Monday, April 25, 2011

67th BMA Revival Services in OKC

I am honored to be in Oklahoma City this week participating in the longest running simultaneous revival in the nation, the 67th Baptist Minister's Association revival of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

I am the guest revivalist for The New Hope Baptist Church whose pastor is the Rev. Dr. E.J.Tyson. This is my third year sharing with this pastor and people.

I am doubly honored as this year not only do I get the privilege of preaching to the wonderful people at New Hope but I also get the opportunity to preach the opening message for the noonday services which are held Tuesday thru Friday. There always has to be a sacrificial lamb for the slaughter and so is the case.

I find myself in a unique position this year as I am in need of a revival. So much attack has happened to my mind and ministry as of late, I certainly need to hear from God in these services and as He speaks to me, I pray the people of New Hope will hear God speak to them as well.

Please pray for us during these revival services.


Friday, April 22, 2011


Production Crews

Props……….South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC)
Art Department and Ms. S. Sprouls
J. Willis & Son

Music and Special Effects……….SBCSC
“Baby Pookie Pie”
Javon Lewis and Friends

Lighting……….SBCSC Drama Department

Costume and Design………Julie Yoder and Lisa Clark

Stage Hands………. Cast Members, SBCSC and Friends

Production Consultant…… Ms.Neimi and Wanda Dudley

Program Design……….GaNiece Gentry

Graphic Design……….Carolos Hurtizil

Tickets………. Scarlet Anderson

Media……Wanda Dudley

Special Thank You
Our greatest sense of pride comes from the vision of Pastor Ray E. Owens of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, whose members know: If we truly believe in the word of God, we have to reach beyond the walls of our churches and even our traditions and denominations so we can do what God has called us to do…..”To Help Somebody”

April 22 and 23, 2011 6:30pm
Written and Directed by
Bonnie Willis & Coco Howard
The Last Days of Christ

The Miracles

The Celebration

The Upper Room

The Garden

The Betrayal & Arrest


Pontius Pilate

The Scourging

Bearing the Cross

The Crucifixion

The Burial

Cast of Characters

Storyteller……….Linda Lewis

Decree……Horns of Thunder (Michiana Christian Embassy)

Jesus Edward Denny IV

Peter…………..Disciple……….Kevin Howard

John…………..Disciple….Steve Reeves (Greater St. John)

James………….Disciple……….Willie Moody

Thomas…………Disciple……….Vernon Jones

Matthew……….Disciple………Chuck Coleman

Phillip…………..Disciple……….Harmon Piggue

Andrew……….Disciple………Jerry Malone

Thaddeus……..Disciple……….Luther Taylor

Bartholomew...Disciple…Elvis Willis

Judas………….Disciple……Carlos Pruitt (Greater St. John)

James……….. Disciple……….CJ Moody

Simon…………Disciple………….Chris Dudley

Cast of Characters

Angel……….Marcus Moody

Pontius Pilate……….Robin Rice

Claudia……….Annette Williams

Simon of Cyree………….Patrick Daniel

Mary……….Mother of Jesus……….Karla Hill

Woman at the Well……..Nikki Lawson (BSDA)

Joseph of Arimathea……….Elvis Willis

Mary Magdalene…………Lizzy Rouse (1st AME Zion)

Guards…….Joe Davis, John Williams, Arthur Turner, Guillermo Adkins, Brent Willis, and Matt Williams

Satan………..Basil Driver

Servant………..Woman……….Johnai Moody

Servant………..Child………..Jayla Clark

Servant Girl to Upper Room……Tyler Rice

Servant Girl to Pilate……….Jazmin Rice

Man with the Pitcher……Lynn Coleman (City of So. Bend)

Jewish Priest…………Clavin Mann

Jewish Priest………..Fred Prince

Thief #1……….Jerry Willis Jr.

Thief #2………….Jose Juarez

Crowd… The Washington High School Gospel Choir, The Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, Elizabeth Memorial COGIC, First AME Zion, Berean Seventh Day Adventist and Greater St. John.
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the South Bend Community School Corporation Washington High School Gospel Choir, WUBS radio, and a special thanks to Mr. Lynn Coleman and his vision. We also want to thank Mr. George McCullough, Ms. S. Sprouls, Ms. H. Neimi, Mr. John Williams, Mr. Mike Lizzy,and Ms. M. Gaston who believed in the vision that: “South Bend is NOT DEAD” and with the commitment from the community to be a family, we could create a better place to enjoy God’s blessings.
We are truly thankful for your faith in this production from the following churches: Greater St. John, 1st AME Zion, Berean Seventh Day Adventist, Michiana Christian Embassy, Sounds of Thunder (Niles, MI), MI), Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Family, Elizabeth Memorial COGIC, and Apostolic Church of Deliverance.

