Friday, December 23, 2011

USA TODAY article on Churches closing on Christmas

The article below comes from the USA TODAY, Friday, December 23rd, 2011 edition. It is interesting how much this topic has taken off.

The Macedonia MBC at 1862 N. Olive Street in South Bend, Indiana will be open regular hours on Christmas Day. Nothing is changing. Below is the article.

Because Christmas falls on Sunday this year, some churches are opting to close that day so that
families can spend the morning together at home. Among the nation's top 20 largest Protestant churches — as ranked by Outreach Magazine — three will be closed on Christmas, and 10 will be having only one service, The Tennessean reports., an Oklahoma-based megachurch with 14 locations in five states, says it will be closed on Christmas, but it plans to hold Christmas Eve services. In Atlanta, First Baptist Church will hold morning services on Christmas Eve but close on Sunday.

Life Research, based in Nashville, says its national survey of Protestant churches found that 91% would hold at least one service Christmas morning, while about 9% will not worship on Sunday at all. Some plan Christmas Eve services instead.

"Having church on Christmas Day when it falls on a Sunday seems as if it would be as much of a given as having Thanksgiving on a Thursday, but this has been an issue of discussion and contention in recent years," says Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. "Also, just because an overwhelming majority of pastors think that way doesn't mean those in their congregations necessarily share their perspective."

The survey found that Protestant pastors in the South are the least likely (62%) to host a Christmas Eve service compared to other regions. Pastors identifying themselves as Mainline(87%) are more likely to have a service on Christmas Eve compared to those identifying themselves as Evangelical (70%), Life Research found.

The Houston Chronicle reports that many pastors in that Texas city are consolidating services or even canceling them for Sunday. St. Martin's Episcopal Church, the largest Episcopal congregation in the country, anticipates just 500 to 600 people at its one service Sunday but
expects 6,000 at its five Christmas Eve services.

In Colorado, The Longmont Times Call reports that Vinelife Church is offering families devotion packets to have a "church experience" in their homes on Christmas, according to executive pastor Bob Young. Each packet includes a written message from the senior pastor, a CD of Christmas hymns and a suggestion for how to weave the spiritual side of Christmas throughout the day, Young tells the newspaper.

White Fields Community Church is holding a Christmas Eve service at 4 p.m., which senior pastor the Rev. Pete Nelson says appeals to the large number of young families with children in the 200-member congregation. "We feel very comfortable with giving the mantle of discipleship and ministry to the parents of the family," Nelson says. "It's not about a service. It's
about being a family that serves Christ."

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., the Rev. Brady Cooper of New Vision Baptist Church notes that it takes 150 volunteers to staff a single service at the megachurch, so he is opting to run five services on Christmas Eve instead, The Tennessean reports.

"Asking them to be there all day Christmas Eve and most of the day on Christmas is hard,"Cooper says. "Our staff is very thankful to have the chance to be home with their family."
The LifePoint church, one of three "campuses" in the country, including Smyrna, Tenn., will also be closed on Sunday.

In Nashville, however, Mt. Zion Baptist Church isn't planning any Christmas Eve services but will go all out instead on Christmas Day. "We are having a birthday party for Jesus," says Bishop Joseph Walker III, pastor of Mt. Zion, who hopes the services will take the focus off commercialism on that day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

We need Peacemakers

There has been continued feedback and fallout over the decision by the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church to vote against or ban interracial couples. People have asked, "Where was the Pastor", who by the way was against this idea but it was being led by a former Pastor of the Church.

The National Association of Free Will Baptists has been backpedaling as quick and as far away from this church as possible, "We are not a group of racist people". The question continues, "How did it happen"? Them the thought hit me! It hit me so hard, it scared me! It terrified me when I realized what happened at Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church could happen at Macedonia MBC.

I am not concerned about our church going that route but i was struck by the fact that 40 people, in estimate, were at the meeting but the vote was 9 to 6. That means only 15 people used their voice to speak out. 25 or so people stayed quiet. I became even more frightened because I realized THAT COULD HAPPEN AT MACEDONIA.

There are three types of church members. The ones who will stand for whats right, the ones who will stand for whats right for them even if its wrong by the Bible and the others who will watch everyone else stand while they do nothing. You know they tell you whenever a church mess or a church problem starts, My name is Bennett and I am not in it.

The ones that walk away when they see a fight happening, the ones that intentionally stay home when they sense any drama brewing, the ones that stick their heads in the "spiritual sand" and pray when they pull it out, it will be all worked out. the ones who are afraid to take a stand because it may go against family ties or may upset friends so they stay neutral and walk away.

Many people use the old Texas adage, "I don't have a dog in this fight"which means I don't have an interest in this matter. I don't care what y'all decide. Doesn't affect me, but in affect that is not true. In a church, what affects one affects us all.

In the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, A decision that affected the ENTIRE church was made by the MINORITY voice because the MAJORITY voice stayed quiet.

We need Peacemakers!

A peacemaker is a person who labors for the public good. Instead of fanning the fires of contention and strife, he uses his influence and wisdom to reconcile divided parties, adjust their differences, and restore them to a state of reconciliation and unity. The peacemaker is also one who, having received the peace of God in his own heart, brings peace to others. They have been reformed by the regenerating power of the Gospel. They are peacemakers because they themselves are at peace with God.

The peacemaker is not simply one who makes peace between two parties, but one who spreads the good news of the peace of God which he has experienced. As all men are represented to be in a state of hostility toward God and each other, the Gospel is called the Gospel of peace, because it tends to reconcile men to God and to one other. They have entered into the peace of Christ and thus are able ambassadors of God's message of peace to a troubled world. The peacemaker is concerned about peace between men and God. He strives to get men right with God.

God's blessing is on the peacemaker, not necessarily the one who is a lover of peace. The Lord is not speaking about people with a peaceful disposition or those who love peace. He is referring to those who actively intervene and get involved to make peace.

The blessing is not on the person who runs away from conflict, flees from drama or stays at home when things get messy but rather it is on the person who actively gets involves and who makes things better. Many people can get involved but they don't always make things better. A Peacemaker does!

I am praying for the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church but I am also praying for my church. While praying, I am praying for all of all churches. We need people who will be used by God to become peacemakers. Not to run away! Not to hide! Not to show up to the meeting and listen to the arguments but people who are willing to stand for right after the discussion is over.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kentucky Church bans interracial marriage

A small Kentucky church has chosen to ban marriages and even some worship services for interracial couples. The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, located in Pike County, made the vote in response to a longtime member who is engaged to a man whose birthplace is in Zimbabwe.
Other pastoral leaders in the area were quick to denounce the church's vote. "It's not the spirit of the community in any way, shape or form," Randy Johnson, president of the Pike County Ministerial Association, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The small congregation, which usually hosts about 40 members each Sunday, held the vote after longtime member Stella Harville, brought her fiancé Ticha Chikuni to church with her in June. The couple performed a song together at the church in which Chikuni sang "I Surrender All," while Harville played the piano.

Chikuni, 29, who works at Georgetown College, is black--and Harville, who was baptized at the church but is not an active member, is white. Dean Harville, Stella's father, said he was told by the church's former pastor Melvin Thompson that his daughter and her fiancé were not allowed to sing at the church again. However, Thompson recently stepped down and the church's new pastor, Stacy Stepp, said the couple was once again welcome to sing.

Stepp's decision prompted Thompson to put forth a recommendation saying that while all members are welcome at the church, it does not "condone" interracial marriage, and that any interracial couples would not be received as members or allowed to participate in worship services. The only exception? Funerals.

The Harville family has formally requested the congregation to reconsider the interracial ban, and Thompson has also said he would like to resolve the issue, the area CBS affiliate WYMT has reported.

A copy of the recommendation, obtained by WYMT, reads in part:
That the Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church does not condone interracial marriage. Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals. All are welcome to our public worship services. This recommendation is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.

Members of the church held a vote on Thompson's proposed language, with nine voting in favor and six voting against. The other members in attendance chose not to vote. Gawker notes that Pike County is 98 percent white and home to the infamous Hatfield-McCoy feud.

The Harville family doesn't see Gulnare's new policy promoting anything like unity or civil peace. "They're the people who are supposed to comfort me in times like these," Stella Harville said.

