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.