We would also like to thank Sony and AIR records for the soundtracks; none of which are used in this production have been authorized for the sale of any DVD’s/CD’s.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Praising God for the Wrong Reason

Gene A. Smith, an American historian, authored a book entitled, "When the Cheering Stopped". The book told of Woodrow Wilson and the events surrounding WWI. Upon the end of the war, people ere optimistic, people had hope for freedom and democracy everywhere, people started cheering. Every place Woodrow Wilson went, he was cheered. He went to Europe and he was cheered. He went to parades and he was cheered. Throughout the land, he was cheered.

The cheering lasted about a year until things changed. European leaders started caring more about their region than the entire world, and the cheering stopped. Politicians within the Senate defeated the idea of league of nations and the cheering stopped. In the next election Wilson's party lost, and the cheering stopped.

Jesus experienced this on Palm Sunday. People always cheer you as long as you do what they want you to do. SO they cheered Jesus. The Jews desired a king to free them from Roman rule, to end the oppression and to set restore them to an elite status again. As Jesus sits on the colt, prophecy is fulfilled and people cheered.

Then, it all changed. Jesus didn't gather any troops, didn't lead a revolt, instead of shaking up the government, he shook up the church, and the cheering stopped. He taught in order to be great you must be a servant, and the cheering stopped. He gave to Caesar what belonged to Caesar and rendered to God what belonged to God, and the cheering stopped. The question begs to be asked,


They were like the Pharisees that Jesus warned us about when he said, "They praise me with their lips but their heart is far from me". This is why it was so easy to flip the script from "save us" to "Crucify Him"! Authentic Worship is not based on signs and symbols such as palm branches or meaningless words.

Authentic Worship is about SURRENDER. Surrender to the Will of God for the Purpose of our lives, SURRENDER to the Way of God that protects our lives and SURRENDER to the Word of God which Prospers our lives. Authentic Worship is not about what God has done but we worship God for who he is.

A secular analogy to teach a spiritual premise, "A wife does an activity or blesses her husband in a certain way, the husband becomes spoiled to this, One day , things change beyond her control and the activity ceases. Does the Husband trade her in for a newer model? Sadly in some case this happens because the husband fell in love with the activity rather than the essence of the wife that made her perform the activity. As long as her essence is the same, the activities may come and go, change and alter, but the essence that makes her give in the first place is still there.

A lot of people are in love with God and praise God for his activity and have not worshipped God for his essence, that is who he is, and who is HE?

He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
He is my redemption, my ransom, my sacrifice, my propitiation, my kinsmen redeemer,
He is my lily of the Valley my bright and morning star, my rose of Sharon, .............................


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Blessing within the Business Meeting

I HATE BUSINESS MEETINGS! By and large, Business meetings within the traditional Baptist church are a drain, a drag, depressing and often disappointing. They sap energy, misuse and misdirect excitement and at least for me are very rarely energizing, and now a word from our sponsor( I am just venting and I loved the meeting we had tonight at Macedonia) and now back to our regularly scheduled programming. I HATE BUSINESS MEETINGS! However, I am proud to write that God has been working on me and I have come away believing there is a blessing and not just a burden within the business meeting. Business meetings are more than just the discussion of financial details, going over how much the pastor, musician and etc makes. Business meetings are a chance for the pastor to do another version of vision casting. When we preach we cast vision from the pulpit to show forth what the Lord has spoken to us as Pastors; what the Scriptures says and how it applies to our lives and how we should enact it in our world, in our church and in our lives. We do the same in our teaching sessions whether small group, Discipleship, Sunday School or Deacon training; we declare what God has deposited in us so that we might develop and deploy disciples for Christ. Therefore, why don't we view the Business hour as the same opportunity! There is a blessing within the Business Meeting! Just some ideas:

  • REVIEW AND PREVIEW- A good business meeting is one where we look back at where we have been, review where we are now and look ahead to where we want to be.

  • REINTRODUCE- One of the things that personally bothers me the most about business meetings is I feel I am wasting time answering questions that I have already discussed in Bible studies or said in Sunday Sermons. I want to scream ARE YOU LISTENING? Then it hit me, No, they are not. Every one does not come to Bible Study, every one does not listen to Sunday Sermons and sometimes people can miss the forest because of the trees, so we have an opportunity to reintroduce our agenda. To bring back to the forefront what others have missed or tried to misplace which leads me to the next point.