And Stella's father was much more forceful in his denunciation of the interracial ban. "It sure ain't Christian," Dean Harville said. "It ain't nothing but the old devil working."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Be careful what you Choose to Carry

I was getting ready for the snow that was predicted by the forecasters to come in to the South Bend area on yesterday. Anywhere from 4 to 8 inches, then 2 to 4, then a coating to 2 inches, Ultimately we received NOTHING. A line/curtain almost like a buffer protected South Bend where we received nothing but just 8 exits down from my home, in Elkhart, they received 10 inches. Amazing! I will talk about that later.

As I was getting ready for the snow THAT NEVER CAME, I reviewed my property. New Gloves for my son, new boots, pulled out the Dickie's, bought the rock salt for home and reviewed where the church stood on its supply. The Shovels, and I remembered.

Last year, during the first week of January we received a massive snow total of about 36 to 38 inches of snow that fell within a 24 hour period. The grace of God allowed it to come in waves so we dug out from the first 18 inches and made room for the next 18. The men of Macedonia on Saturday night came to the church to clean out the parking lot. armed with shovels, snow plows, bobcats and snow blowers, we started digging.

As I worked with the men, I encountered a reality I will never forget. WET SNOW IS HEAVY! 38 INCHES OF WET SNOW IS UNBEARABLE. IT WILL BREAK YOU.

I had the ability to lift the snow, that would be my own strength. I had the capacity to hold the snow, that would be the utensil I was using to hold it, but I did not have the power to bear the load of the snow, therefore, the shovel folded under the pressure or weight of the snow.

The Before and After shot I provided gives us today a great object lesson to view our own lives. many of us are trying to "LIFT OUR OWN SNOW"! We have discovered it is wet, it is heavy. We are naive so we ignore that this same "SNOW" has ripped down power lines, this same SNOW has destroyed branches and trees that have stood for years. So we lift it!

We use whatever device we have to lift it. The shovel, if you will, is how we pick it up. We use the shovel of "Family obligation", it's my job to do it, we use the "Work obligation", It has to be done so its my job to do it. We find whatever reason we have to in order to lift it. AND WE DO, WE LIFT IT.

Then it happens, We snap. We break, We fold, We give into the weight, the pressure, the amount, WE CAN"T TAKE IT ANYMORE! We had the strength to lift it and the capacity to hold it but we didn't possess the power to bear it, so WE LOST IT! Has this ever happened to you?

The day where you had enough, the day where you snapped, lost it, folded in. People thought you were crazy because they had no idea how much you were trying to bear. Sick of family, sick of church responsibilities, sick of bills, sick of the phone and then just one more ounce of snow on your shovel and you folded, bent in two, caved and crashed in.

For some of us we went off, Told people off, gave them a piece of our mind, said words we shouldn't have said, for others you turned your phone off, unplugged from the viral worlds of facebook and Twitter to jump in a bed not wanting to return, while others found clothes, food, alcohol, sinful relationships to handle their inability to carry the weight.

It is sad really. If I would have read the instructions on this shovel I would have known in advance what its load capacity was. Load capacity is a specified amount of weight per square foot that is allowed to be placed on a given building level or platform.

There are just some things God never meant for you to carry because IT IS TOO HEAVY FOR YOU. It will break you, it will fold you, it will make you cave in, it isn't within the guideline of you load capacity. Therefore God tells us this:

Psalms 55:22 (NIV) Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

I Peter 5:7 (BBE) Putting all your troubles on him, for he takes care of you

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Change the way you count

A minister's wife and worship leader used to lead the congregation in that old song, "Count Your Blessings." When the congregation got to the part where it would sing, "Count your blessings, name them one by one/Count your blessings, see what God hath done," she would say, "One is not enough. Let's count them by twos." The congregation would sing, "Count your blessings, name them two by two/Count your blessings, see what God can do." She would then go on, "Let's count them by threes."

The crowd would sing, "Count your blessings, name them three by three/Count your blessings, many more there'll be." You guessed it. She would take them on to fours, "Count your blessings, name them four by four/Count your blessings, there'll be many more." No telling what the song writer thought about that, but I think she had it right.

I think it is time to change how we think. God's blessings are too numerous to count by ones. He woke me up this morning, but that implies that he kept me safe last night, that implies I had shelter, which reminds me I had a place to stay, which means bills were paid, which means money was given to provide a way for me.

I made it to work this morning safely, which implies he gave me safety, he gave me transportation from point A to point B, when I turned the key the ignition started, the keys to the church hadn't been changed on me, no theft, robbery or fire befell the building where we worship.

Change how you think. One blessing ties to another and gives you pore pause and power to praise God.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Begging to Be a Blessing

On Sunday we kicked off our 2011 Advent Sermon Series, WE ARE GIVERS! Because the Lord has given unto us, we give to others out of the gift that we have received. We dealt with II Corinthians 8:1-9 although we only made it to verse 6 and entitled it Begging to Be a Blessing. It is our goal during this advent season to share more in this forum, the reason why we are givers, the requirements of a giver and the rewards of giving.

At our church we have a slogan that the Lord gave me from the first Sermon I preached at Macedonia from Acts 16, where I challenged the church by asking them "Do you Know who you are? The answer from that sermon formed our phrase, WE ARE MACEDONIA AND WE ARE CALLED TO HELP SOMEBODY. Many "city" theologians and "cross-town" pastors immediately took our church to task saying your Pastor has wrongly interpreted this Scripture. You are the place that needed help.

As I explained in teaching to the church, all of us have a beginning, a middle and an end. The Macedonia vision was the beginning, Paul sees a man, crying and calling for Paul to Come over and help us. This is the beginning but this is not the end of Macedonia. The churches birthed from Paul's obedience to the call from this Macedonia region become known as some of the greatest churches in the New Testament.

The Macedonians (mainly the churches from Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea) become our example of people who beg Paul and Titus to allow them the chance to be a blessing in someone else's life. They remind us it is impossible to be a Christian without being a giver. The apostle is about to cover the matter of raising funds for the Christians in the city of Jerusalem.

The Corinthians were not in the dark about this issue, so the apostle reminds them of his earlier instructions and gives them further details. This issue was not only addressed with Corinth, but also with the other churches in Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece. This concern was brought up with the churches in Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1) and Rome (Romans 15:25-26).

Why was Paul raising funds for the Jerusalem church? As the church continued to grow, it became overwhelmed by all the needs and was not able to keep up. Paul recognized the needs of the Jerusalem believers and determined to take up a collection for this church from the churches of Asia Minor and Europe. He also sought by raising these funds, to strengthen the spiritual bond between those largely Gentile congregations and the Jewish church in Jerusalem. The apostle knew that the love offering would serve to ease the suspicion, bitterness, and hostility with which Jews and Gentiles generally regarded each other.

The financial support would demonstrate the unity and oneness of Christians, the relationship we have as brothers and sisters in Christ, and that the Lord did break down the wall between Jews and Gentiles.

Paul needed the Corinthians to know how the Macedonian Christians were such a great blessing and how God's grace had transformed their lives. He used their example to challenge and be a model to the Corinthian church. He was trying to show this church at Corinth what God could do through them and how they could be a blessing to the Lord and others.

To ensure that one church doesn't get jealous of another church, Paul is quick to point out to the Corinthian church how the Macedonia church was able to do this giving. IT WAS GRACE. The riches of God's grace had been poured out on them, and then they in turn poured out what they had on others.

The grace of giving is what this section is all about. The word charis ("grace") occurs eight times in chapters 8-9. In fact, charis occurs five times in 8:1-9: in verse 1, "the grace," ten charin; verse 4, "the favor," ten charin; verse 6, "this act of grace," ten charin; verse 7, "this act of grace," ten chariti; and verse 9, "the grace," ten charin. Paul's teaching on giving is a sermon on grace from beginning to end.

Concerning the grace among the Macedonians, "We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part" (vv. 1, 2).

The Macedonian churches that Paul was using as an example had experienced severe difficulties, and yet they had given generously. They had not simply gone through "affliction"; they had experienced a "great trial of affliction" (2 Cor. 8:2). They were in deep poverty, which means "rock-bottom destitution." The word describes a beggar who has absolutely nothing and has no hope of getting anything.

