephesus, In Berea, In Philippi, In Thessalonica, but the Church is still running.

We ran until in 1925 The "Gospel Light Mission Was Formed which was the birth of Macedonia. The plant kept putting out runners from Pastor Young, to Pastor Alexander, from Pastor Lemon to Pastor Childress, We kept on running.

From Pastor Trotter to Pastor Johnson, from Pastor Matthews to Pastor Jackson, We have kept on running. Buildings changed and locations were moved but the Macedonia Church never stood still. God used Pastor F.D. Johnson to create more runners, one of his thin stalks turned into Macedonia's next Pastor in the person of Pastor Pettus and the church kept moving.

The church kept running under Pastor Williams and by the grace of God, Macedonia is still running. Albert Goodson said it better than I can so I leave you with the words our forefathers used to sing before we got the praise teams and projectors:

We've Come this far by Faith , Leaning on the Lord
Trusting in his holy Word, He's never failed me yet
Oh-------------Can't Turn Around
We've Come this Far by Faith

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snails, Sloths, Turtles and Tortoises, Learning how to Wait

"It was perseverance that got the snails to the ark".

Charles Spurgeon

How do you get something to move that by nature doesn't want to move? How do you deal with anything that goes slower than you want it to? Are you patient? Do you wait it out? Do you bide your time?

The amazing challenge I am learning about ministry within the church is everyone does not move at the same pace. Let me be clear that all is well, everything is fine and I have no complaints. I am not talking about anyone, I am just talking about what I am talking about. We have some rabbits, cheetahs, gazelles and even some greyhounds in all of our ministries. Fast thinkers, fast reactors, not prone to sitting still and if you aren't careful, will get ahead of you.

I must admit a character flaw in me. I don't mind fast people as I myself have been known to engage in some speeding moments. In ministry, how do you deal with the slow ones. Just like in all ministries, we have people who go too fast, we also have those you go slow, or move so slowly, you can't even tell they are moving at all.

For every rabbit there is a tortoise, for every cheetah there is a sloth and for every leopard there is a snail. Since we don't get to pick and choose who or even how we minister to the people we are called to, How do you deal with the ones that move slower than you would like? It is clear they are moving, it's just not as fast as you would like.

An old book I am re-reading which seems like I am reading it for the first time is Charles Swindoll's book in "Three Steps Forward Two Steps Back: Persevering Through Pressure" and it is blessing my life. We grow and we learn not when things come our way instantly but when we are forced to wait. There is a benefit to snails, THEY TEMPER US! There is a benefit to sloths, THEY SEASON US! There is a benefit to the tortoise, THEY MELLOW AND MATURE US!

J.B. Phillips has a great paraphrase on James 1:2-4. I have always looked at in from a trials view and not from a waiting and developing view that will teach endurance but it says:

"when all kinds of trials and tribulations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Extra Strength

I hope and pray that everyone had a blessed time in church on yesterday where you received a Word from God that helped glorify and edify God for the living out of these days here on earth.

Church was great, I feel like I could have done better (I always feel like that anyway but today more than normal). I have been studying getting reading to preach on the armor of God, I have been blowing past and running every red light God gave me on, last night I stopped at the light. VS. 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

It hit me last night through a personal attack I was encountering. It doesn't matter what you have ON YOU, if you don't have the right thing IN YOU. VS 10 is God putting in us what we need so we can know in 11-17 how to use what we have on us. We talked about today, The Source of our Strength, The Scope of Our Strength, The Security of our Strength. The source is IN THE LORD, The scope is His power which is the same power in us that was used to raise Christ from the dead (Kratos) and the Security is found in his Might.

I think I sucked today but at the end of the presentation if God is pleased, then that's all that matters. I do feel I connected with some people like me who needed some "EXTRA STRENGTH". How about you? Have you ever had a day where you needed a little extra kick? Push? Boost? Have you ever had a day where it seemed as if you were a step short, slower than normal and you needed some "EXTRA". Paul knew that day was coming so he reminds us what God did for us.

I want to draw your attention to the word "strong" in Ephesians 6:10. It is the Greek word endunamao, a compound of the words en and dunamis. The word en means in. The word dunamis means explosive strength, ability, and power. It's where we get the word dynamite.
Thus, this word endunamao presents the picture of an explosive power that is being deposited into some type of container, vessel, or other form of receptacle. The very nature of this word endunamao means that there necessarily must be some type of receiver for this power to be deposited into.