  • RETOOL AND RESTRUCTURE- Every good idea does not always work for a variety of reasons: not enough manpower, not enough money for ministry, wrong motives and unwilling workers, sometimes it was better in thought than in reality or better in principle than in practice; therefore business meetings give us a chance to retool, reshape and restructure our practices for better productivity. Periodically, General Motors would issue down time to some of its workforce in an attempt to retool the line, change the spacing, create better footsteps for greater efficiency and maximum production. Business meetings give us the same chance to stop double work, or prevent people from walking within the same foot path creating gridlock and chaos.

  • RESTART AND REKINDLE- Some people don't get it on the first, second or even third tries. Some people got the idea but allowed events, enemies or the evil one to put out their flame for service and ministry. We have the chance to restart and rekindle. Sometimes people need a boost or a shot in the arm. Sometimes we as leaders need a boost and a shot in the arm as well.

  • REMINDER- This is mainly for the leaders. Sometime we need the critics, the hell-raisers, the devilish deacons and tricky trustees, our meddling mother's boards and our messy music ministries to remind us WE NEED HELP. WE NEED GOD! While there are times we believe these people are killing us and they may believe they are doing the Charlie Sheen WINNING, by destroying us, in reality it just reminds us we need God. We pray better, preach better, pastor better because there are people who drive us to our knees and to our God. In addition, there are people that we are so desperate to love us, affirm us, appreciate us when in fact sometimes God allows these people to cross our paths to remind us, There is something better waiting for us. Some Hell reminds us this place is not a permanent passage but rather a rest stop on our way to our destination. Some people through the pain they cause us are just giving us the fuel we need to get to our purpose. Thank God for the reminder.

I will readily admit, I STILL HATE BUSINESS MEETINGS but I do believe there can be a blessing within them. I hope that was displayed in my actions and demeanor during this last session.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Change of Scenery

Sometimes you just need to change locations! I had that experience recently. I wish I could say it was planned, thought out or purposed in my heart but it was not. I agree with the Greek author and Philosopher Plato as he said in The Republic, Necessity is the Mother of invention.

Our church is not the largest of churches so our ministries have to learn how to share space. It can be challenging at times. As we near Resurrection Sunday, we have many activities going on at the same time so multiple people with multiple ministries but limited space can spell N-I-G-H-T-M-A-R-E. To accommodate room, I moved the Wednesday Night Bible Study to the basement so the youth choir could practice and work on their Easter Program. It was just Spring Break in this area so it is a great time to reach all of our youth. I never anticipated what happened.

We had about the same number of people. We were on the same topic study in Acts. I was teaching from the same lesson format; however, the class was more engaged. Instead of being in the sanctuary swallowed up by size where people listen, take notes and are virtually non-interactive, the class was talkative, participated in the process and helped develop a dialogue between teacher and class.

A simple change of scenery made Bible Study intimate; it created a small-group atmosphere. The lack of space made it more of a discussion because we were basically on top of each other. Same Message, different Methodology because of a new meeting place. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

13th Appreciation Services for Pastor Ricky D. Turner & Family

I am sitting in the Kansas City International airport reflecting on the time I just spent with the Oak Ridge Baptist Church family and their Pastor and wife as we celebrated together the 13th Pastor's Appreciation Service. Pastor Turner and his wife Sister Tinalisa watched, helped and mentored my growth at the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Pastor Turner is the greatest son to be produced from the Mount Olive Ministry under the leadership of Pastor A. Glenn Woodberry and yet his humility is unsurpassed within the preaching ranks. Unintentionally, I was irritating him as he has always been and will always be one of my idols so I referred to him as Dr. Turner. He kept reminding, "Ray, it's just Ricky", but I know and have been trained better.

I never had the chance to see or worship in the Oak Ridge Church. When Pastor Turner was called to Pastor Oakridge, he was the Assistant Pastor of GMO. I was blessed by God to assume the responsibilities of the Assistant when he left but NO ONE has or ever will fill his shoes at Mt. Olive. I am sure many members of Mt. Olive wish they had a Dr. Ricky Turner still there but thanks be to God the same Power and the same Pastor that developed Turner is still at work developing other ministers for the glory of God.

With that said, Oak Ridge is a worshipping church. They like to have church. Sometimes when a church gets large, builds new buildings and becomes the "CHURCH" in an area, they forget to do what they did to get there. Oak Ridge is not like this. In the words of Pastor Turner, we don't SPECTATE, WE PARTICIPATE, and participate they did. It was a wonderful time.

Even with this great service, I hate leaving the pulpit God has given me, I don't leave my church just to leave or for just for any service so my attending Oak Ridge on this Sunday shows the level of respect I have for this man of God.

Let me express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Pastor Turner, his wife, and the Oak Ridge family for how kind they were to me. To Macedonia: Thank you for allowing your Pastor to share in other settings but please know, Pastor is on his way back HOME. Therefore, pass the word and I will see you in Bible Study and Noon Day Bible Study on Wednesday.