But their circumstances did not hinder them from giving. In fact, they gave joyfully and liberally! No computer could analyze this amazing formula: great affliction and deep poverty plus grace = abundant joy and abounding liberality!

That was Heaven's stewardship program—the genesis of the grace of giving—and it is the pattern for us. Giving is a matter of grace from beginning to end. Christ gave himself for us. We receive his grace, and then we give ourselves to him and to others in his name. This response to grace includes giving what we have. That is how the Macedonians gave out of their poverty with great liberality. And that is how we give out of our affluence. It is the same.

First sermon out the chute, lots to cover, hopefully the blog this week will help me condense.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am Thankful

....the taxes I pay .... because it means I’m employed.

....the clothes that fit a little too snug ....because it means I have enough to eat. shadow who watches me work ....because it means I am out in the sunshine.

....a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and ....gutters that need fixing ....because it means I have a home.

....the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot ....because it means I am capable of walking. huge heating bill ....because it means I am warm.

....all the complaining I hear about our government ....because it means we have freedom of speech.

....the lady behind me in church who sings off key. ....because it means that I can hear.

....the piles of laundry and ironing ....because it means my loved ones are nearby.

....the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours ....because it means that I’m alive.

....weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day ....because it means I have been productive.

....Deacons with no vision and and no vitality....because it reminds me why I am a Pastor

....Church mothers who remind me constantly I need a wife....because it means someone is praying for my destiny

....Dressing, Sweet Potato Pie, Mac and Cheese, Ham Turkey and Brisket, Pound Cake and cookies....Because it must mean I am home.

The art of thanksliving. It is gratitude in action. Find a reason to be thankful

Thursday, November 10, 2011

86th Church Anniversary Celebration

The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church comes together to Praise God for His Providence, His Protection and His Provisions that have allowed our Church Family to make it 86 years. Through Wars, Depression, Racism, Poverty, Discrimination, even through the storm and the rain, somehow someway WE MADE IT.

Our Church has the unique honor of being able to reach back and celebrate its history by honoring its former Pastors that are still alive. Rev. Anthony R. Pettus Sr., Pastor of the Greater Progressive baptist Church in Ft. Wayne, Indiana will be our Sunday Morning Speaker.

Rev. Carlos D. Williams, Pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle Church Family from Flint, Michigan will be our 5:00pm speaker. Both of these men are former Pastors of the Macedonia Church and are great preachers in their own right.

We look forward to God blessing us as we celebrate Pastors and People who have by the Power of God helped produce this great place know as Macedonia

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Americans spend on Halloween

There are many differences serving in a large church versus a small church. Staff, workers, space are a few. One of the major differences is budget. A smaller church does not always have the same resources that the larger church does so it makes the local Pastor become more careful over dollars and the budget.

I was lamenting the fact that our "Harvest Feast" was taking place, celebrating with the kids and their parents that we would be offering a Christian alternative to the practices of the world but combing through the numbers to find the money to fund the activity.

As I was going through the planned activities of Hayrides, pumpkin patch mazes and rides, bowling and food on Saturday and skating, games and food on Monday, I realized I am close to the $500.00 range. I realize that is not a lot of money for most ministries but this is more than I had intended to spend per the budget.

As I was pairing down the wish lists of the youth workers to fit back within the numbers, I ran across this illustration from Preaching Today on Halloween and what Americans spends celebrating.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend the following for Halloween in 2011:

Total Halloween expenses—$6.9 billion (that's more than twice the amount Americans spent for Halloween in 2005)

Largest Halloween expense—$2.5 billion for costumes

Amount spent on candy—$2 billion

The research also shows that Halloween isn't just for kids anymore. In 2011 nearly 70 percent of adults plan to hold their own celebrations for Halloween.

Martha C. White, "Now That's Creepy: Americans Will Blow $7 Billion on Halloween," (9-29-11)

After reading this, I put my pen down, lifted my hands and thanked God that we had the resources to fund this activity and pray that we can make a difference in our section of the world, our parcel of ground to the glory of God and the betterment of our young people.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Make Me

"I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument." (Isa. 41:15.)

A BAR of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered, and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value.

The "making process" is painful. Drilling away at this, hammering away at that, the pounding and polishing, to what end God? Why must I go through this ? Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us, for His glory and the blessing of others.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dealing with Procrastination

Pastor Steven Furtick of the Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina blessed my soul today with his blog. I have a major problem with procrastination of my own dreams, goals, and ideas. I have a hard time chasing personal goals because I am always working on ministry goals, member goals, district, state or even local initiatives, I forget to chase mine. Very Simple Blog that kicked me to my knees and made me pray. I am sharing his words with you.

Two words can disqualify every dream you’ve ever had:
One day.

One day I’m going to start my own business.
One day I’m going to move overseas.
One day I’m going to live wholeheartedly for Christ.
One day I’m going to lose weight.
One day I’m going to make a difference.

If you’re not careful, one day becomes the next day, and the next day becomes the next day, and the next day becomes…

The best time to start a diet is tomorrow.
The best time to start making a difference tomorrow.
The best time to do anything is tomorrow…

…if you don’t want to ever actually do it.
Tomorrow always comes but the dream never happens.

Stop waiting.
There’s only one day that’s appropriate to start chasing your dream:

Make today your “one day.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Wet My Pants, Jesus Understands and Sympathizes

We have a Great High Priest, He is in PERSON, in POSITION and in PROVISION.

Come with me to a third grade classroom. There is a nine-year-old kid sitting at his desk, and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet, and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It’s never happened before and he knows that when the boys find out, he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they’ll never speak to him again for as long as he lives.

The boy believes his heart is going to stop, so he puts his head down and prays this prayer: "Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I’m dead meat." He looks up from his prayer, and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says that he has been discovered. As the teacher is coming to snatch him up, a classmate named Susie is carrying a gold fish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl in the boy’s lap. The boy pretends to be angry but all the while is saying, "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!"

Now all of a sudden the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the children are on their hands and knees around his desk, cleaning up the mess. The sympathy is wonderful! The ridicule that should have been his was transferred to someone else, Susie. As the day progresses the sympathy grows better and Susie’s ridicule grows worse.

At the end of the day they are waiting for the bus. Susie has been shunned by the other children. The boy walks over to Susie and says, "Susie, you did that on purpose, didn’t you?" Sue whispers back, "I wet my pants once too."

Why is Jesus better than Susie? Jesus doesn't have to wet His pants to understand or sympathize.. Just because a person stands with you, it doesn't mean they know where you stand.

The High Priest would stand for the sinner and offer sacrifices for all the times the sinner had "wet pants". All "wet Pants are is "uncontrolled urges, impulse over ridden by desire, untrained or untaught flesh.

God told me to hold my peace but I just had to say something. WET PANTS! I know I should tithe but I couldn't resist the sale at Macy's. WET PANTS!

We have a GREAT HIGH PRIEST who is able to sympathize with us. Not as the High Priest did. You mess up, we cover it up, no sympathy. Not like the people who stand with us but don't know where we stand. I like women, man I do too, I feel ya. I need to give up cookies, man I do too, I feel ya.

I need the Great High Priest who was tempted on all sides and yet was without sin. He controlled his urges, he trained His flesh, He taught His nature and He didn't wet His pants. SO, since He lives in me, I CAN CONTROL MY URGES, I CAN WITHSTAND.

I Have a Great High Priest, and He understands Wet Pants.


Monday, September 26, 2011

How to defeat a mountain lion and Satan too

Did you know that in the United States, mountain lions are the number one predator of human beings? So says author and naturalist, Craig Childs. On one occasion, he was doing research on the lions in Arizona’s Blue Range Wilderness. As he approached a water hole from downwind, he spotted a mountain lion drinking water, but the lion did not know he was there. When it finished drinking, it walked slowly away into a cluster of junipers.

