Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Prove me Now

"Prove me now" (Mal. 3:10).

What is God saying here but this: "My child, I still have windows in Heaven. They are yet in service. The bolts slide as easily as of old. The hinges have not grown rusty. I would rather fling them open, and pour forth, than keep them shut, and hold back.

I opened them for Moses, and the sea parted. I opened them for Joshua, and Jordan rolled back. I opened them for Gideon, and hosts fled. I will open them for you--if you will only let Me. On this side of the windows, Heaven is the same rich storehouse as of old.

The fountains and streams still overflow. The treasure rooms are still bursting with gifts. The lack is not on my side. It is on yours. I am waiting. Prove Me now. Fulfill the conditions, on your part. Bring in the tithes. Give Me a chance. --Selected

I can never forget my mother's very brief paraphrase of Malachi 3:10. The verse begins, "Bring ye the whole tithe in," and it ends up with "I will pour" the blessing out till you'll be embarrassed for space. Her paraphrase was this: Give all He asks; take all He promises." --S. D. Gordon

The ability of God is beyond our prayers, beyond our largest prayers! I have been thinking of some of the petitions that have entered into my supplication innumerable times. What have I asked for? I have asked for a cupful, and the ocean remains! I have asked for a sunbeam, and the sun abides! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's giving: it is beyond that we can ask. --J. H. Jowett

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bishop Donald Alford to attend the National Day of Prayer

Let me be one of the first to congratulate and celebrate the faithfulness of a wonderful Pastor/Bishop and Mentor, Bishop Donald Alford. He has been selected as a Pastor/Preacher to pray with our President.

I know many reverend clergy who love the spotlight, clamor for attention, position themselves in front of the person they think will get them within camera view and who claim to advance causes of the city when in reality they are serving their own self promotion agendas. Bishop Alford is not like this.

He has been faithful to this community for multiple decades transcending three generations. He preaches and lives the Word of God. He was generous to me as a young Pastor coming into this area sharing his expertise and praying with, for and over my life.

There couldn't be a finer man going to pray with the President than Bishop Alford. Certainly our President stands in the need of prayer.

SOUTH BEND - The Rev. Donald Alford said members of his church pray daily for their elected officials.

“We have a morning glory prayer at 6 a.m. where we pray for the president, the governor, the mayor and the Common Council,” said Alford, pastor of Pentecostal Cathedral Church of God in Christ.

Alford, who is the bishop of the Indiana North Central Jurisdiction in the Church of God in Christ, will get a chance to pray with the president.

He was invited to take part in the National Day of Prayer Breakfast,
which will be held in Washington on Thursday.

The invitation to attend the event came from Congressman Joe Donnelly, Alford said. “President (Barack) Obama is expected to be there along with other congressmen and senators.”

Alford said the breakfast is one of the activities that takes place on the National Day of Prayer, held annually on the first Thursday in February.

“I was very honored to be invited,” Alford said.

The breakfast is an event that brings clergy from all faiths to the nation’s capital. Members of Congress from both parties will attend, Alford said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anger Management 101 for Men

I had a great time last night teaching our Men's Bible Study at the Macedonia Church. I am blessed that so many men are being open and honest in their dialogue concerning anger. We are studying ANGER MANAGEMENT 101 using the Bible as our Primary Resource and "WHEN GOOD MEN GET ANGRY", The Spiritual Art of Managing Anger by Bill Perkins.

It is interesting to have such a wide array of ages in the Men's class because it gives us a unique perspective to view this subject. While I will admit this is a necessary and needful class for the men of our church from the Pastor to the Pew, I would contend this is a necessary class for ALL MEN to take.

We studied last night from Numbers 20:1-12 where Moses lets his anger get out of control and his disobeys God while lashing out at the people. It's a typical day in the life of Israel, God provides for their needs, God protects them from danger, God preserves their existence, but as usual the people complain.

The most blessed people on the face of the earth, AND THEY COMPLAIN. Spoiled beyond belief, AND THEY COMPLAIN. Blessed going out and coming in, AND THEY COMPLAIN. Blessed so well you can't describe it and should realize they don't deserve it, AND THEY COMPLAIN.

In our class, we are attempting to identify our triggers. What sets us off! What takes us to that point! For many in our class and many reading this blog, you may be able to admit that incessant complaining, whining, nagging from unappreciative people who never seem to be satisfied can work your last nerve.