This is where we come into the picture! We are specially designed by God to be the receptacles of divine power. When Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord, he is essentially saying, "Receive a supernatural, strengthening, internal deposit of power into your inner man." God is the Giver, and we are the receptacles into which this power is to be deposited.

Paul knew you and I would desperately need supernatural power in order to successfully combat the attacks the enemy would bring against us. That's why he urges us to open our spirits, souls, and bodies to God so we can receive this supernatural strength.

Ephesians 6:10 could be translated to mean:
"... Be infused with supernatural strength and ability...."
"... Be empowered with this special touch of God's strength...."
"... Receive this inner strengthening...."

God wants you and me to have this supernatural strength and ability! We are the special receptacles or containers He created to possess this phenomenal power.

God gives us EXTRA STRENGTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Let it Snow, God Help Me!!!!!!!!!!

It is November 5th and it is snowing in South Bend. This was not unexpected, this is normal. I do live within the snow band that comes off of Lake Michigan. I realize that this summer was much hotter than South Bend is used to causing the temperature of Lake Michigan to be warmer than normal; thereby causing a greater potential for a heavy precipitation winter.

I even felt the snow coming on Tuesday when all the clouds gathered in and the sun went away like winter does here in South Bend. With that said, I still want to lead a mass prayer vigil to ask all South Bend residents to fall on their knees and repent of their sins so that God may turn his anger and send the snow to Cleveland.

Cleveland showed their unrepentant and flaky nature by turning on Lebron, so send the snow to Cleveland. In fact, Lord send the snow to Canfield, Ohio where my brother lives. He loves snow Lord. He has a snow blower and loves to pull it out and compete with his neighbors to see who can clear their driveway faster, Send it to Canfield.

Lord, if you choose not to send the snow away, then help me deal with it and Lord, help all my prayers to be like this one, if I can not have my way, then help me learn that your way is better. so if that's the case, LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW

God Help Me


Monday, November 1, 2010

Please Tell Your Face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love Southwest Airlines! I love the Boeing 737 series of planes that they use; I love the friendly, funny and sometime talented flight crews that serve us as well and I love the overall flying experience. Because of my experience, I have developed a SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FACE.

Southwest does not use assigned seating but rather it is open seating called up by the letter A and the number 1 up to 60 in numerical order and B and C following. A typical 737-300 or 500 series plane can hold 137 passengers. I make it a point to ask before I board whether or not the flight is full or not because that will determine what my face will look like, my SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FACE.

A 737-300 or 500 series place has ABC, DEF seating which causes in an open seating arena for people to grab the aisle seat or the window seat, leaving the middle seat open. If I know the flight is not full, I want a seat to myself; therefore I use MY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FACE. I don't want anyone seating next to me so my face shows it. I wouldn't say it is a mean face but it certainly isn't nice. As my church reminds me all the time, I am a very handsome, charming man; however, if I am tired, irritated, or something is on my mind, I can look MEAN AS HELL,( church members words). Imagine what I can look like if I TRIED to look mean.

If the flight is full, I have a different tactic. Since all the seats are going to be taken anyway, it is useless to try and scare someone away because someone has to sit by me; therefore, I put on my other SOUTHWEST AIRLINE FACE. I am charming, smiling, engaging, dang near flirting (my church members who read this are nodding their heads). I choose who I want to seat by me by trying in my facial expression to invite them to take a seat. After all, if I have to be couped up in this plane sitting next to someone, I would rather it be next to someone who is pleasant to be around.

We do the same things in churches today. We bring our FACE to church. Either it is our "don't mess with, Don't bother me, Don't sit here, why are you here face, or its our, We are glad you are here, won't you have a seat, Is there anything I can do for you face. Many visitors have already made their assessment about our churches by the way they are received by the people, especially our faces.

You can say you love the Lord all you want to, "We are a friendly church" and all of that but if your face doesn't show it, they won"t believe it. Some members have left churches where they loved the singing, were fed by the Word and enjoy the Pastor but they can't stand the "FACES".

God told Jeremiah in 1:8 not to be afraid of their faces because sometime people can scare you. I wish sometimes people could see how they look in church; distressed, sitting on a tack or pin, sucking on lemons or a sour patch jolly rancher and we wonder why people don't want to come to our church. Look at your face.

In BTU(another discussion, another day), it wasn't Biblical, there is no chapter and verse, no Greek or Hebrew interpretation, but they sang "
If your happy and you know it,
then your face will surely show it,
if your happy and you know it
Say Amen.