After a few minutes, Childs walked to the water hole to identify tracks in the mud and record notes. Just before he bent down to look closer, he scanned the perimeter, and there among the shadows of the junipers, 30 feet away, he saw a pair of eyes. He expected the lion to run away, but it walked into the sunlight toward him. Childs pulled his knife and stared into the eyes of the lion. He knew what he had to do. More importantly, he also knew what he must not do. He writes:

"Mountain lions are known to take down animals six, seven, and eight times their size. Their method: attack from behind, clamp onto the spine at the base of the prey’s skull, snap the spine. The top few vertebrae are the target, housing respiratory and motor skills that cease instantly when the cord is cut...Mountain lions have stalked people for miles. One woman survived an attack and escaped by foot on a road. The lion shortcut the road several miles farther and killed her from behind..."

About the incident in Arizona’s Blue Ranger Wilderness, Childs says, "I hold firm to my ground and do not even intimate that I will back off. If I run, it is certain. I will have a mountain lion all over me. If I give it my back, I will only briefly feel its weight on me against the ground. The canine teeth will open my vertebrae without breaking a single bone...

"The mountain lion begins to move to my left, and I turn, keeping my face on it, my knife at my right side. It paces to my right, trying to get around on my other side, to get behind me. I turn right, staring at it...My stare is about the only defense I have."

The amazing thing is Childs actually maintained that defense as the mountain lion continued to try to provoke him to run, turning left, then right, back and forth again and again, until it came to just ten feet away. Finally, the standoff ended. The lion turned and walked away – defeated by a man who knew what never to do in its presence.

The Bible says in I Peter 5:8 that we are to "Be clear minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour".

The Bible also taught us how Satan attacks. Deuteronomy 25:17-18 demonstrates that the Amalekites attacked from behind, preying upon stragglers who appeared faint and weak. Cowards who attack from the back and not the front.

The time has come for Christians to stand strong. Quit retreating ground, running away from our enemy but rather look him in the eye without wavering. We have already ceded enough ground to the devil in our homes, our marriages, our ministries, the time has come to stand.

Lest anyone think I am "CHANGING", I am just saying what the Bible says in James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

If we run from Satan, give an inch to the left or to the right, we will be defeated but if we STAND, we can win.


Monday, September 12, 2011

In Memory of Pastor A. Glenn Woodberry

I've had some good days
I've had some hills to climb
I've had some weary days
And lonely nights
But when I look around
And I think things over
All of my good days
They out weigh my bad days
So I won't complain

Sometimes the clouds are low
I can hardly see the road
I ask the question Lord
Lord, why
Lord why
Why, why, why so much pain?
But the Lord knows what's best for me
Although my weary eyes
Oh they can't see
So I'll just say thank you Lord
Thank you Lord
Thank you Lord
I won't complain

God has been good to me
He's been so good to me
More than this world could ever be
He's been so good
He's been so good
He's been so good
To me

He dried all of my tears away
Turned my midnights into day
So I'll just say thank you Lord
through all of my heartaches
Thank you Lord
Through all of my trials
Thank you Lord
I been misunderstood
But thank you Lord
Even been lied on
But thank you Lord
Body wretched with pain
But thank you Lord
Bills were due
Don't know where the money is coming from
But thank you Lord, thank you Lord
Thank you Lord
I won't complain

Monday, September 5, 2011

131st Annual Session NBC USA Inc.

I thank God for safe travel from South Bend, Indiana to Orlando, Florida where I am participating as a Pastor and Preacher in the 131st Annual Session of the national Baptist Convention, USA, INC.

Sunday was a great day at Macedonia. The praise team and the choir ministry were on point. The numbers are growing but more importantly the chains are coming off the people and the praise. It was a typical Labor day crowd for South Bend and Macedonia but the level of worship was different. We focused on the fact God was there and not who was not there.

The Lord Blessed our sermon beyond our preparation. The level of peace and power I had was nothing but God-given and I am grateful for it. We stepped out of our "Blesses Life" series in Psalm 1 and preached a sermon out of Exodus 24:15-16 "Clear Reception on a Cloudy Day"

I. Sacrifice for our Atonement Vs. 4-8
II. Stay in the Area Vs. 15
III. Saturates the Atmosphere Vs. 16a
IV. Speaks to announce His Arrival Vs 16b
V. Don't be Surprised How God will Appear- Vs 17

I learned a valuable lesson Sunday. It is a bad idea to teach Teacher's meeting, Prayer Class, Preach Sunday Morning, Conduct Lord's Supper and then get into a car and drive into Midway Airport BY MYSELF because I will be WAY TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SLEEPY.

As usual, The Lord saved me from myself. Went the entire day without eating, so I had a nervous and upset stomach before flying but God allowed me safe passage into Orlando.

I pray that this will be a productive and powerful week. As much as I love and miss Macedonia when I am gone, it is still good to leave every now and then. I have the honor of preaching in the Moderator's Division of our convention. I appreciate the Vice-President at Large of the Moderator's Division, Dr. Marion J. Johnson for allowing me this opportunity.

I also will get the chance to see friends from across the nation and enjoy some of the best preachers in the nation. Late-Night services have Rev Elliot T. Ivey (Poison), Rev Clinton McFarland, Rev. Tellis Chapman and one of God's greatest preachers, Rev. A. Louis Patterson preaching this session.

It will be a great time in the Lord.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are you a Preacher or a Motivational Speaker

In my devotional time today, I ran across an artice written by Sherman Haywood Cox II. It blessed me so maybe it will bless you as well......

Some preaching that is considered great by many is nothing more than a motivational speech. It might be true, it might even be helpful. It may help you succeed at work. But too often all one has done is changed the title from the latest pop-psychologist’s seminar from “how to succeed” to “hot to fulfill God’s purpose” where God’s purpose is defined as “succeeding in this life.”

It is almost rampant in some circles. In fact some see this as the epitome of “relevant” preaching. The person comes and learns a skill or a mindset that will help them finally break the boundaries that keep them from that promotion. Maybe others finally decide to go back to school or change their career. Perhaps others find ways to become better planners and thus are more effective in their financial life. And then the preacher sits down. Sometimes the people shout other times they sit there contemplating the message, but in too many cases what is missing greatly outweighs the benefits of these messages.

When a sermon is merely a motivational speech, what is missing? At least two things:

The Cross is Missing
The first thing that is missing from this kind of preaching is the cross. Sometimes the preacher may tack it on at the end, but even in those cases the cross is reduced from the pinnacle of God’s work on behalf of humanity to simply a mechanism to help me do better at work. The cross both Jesus’ and ours is totally missing. The idea of our sin causing the death of Christ in some way is totally absent from this message. The idea that we are to take up our cross and follow is also absent.

In short, the Gospel is missing from many of these presentations and thus no matter how eloquent or well visited, this kind of preaching is missing the real power that comes from preaching “Christ and Him Crucified.”

The Coming Kingdom is Missing
In many of these sermons, the idea of God’s coming kingdom is totally missing. Whether it be how we are to prepare for the coming kingdom, or whether it be how the coming kingdom is different from the current “kingdoms,” this aspect of true preaching is often missing from the “motivational preaching” sermons.

If you are not preaching the cross and the coming kingdom, then one must ask onesself, what are the eternal consequences of my present preaching? If someone comes to your church after hearing about the cancer diagnoses, what does your sermon about being a success have to do with that one? If someone is in the midst of despair and needs to hear a word about the coming kingdom where righteousness reigns, what does your message that mistakes American middle class values for the Gospel have to say to them?

People can get motivational speeches in any number of places, but when they come to church they have come to hear a preacher. There is a time and place for the motivational speech, but if you as a preacher use up all of your time being simply another place, then you have not done your duty. For a preacher to degenerate into a facsimile of Oprah Winfrey or Tony Robins is to step down from the height of speaking God’s words to humanity to speaking good advice gleaned from the best human thinkers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dr. R. G. Lee On The Bible

The late Dr. R. G. Lee, former pastor of the Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis TN expressed the value of God’s Word in this way:

"The Bible is a book beyond all books as a river is above and beyond a rivulet. The Bible is a book beyond all books as the sun is above and beyond a candle in brightness. The Bible is a book beyond all books as the wings of an eagle is above and beyond the wings of a sparrow.

It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, immeasurable in influence, infinite in scope, divine in authorship, human in penmanship, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, and inspired in totality.

This is the Book that has walked more paths, travelled more highways, knocked at more doors and spoken to more people in their mother tongue than in other book this world has ever known or will know."

Monday, August 29, 2011

You are the Bishop of your Own Heart

One of the most powerful verses in the New Testament is Hebrews 12:15. It says, "Looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled."

I want you to especially notice the words "looking diligently" in this verse. This phrase comes from the Greek word episkopos, taken from the two words epi and skopos. The word epi means over, and the word skopos means to look. When these two words are compounded into one word as in Hebrews 12:15, the word means to look over or to take supervisory oversight.

The word episkopos is the same Greek word translated "bishop" in First Timothy 3:1. As you know, a bishop has oversight or responsibility for a group of churches. As the chief overseer for those churches, it is the bishop's responsibility to watch, direct, guide, correct, and give oversight to the churches under his care. As long as he serves as bishop, he will be held responsible for the good and the bad that occurs under his ministry.

Hebrews 12:15 uses the word episkopos to alert you and me to the fact that we are the bishops of our own hearts. The use of this word in this verse means it is our responsibility to watch, direct, guide, correct, and give oversight to what goes on inside us.

As the bishop of your own heart, it is your responsibility to guide, direct, and give oversight to what goes on inside your emotions and thinking. You alone are responsible for what you allow to develop inside your head and heart. Like a bishop, you are personally responsible for both the good and the bad that occurs within your thought life.

Why do I make this point? Because we are often tempted to blame our bad attitudes, bitterness, resentments, or feelings of unforgiveness on other people. But the truth is, we are responsible for our own emotions and reactions! If a person does something that has the potential to offend us, God holds us responsible for whether or not that offense takes root in our minds.

We can choose to let it sink into our souls and take root, or we can opt to let it bypass us. We are not able to control what others do or say to us, but we are able to control what goes on inside of us.

It is that "inside" part—the part you control—that God will hold you responsible for. Why? Because you are charged with a personal responsibility to oversee what goes on inside your soul. That means you have the last word. You are the one who decides whether or not that wrong settles down into your soul and starts to take root in your emotions.

Anger is an emotion that comes and goes. You choose whether or not irritation turns into anger, anger into wrath, wrath into bitterness, bitterness into resentment, and resentment into unforgiveness. You choose whether these foul attitudes and emotions take up residency in your heart or are booted out the door!

When the devil comes to tempt you with an annoying, hounding thought about the person who offended you, at that moment you have a choice whether or not to let it sink in. You are the only one who can give permission for these attitudes to make their habitation in your mind and emotions. If you're filled with bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, you permitted the devil to sow that destructive seed in your heart and then you permitted it to grow. Remember, you're the bishop of your own heart!

There is only one reason weeds grow out of control in a garden—because no one took the proper time and care to uproot and remove them. When the garden is choked by weeds, the gardener can't complain, "I just don't know how this happened! How did this occur right under my nose?" It occurred because he was being irresponsible with his garden. If he'd been exercising the proper amount of diligence, he would have known that weeds were about to get the best of him. His lack of diligence is the reason his garden got into this mess!

Hebrews 12:15 says, "Looking diligently...." It takes diligence to keep your heart in good shape. The only way you can stay free of the weeds the devil wants to sow in your "garden" is to be attentive, careful, thorough, and meticulous about the condition of your own heart. Don't expect others to take care of your heart for you either. It's your heart!

Also, don't make excuses for the rotten attitudes that fill your thoughts about people who supposedly did you wrong. Even if they really did commit a wrong against you, was it necessary or beneficial to permit the devil to fill you with putrid feelings of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness? Get over it! What good does it do to let the offense fester inside you until you are inwardly eaten up by its bad memory?

As long as you blame everyone else for the bitterness that rages inside, you'll never walk free. The only way you can get over the offense and walk free of your emotional prison is by accepting responsibility for your own heart.

If someone deliberately sows bad seeds in our "garden" in an effort to hurt or destroy us, God will deal with them. But if we know bad seed has been sown in our hearts and we just ignore it, allowing it to take root and grow unchecked, God will deal with us.

God will hold others responsible for what they do to us.
God will hold US responsible for what we allow to go on inside our minds and hearts.
We cannot answer for the actions of other people.
We will answer for our inward responses to what others have done to us.

Since the phrase "looking diligently" is from the Greek word episkopos, implying that you are the bishop of your own heart, what are you going to do about the negative and wrong attitudes that are trying to take root in your soul right now? Are you going to let them fester, take root, and begin to produce bad fruit in your life? Or are you going to take the initiative to rip out those attitudes by the roots so your heart can stay free?

Never forget that you are the bishop of your heart. It is your heart, and you are the only one with the authority to decide what does and doesn't go on inside of you. In light of this truth, what are you going to do about the situation you are facing right now? Forgive and let it go, or hang on to that grievance and let it grow? The choice is yours!

Sparkling Gems from the Greek.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First day of school, AGAIN

I had the pleasure today of dropping off my 16 year old Son, Khalil to school today for the beginning of his junior year in Washington High School. While Khalil is not my biological son, to me he is every part of my son as I have been in his life since he was two years old.

Although his mother and I divorced, he still sees me as Dad and amazingly enough when no one else can seem to get through to him, I still can. After spending time with me this summer, he expresses his desire to stay with me in South Bend. With deep prayer and personal counseling and after consultation with his mom and dad, Khalil is now with me.

There is not a day that goes by where I don't think at least once, "What the hell have I gotten myself into"? With that said, I still thank God for the opportunity to impact and shape this young man.

I learned the definition of a hypocrite! When I do something, say something, exaggerate about something, it is ok, when my son does the same thing I do, it is wrong. Being around my son has sparked a desire in me to become a better man, to lead by example, to lead him not drive him, to shape according to the God-created mold and pattern for his life, not by what I want him to be.

Please pray for him and me. As I dropped him off at school this morning, I looked around at all the students and became a dad all over again. It is a blessing God can go where we can't and do what we can't do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pray for this church and all churches

God expects more from us then this: The testimony of the church among the public should never be reduced to man-made, man-caused divisions and strife. Please pray for this church and the Pastor. While praying for this church and their Pastor, pray for your own church and your own Pastor because before any of us get high minded act point the finger at this church, sadly, this could happen, has almost happened and in some cases has happened in all of our churches.

My prayers are with this church and pastor. God let this time become a time of healing and restoration and from this moment, allow new beginnings to emerge in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Man who allegedly tased pastor arrested
Deacon allegedly stabs mother of minister of music
Updated: Wednesday, 10 Aug 2011, 9:06 AM CDT
Published : Monday, 08 Aug 2011, 2:08 PM CDT

Paige Malone
GRAND BAY, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile County Sheriff's Office was called to New Welcome Baptist Church on Boe Road August 7 in reference to a tasing and stabbing.

Lori Myles with the Sheriff's Office said a fight broke out when Pastor Daryl Riley told the minister of music, Simone Moore, he was no longer needed for his position and handed him his final check.

Apparently, Moore wasn’t pleased with the amount.

“At that point, the minister of music, Mr. Moore, tased the pastor and then other people got involved, and I think it just escalated from that point,” said Myles.

Several church members were involved in the fight, including Moore's mother, Agolia Moore. She was apparently stabbed by one of the church's deacons, Harvey Hunt.

“When too many emotions get involved and you don’t let the right process follow ... They should have called law enforcement, and they could have handled it from that point,” said Myles.

Kenryton Gray lives just across the street. She said she was sitting in her house with her family when something outside got their attention.

“I heard a lot of hollering, and we looked out the window, and we seen folks running back an fourth to the back of the church. And, like I say, it was hot, so I thought somebody might have fell down or something,” said Gray.

Gray has lived next to the church for over 3 years. She said it is a quiet area. She was shocked when she found out what really happened across the street.

“My father went over there a couple times, and he said it was a nice church. So, like I said, I would never have expected nothing from the church ... any church,” said Gray.

Two people were treated and released from a local hospital. Myles said Agolia Moore received several stitches on her arm.

A arrest warrant was issued for Simone Moore on assault charges for tasing Riley. Moore turned himself in late Tuesday night and was released on bond. A warrant was also signed for the arrest of Hunt for stabbing Agolia Moore.

The name Simone Moore may ring a bell. He ran on the democratic ticket for the senate back in 2010. Moore was defeated in the primary.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unplugged from the World

Thank God for safe passage from South bend, Indiana to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with my most precious cargo, my children. The 12 to 13 hour drive is starting to lean on me but thankful God sent some rain my way in Missouri that kept me alert and attentive. Sometimes adversity can be your advantage.

Upon arriving in OKC, I was reacquainted with what makes the Sooners so fit, Running two a days in 110 degree weather, It was and still is hot. To top it off, they had a freak Summer thunderstorm come thru Monday evening. Until you have seen a thunderstorm while the temperature is over 100 degrees, you just had a little rain.

It was beautiful but costly. The electrical storm burned transformers all over the city and the straight line wines were equivalent to a week F-1 tornado so roofs, poles, tree limbs and everything else starting flowing. My mom's electricity went out Monday about 9:00pm. The house warmed quickly and we reminded ourselves of times not so long ago where we didn't have AC.

That was all fine and good but after awhile, I realized I was unplugged from the world. No TV, No Internet, all I had was my phone and that was on a dying charge with nothing to charge it back up with. When i told the Lord I needed to get away with no distractions, I certainly didn't realize he would answer like this.

No electricity for 48 hours. I could have left to go to a motel but someone needed to stay with the house and watch things so, I sent mom to my aunt's and I stayed here. In that time I learned what community is and what it does.

We have so much in common especially when tragedy hits. No big I's and little U's, no mansions or penthouses, none of us have lights, none of us have air and all of us are dealing with 100 degree weather, so we came together.

We took water to the elderly. We camped out at the transformer pole to watch the OG&E people to make sure they did their job. I cut down neighbor's trees and moved some things for a big trash day pick up. We came together.

The sad part is this. The lights came back on, about an hour ago. We all went back inside. We all have air, no need being outside. We all have TV, no need to talk and converse anymore, we can chill and cool our own water, no need to share anymore. No interaction, back to computers, phones, IPAD's. Back to being plugged in.

Sometimes God has a way of slowing us down, unplugging our outlets and helping us to see what really matters. I had a great time here in the heat with no lights on with my family. Best time in a long time.


Monday, July 25, 2011

How long does a Pastor Work??

So what do you do anyway Pastor when you are at the office? You just look at the Internet and play Spades online huh? Yeah Sometimes, and sometimes I play fantasy football and watch TV, rarely, very rarely but sometimes. However, the life of a Pastor is very hectic. It is a non-stop, always on-demand, 24-7 job.

Anyone still think pastors only work one day per week? According to a study by LifeWay Research, full-time senior pastors tend to work 55 hours or more per week, and 42% work 60 or more hours. When including bi-vocational pastors, part-time senior pastors and volunteer pastors, 35% work at least 60 hours a week, and 30% work 50–59 hours.

Half spend 5–14 hours a week preparing sermons, while 9% spend 25 or more with just 7% spending less than 5. 30% of evangelical pastors spend 20 or more hours a week in sermon preparation vs. 20% of mainline pastors. Other time-consuming activities include meetings, handling e-mail or e-correspondence, counseling others, or in hospital, home or witnessing visits.

More than 70% of pastors spend up to 5 hours a week in meetings with 15% doing so 10 hours or more a week. 30% spend 20–29 hours a week with their families, and 16% report spending 40 or more hours with them. 52% spend 1–6 hours in prayer each week, and the same percentage spend 2–5 hours in personal devotions unrelated to sermon prep. 14% spend an hour or less in personal devotions. 24% watch TV 10–14 hours each week.

The scary stat is while being all things for all people, we are nothing to ourselves. Only 14% spend an hour or less in personal devotion. If we don't personally grow, how can we expect our churches we have been entrusted with to grow.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


One of my favorite movies that I enjoy watching is "Law Abiding Citizen" starring Jamie Foxx and Gerald Butler. An overlooked but powerful scene in the movie is at the very beginning when a story is told about Marcus Aurelius.

“Marcus Aurelius hired a servant to walk behind him as he made his way through the Roman town square. And this servant’s only job was to whisper in his ear when people praised him, ‘You’re only a man. You’re only a man.’

As I continue to get ready for our VBS at the Macedonia church, which will concentrate on Leadership, I realized that good leadership is about assembling the right team. No Leader can carry the entire load; therefore the assembling of a good leadership team is vital for ministry.

One insight that I read on this subject matter comes from Jim Collins' book Good to Great. He said before you even think of deciding where it is that you want to go as an organization/church/business or community group, you need to make sure you assemble the right team.

1.Get the right people on the bus (your leadership team)

2.Get the wrong people off the bus.

3.Get the right people in the right seats

Many times, we fail to assemble the right team! Instead of finding the right people for the position, we pick "OUR PEOPLE, or PASTOR PEOPLE, or YES MEN. Our staff, our deacon board, our accountability committee looks like a grand collection of people who instead of in love walk with us to remind us "YOU'RE JUST A MAN", they are hand picked cheerleaders, our personal, paid entourage who holla on demand, "YOU DA MAN"!

All of us like people who give us compliments and appreciate our efforts because in service work, many receivers of the gift God has given you act like they could do it better, faster and cheaper than you; however, it is dangerous to surround yourself with people who will not tell you the truth but would rather fill your ears with good sounding words. We must remember that the first key to leading and living a Blessed Life is to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.

Colin Powell said, "If you have a Yes man working for you, one of you is redundant".

There is a danger that is worse than surrounding yourself with YES MEN and that is having the power to actually create your own YES MEN. To cultivate, Construct, to create your own private cheering section of YOU DA MAN PASTOR PEOPLE.

A Yes Man is someone that won’t challenge your position and in fact they will always tell you what you want to hear and then scurry about to execute your plan. Generally, Yes Men can be easily found in a crowd because they are the up and coming risers, trying to advance their careers as quickly as they can.

Our job in leadership development for the church is not to develop YES MEN but GOD MEN. A GOD MAN will be loyal to the Pastor because you can't follow God and disrespect his program or his Pastor. A GOD MAN will know how to express an opinion without disrespecting the office or the officer. A GOD MAN is not just looking to see how much power they can possess or just talk to hear themselves talk.

GOD MEN who have been trained either by the Acts 6 principle, the I Timothy 3 Principle or the Matthew 25 Parable of the Talents principle; Leadership within the church is not management in the business sense but stewardship. We don't own or run! We are entrusted with and must answer.

Thank God that I have been blessed at Macedonia with a Marcus Aurelius who loves me enough to say, "YOU'RE ONLY A MAN! Thank God in our Convention Work, District, State and National, I have real Pastoral friends who will walk with me while praise is being showered and say "YOU'RE ONLY A MAN".

I am looking forward to vacation Bible School 2011!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Keep the Way Open

The CEO of a large manufacturing corporation was in the habit of going to a room on the roof of the administration building and locking himself in, that he might be free from interruptions. One day he discovered that the building was on fire. He flew to the door to find that the lock had become set, and he was unable to open it.

He remembered the intercom which communicated with the room below. But, his calls were in vain. It had been many months since he had last used the intercom, and it had become so corroded with soot and dust that it was useless.

How fit an illustration is this of the prayerless life. It is by daily fellowship that we keep the way open between ourselves and God.

When is the last time you talked to God?

What dirt, soot, contamination is blocking you from talking to God?

Where do you need to clean in your life so there is nothing that would hinder your prayers?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Leading is Following Backwards

Continuing to get ready for our 2011 Vacation Bible School where we will be teaching the adult class on the concept of Leadership Vs Management within the Church, I am compiling many articles, books and sources for our lecture.

I found a great article written by Eric M. Bryant that talks about Leading is Following Backwards:

Following is leading backwards. The opposite of leading is not following; the opposite of leading is apathy. Following creates the character and the credibility to lead. When we humble ourselves and set aside our dreams to help others accomplish theirs, we catch a glimpse of God’s character.

Joshua influenced his nation beyond his lifetime. He was chosen to replace Moses and lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. It was Joshua who led the people of Israel to march around Jericho. How did Joshua gain such influence?

When Joshua is first mentioned in Scriptures, we find him in a situation we would not imagine for the future leader of God’s children. Joshua was Moses’ assistant, his aid. Joshua did not appear to be headed towards greatness. Joshua was an intern; the person Moses would ask to carry his luggage, put up his tent, or pick up some manna on the way to their meetings.

“Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel….”

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction.”

“Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God….’” – Exodus 24:9-14a

By serving Moses faithfully in mundane ways, Joshua walked into God’s presence! Sharing a meal with God is quite a perk for an assistant. Joshua was later chosen to travel with Caleb and ten other spies to check out the new land. When looking to replace Moses, God did not choose Moses’ brother Aaron or sister Miriam. He did not choose Nadab, Abihu, or any of the seventy elders. He chose Moses’ assistant. God chooses to exalt those who are humble.

When we serve others faithfully and effectively, we work toward accomplishing another person’s vision. When we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for others, our leaders recognize we can be trusted. If we can be trusted as a follower, then we can be trusted with followers.

Early in his new role, Joshua had the opportunity to establish his own reputation as a miracle worker. Just as Moses parted the waters as the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God planned another spectacular water trick to exalt Joshua.

“And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses’” (Joshua 3:7).

After the waters stopped flowing and the people had crossed to the other side, Joshua stood ready to seize the moment. We expect he would point out that this miracle confirmed his leadership. Instead, Joshua chose a different message for the people.

“Joshua said to the Israelites… ‘[God] did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God’” (Joshua 4:21a, 24).

Joshua chose to point people to the Lord’s leadership rather than his own. He was more concerned with building God’s reputation than his own. This should come as no surprise; he spent years building up Moses rather than pursuing his own interests.

We can become a better leader by serving as a better follower. In these moments we discover what Christ meant when he promised that “we find our lives when we lose our lives serving him and serving others.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bring the Book

The beginning of the Summer Exodus has begun as many people were missing from church on Sunday but we had a great time with the members and visitors who were in the house. Sundays have become a little more hectic for me than usual but it has sharpened my vision in the pulpit. Teaching the New Members class at 8:30 and the Prayer Class at 9 has made me right ready when I hit in the pulpit and I can tell during the preaching moment.

I have had the same experience two Sundays in a row. I prepared a sermon that I thought would be used for a section of the church addressing one thing and God has made me use it for the entire body. I am walking into a series of sermons from Psalms 1. To prepare the soil, I have been concentrating in sermons on making The Word of God our emphasis in our lives, in our church and in all that we do.

We used Nehemiah 8 as our platform to plant this idea in the collective spirit of the membership. We need more Ezra's in the Pulpit who can:

Vs 1 "Bring the Book"

Vs 5 "Opened the Book"

Vs 8 "Explained the Book"

It amazes me how many "Books " are brought to the church, the pulpit, the business meetings, our Sunday Schools, Our Vacation Bible Schools and our Christian Education Departments that are not or have no relation to THE BOOK which is GOD'S HOLY WORD.

Let me quickly say, I appreciate, thank God for and want to be the best rounded preacher I can be by reading all that I can in supplemental reading; however, we cannot allow this to take the place or remove from our diet the fundamental reading which is God's Holy Word.

We need some more Ezra's who will BRING THE BOOK. Not Robert's Rules of Order! Not Parliamentary Procedures! Not Someone who has studied the Constitution and the By-laws of the Church more than they have the Word of God. Not Politicians but a Preacher.

Again, thank God for politicians! They have a place and a purpose but they are not the pastor/teacher. We do not need a Day of Prayer from a politician, we need a preacher to teach us the Bible wants us to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. We do not need a resolution from the State House or a Bill signed from the White House ordering a day of observance for religion, we need a Preacher, an Ezra to bring, open and explain the Word so we will know it must be a daily lifestyle, not a one-time event.

Thank God for all that Nehemiah did in leadership, organization, strategic planning, vision casting and implementation but it takes a preacher to teach the people what thus says the Lord and thereby restoring them to where they should be.

In presentation, God allowed it to go better than preperation. I had fun explaining why we stand upon the reading of the Word of God and what that really meant back then and what it should mean now; the building of the pulpit and what it was built from (WOOD) and why it was elevated and the people's reception, reactions and results to the Word of God.

The people:

Said Amen, Amen, We don't say amen for the preacher, we say Amen, truly truly, verily, so be it in response to the word of God.

They lifted their hands, bowed their heads, laid prostrate and cried out to God as they responded to the bringing, opening and explaining of the Word of God.

They learned a lesson that we all should remember: Through the Word of God, The Joy of the Lord is our Strength.

We had a great time on Sunday, spiritually and financially.

Our 90th State convention for the Original General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Indiana Incorporated is going on in Ft Wayne Indiana this week. Please pray for us.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Boundaries Vs. Branching Out

I inherited a church that had a healthy love for the Book written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend entitled, "Boundaries": When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. It was done as a Bible Study here several Pastors ago. While I appreciate the Boundaries Book, if not careful it can serve as motivation for the old song, "I SHALL NOT, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED, JUST LIKE A TREE THAT'S PLANTED BY THE WATERED, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED.

One of the most important duties for any leader is moving people from their comfort zone to their "wheelhouse", area of expertise, their sweet spot.

Getting out of your comfort zone is like going to the gym for your mind, your confidence, and your creativity. It forces you to engage things in a new way. It stimulates you to think new thoughts and see things in a different light. It expands the scope of what you see as currently within reach. Without it, your mind gets flabby.

The problem with this is most people are resistant to being moved because COMFORT IS THE ENEMY TO CHANGE. Most of my members ignored the part of the book that taught them how and when to say yes but rather embraced the no concept.

It’s good to stretch someone beyond their comfort zone. To put people in situations that stretch their capabilities and familiarity. It’s how you pull potential out of people that didn’t even know they had. Make them realize they are capable of things they won’t believe until they do them. Past the edge of our comfort and convenience is where God can raise our lives to new heights.

One of the biggest hindrances to this is not only comfort but the Past. Nostalgia is the best friend of comfort. Often times, when we have stepped out of a comfortable situation because we know it is holding us back, we find ourselves confronted by nostalgia. When the future is uncertain, it is natural for us to think about the past, and long for what was comfortable.

What’s deadly about nostalgia is that is always looks different than reality. Nostalgia shows us the past as we wish it was, anything negative tends to be either filtered out, or blurred into the background.

Nostalgia and comfort work together to stunt our growth and keep us from progress.

While it’s good to stretch a person out of their comfort zone, we have to understand that it was God who wired them, gave them life experiences, passions, burdens, and skills to do what He called them to do.

In other words, they have a God-ordained sweet spot. A place of intersection where God has called them to live in and function out of.

People can’t be anything they want to be. Or anything we want them to be. But they can be everything God created them to be. And this only happens as they’re operating in their sweet spot. Where they’re using everything God has equipped them with to be all He has called them to be.

Stretching someone out of their comfort zone should be a means of developing people in their sweet spot. Not taking them out of it. There’s such a thing as being uncomfortable because you’re being stretched. And then there’s being uncomfortable because you’re doing something you weren’t created for.

Our prayer is over the upcoming Vacation Bible School is to develop new leaders and transform older leaders into finding our sweet spots in Christ for greater service. I believe that Acts 6 model shows us how to find our sweet spot and we will talk about that in the upcoming posts.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tugging at my Heart

A twelve year old boy became a christian during a revival. The next week at school his friends questioned him about the experience. "Did you see a vision?" asked one friend. "Did you hear God speak?" asked another.

The youngster answered no to all these questions. "Well, how did you know you were saved?" they asked. The boy searched for an answer and finally he said, "It’s like when you catch a fish, you cant see the fish, or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on your line. I just felt God tugging on my heart."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Leadership is Serving God, Not the Sheep

I am getting ready for our 2011 Vacation Bible School which will be held July 25th-July 29th. I am teaching the adult class this year on the concept of Leadership Vs. Management. It is a topic that not only for the church I serve, but for the entire body of Christ, needs to be discussed in great detail.

I have come across many authors with good information that I am looking forward to sharing. One of those authors was Fred Smith who wrote the book, "Learning to Lead: Bringing out the Best in Other People" from The Leadership Library Volume 5 (24-25) His section on "Leadership is serving God, Not the Sheep proved to be invaluable and it is out of that section that I share this:

Currently one of the most popular concepts is “servant leadership.” Properly understood, it’s a helpful concept, but it has been terribly abused.

The Christian leader is primarily a servant of God, not a servant of the sheep. Many shepherds act as if they’re servants of the sheep—a faulty concept. You are a servant of God, given to absolute obedience to what he says. To extend that to say you are the servant of each sheep is a fallacy.

Steve Brown, a pastor in Florida, said he nearly became neurotic when he used to think he worked for the church—because he had five hundred bosses. When your boss calls in the middle of the night to tell you something, you’re supposed to do it. But if everybody in the church is your boss and you’re their servant, you’ve got an absolutely intolerable position.

Yes, you lead by serving, but the major expression of your service is your leadership.

Take, for instance, Lee Iacocca, a great leader. He is the servant of the Chrysler Corporation, but he doesn’t ask the assembly line workers to decide where the company should go. He may solicit opinions, but Lee Iacocca doesn’t ask the man on the machine to do anything except run the machine and run it well—and have faith in the company. Iacocca’s servanthood is expressed by his leadership. If he were to quit leading, he would no longer be a trustworthy servant of Chrysler.

There are shepherds who constantly ask the sheep which way to go. If the pastor quits leading the sheep and starts following them, he is no longer a trustworthy shepherd.

In addition, a shepherd does not expect his compensation, blessing, or reward to come from the sheep. He expects it to come from the owner of the sheep. I don’t know of any sheep that ever gathered around to applaud the shepherd. All they do is cause him trouble.

Sheep are the work. They’re not the wage.

As leaders we have to say, “I’m going to get my ultimate strokes from God.”

If we don’t watch ourselves, we start manipulating things to get strokes from the sheep. If that happens, it’s like what Jesus said about giving alms in public. God will say, “You’ve got your reward.” You can lead with an eye on crowd approval, but if you lead primarily to be rewarded by the sheep, you’re not going to be rewarded by the owner of the sheep.

This position is difficult for some pastors to accept because of their personality make-up. Some pastors prefer serving people. There’s a certain ego satisfaction in doing menial things for other people. They justify it by saying, “I’m showing people I’m not above doing menial things,” which is a prideful statement, when you think about it.

Leaders who say, “Anything you need, let me know. I’ll cut your lawn. I’ll drive the kids to school” are not serving God, nor are they offering their best to their people. They are failing to understand the doctrine of gifts. There’s no point in a clumsy, all-thumbs person trying to be a carpenter. He might desire the servant role, but he isn’t serving. If my gift is leading (as evidenced by my having followers), then my serving is leading.

Smith, F. (1986). Vol. 5: Learning to lead : Bringing out the best in people. The Leadership library (24–25). Carol Stream, Ill.: CTi.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free Indeed!!!!!!

I was prepared on Sunday to preach a message from John 8:32-36 concerning Free Indeed. The Lord led me in a different direction and I wound up preaching on Acts 12 concerning "Keep Knocking". The Lord blessed our obedience. It was wonderful to be back in the pulpit after so many preachers, McGhee, Witherspoon, Bacon, Arthur Lane, Bishop Alford, just to name a few, have just unleashed havoc on Satan and his forces through the sound preaching of the Word.

I am still amazed by how many people live life under the disguise of freedom when all the while they are bound and chained. They think their job frees them. Their money. Their social status. Their educational level, but John 8:32-36 teaches us all of these things are not the Sum of our freedom.

In these verses, Jesus is speaking to a group of people who thought they were free. They believed that because they were the sons of Abraham, they enjoyed spiritual freedom, v. 33. Jesus lets them know that because they are sinners, they are slaves to sin, v. 34. This same truth is repeated by Paul in Rom. 6:16.

Jesus also wants the audience listening in that day, as well as in this day, to know that He has the power to make men truly free, v. 32. He reminds them that because they are slaves to sin, they are not truly free. He tells them in v. 35 that a slave is not a permanent part of the family, while a son is. Then, Jesus tells us that since He is the Son, He has the power to make men truly free, v. 36.

You see, a person can be locked away in a prison and still be free in Jesus. A person can live in an atheistic, godless society and still be free in Jesus. He has the power to make men truly free. This text encourages us to:


Jesus says the source of spiritual our freedom in v. 32 is in “the truth”. This word refers to “that which is true in respect to God and the execution of His purposes in Jesus Christ.” In other words, the truth Jesus refers to is the whole truth regarding Who He is and what He did for sinners. It refers to the whole truth about Jesus Christ.


Jesus says in verse 36 that when He makes a person “free” they are “free indeed”. The first word translated “free” comes from a word that means “to set at liberty”. It is the picture of someone liberating a slave from bondage.

The second word translated “free” refers to “one who is freeborn”. Jesus is saying that the freedom He gives us when He saves us is so complete that “it is as if we were never slaves to begin with, but it is as if we were freeborn sons of God”.

The liberty Jesus gives us is so complete that it blots out our past and makes us absolutely and eternally free in Him. That is a far cry from where we were before we met Him, John 8:34; Eph. 2:1-3. Thank God for the liberty we enjoy in Jesus Christ!

Consider for a moment that areas where we have been liberated.

We have been delivered from the wrath of God – Rom. 5:9

We have been delivered from condemnation – Rom. 8:1

We have been delivered from death and Hell – John 5:24; John 3:16

We have been delivered from the power of sin – Rom. 6:13-14

We have been delivered from the power of Satan – 1 Pet. 5:8-9


Our freedom as Americans was purchased at a very high cost. We should be thankful for it. While the price for our national freedom was costly and bloody, it pales in comparison to the cost of our spiritual freedom. The cost of our spiritual freedom was the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary.

It was there that He “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1Ti 2:6)

It was there that He became “the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jo 2:2)

It was there that “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isa 53:5)

It was there that “the LORD…laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6)

Why did He do it? The answer is quite simple. He did it because He loves us! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)


I don't know what your freedom means to you, don't know what had you bound and how long you were intertwined within your mess but as you do inventory of your life and recognize that you are now walking in freedom, there should be a war cry. There should be a rumbling of praise. There should be a shout.

We have a song that the angels can not sing. I have been redeemed!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dream Big

I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. Philippians 4:13

GEORGE FOREMAN first won the World Heavyweight Championship boxing title in 1973 at the age of twenty-three. He was at the top of his game and in his prime when he defeated Joe Frazier that fateful day in Jamaica. A year later he lost his title to Muhammad Ali in their infamous bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, known as the "Rumble in the Jungle."

Foreman retired a few years later to pursue the career he'd always dreamed of. He became the pastor of a small church in Houston, Texas. Members said he was as fiery and powerful in the pulpit as he was in the ring. He used part of his boxing money to establish a youth center in Houston, and his church did its best to cover the rest of the expenses. But it wasn't long before financial resources dried up. The church struggled to keep the center alive. In 1987 Foreman surprised everyone by announcing his plans to save the youth center from bankruptcy. "I'm going to be heavyweight champion again," he said.

In spite of the jokes and jeers from the media and late-night comedians, Foreman set himself on a strict regimen of training. He had to start at the bottom, fighting little-known boxers and working his way back up the ranks. Though he was older, he'd never lost his ability to land an explosive punch and bring his opponent down, so his climb was quicker than expected. Before long, Foreman had become a serious contender for the top belt. After seven years of work, he finally had a shot at the title.

In 1994, at the age of 45, Foreman shocked the world by knocking out Michael Morrer to regain the World Heavyweight Championship title. He was the oldest man in history to do so. He used the money he made to save the center. The comedians were no longer laughing. From the beginning, Foreman attributed this feat to his faith in God and his belief that the Holy Spirit would supply him with the strength he needed.

"It doesn't matter what people say about you," Foreman said after the fight. "Look in the mirror and never put yourself down. Give yourself time and anything can be accomplished."
"I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need," writes Paul (Philippians 4:13). When God sets a task on your heart, all you have to do is believe that he can help you carry it out. His power is sufficient for all our needs in any given situation.

Embracing Eternity: Living Each Day with a Heart Toward Heaven.