To wake up and here complaining, to go to bed and here complaining, to go to work and all through work you here complaining, to come home and still here complaining, and to further your anger, to be blamed for someone else's hardships can almost be too much. VS 3, The People Blamed Moses

We all have to deal with anger. The EXPERIENCE of anger is not a sin but the EXPRESSION of anger if not handled in a Spiritual way can result in a sin. Even though the end story of this encounter Moses had does not seem positive, it can have some concrete convictions for us to live by.

Moses did two things that you need to learn every time you get angry.

I. Moses turned away from the Source of His Anger Vs 6

Before you black out, before you lose it, before you see red or see nothing at all, there is a point, a moment, a chance for you to turn away. To stop looking at the person, to stop listening to the criticism and have a moment of pause before you respond. This is Proper Expression! IMPROPER EXPRESSION WILL LEAD TO AN UNNECESSARY EXPLOSION.

It isn't easy but it is possible. You can turn away from the noise and pollution that is driving your blood pressure up and find comfort. However, just turning away by itself will not work. After you turn away, you must turn too.

2. Moses turned to the Source of His Advocacy Vs 7-8

When you deal with the Experience of Anger and feel toe Expression coming, what do you turn to?
Some men turn to their Keys, I am leaving I am out of here don't want to here it
Some men turn to their TV, turn the volume up to drown the noise out
Some men turn to their bunker or man Cave for peace and solitude
Some men turn to their bottle to numb away the ability to hear and process the noise
Some men turn to their side chick or jump off for an oasis in their desert


There is more to this story but my Pastor taught me to always end on good news so I encourage you today, there is someone that wants to help you in your time of trouble but you have to turn to him. He wants to aid you and give you advice but you have to turn to him. He is waiting with open arms to exchange your disgust for His delight. Turn to him today


Monday, January 23, 2012

We Protect the Heavies

Tuskegee Airman were an elite group of African-American pilots in the 1940s. They were pioneers in equality and integration of the Armed Forces. The term "Tuskegee Airmen" refers to all who were involved in the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft.

The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air. The primary flight training for these service members took place at the Division of Aeronautics of Tuskegee Institute. Air Corps officials built a separate facility at Tuskegee Army Air Field to train the pilots. The Tuskegee Airmen not only battled enemies during wartime but also fought against racism and segregation thus proving they were just as good as any other pilot.

Racism was common during World War II and many people did not want blacks to become pilots. They trained in overcrowded classrooms and airstrips, and suffered from the racist attitude of some military officials. The Tuskegee Airman suffered many hardships, but they proved themselves to be world class pilots.

Even though the Tuskegee Airmen proved their worth as military pilots they were still forced to operate in segregated units and did not fight alongside their white countrymen. The men earned the nickname "Red Tail Angels" since the bombers considered their escorts "angels" and the red paint on the propeller and tail of their planes.

My mind has been racing since I left this movie. I thought, "Our churches, our ministries would be so much better if we learned how to PROTECT THE HEAVIES. Instead of receiving glory for ourselves, building a name for us individually, instead of becoming known as the ACE or master Pilot, we learned to work together, fly together, and protect the assignment given to us.

Just like the Red Tails who escorted the bombers, we in the church should be protecting the angels that come in our doors every day. It is our job to protect them so that they might be able to make a rational and intelligent decision about accepting Christ as their Savior. Yes your name may not be called, Yes you may not get the chance to have an appreciation service in your honor, yes it sometimes is a thankless job, but we so need people who will sacrifice their glory for some one's else greater good.

We Protect the Heavies. People with broken hearts, people with wounded spirits, people shattered by loss of life, job and income, people who have been abandoned and discarded by life and who feel like no one cares. We protect the Heavies.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Red Tails Trailer: Courage

I just left the Men's Fellowship with Macedonia where we grabbed our young men of the church and tried to start a monthly fellowship with them where we go out, eat, talk, share, watch a game, see a movie but more importantly give our time and our presence to them.

I recognize that is is not often when Hollywood will show a movie depicting African-American men in a positive light. Before anyone sends me an email or calls me to tell me I am becoming too sensitive, just think about it and you will see, there aren't many examples of a positive African-American man shining forth from the Big Screen. Pimps, murderers, robbers, rapists, crooks abusive husbands, dead-beat dads, those are abundant but surely that isn't the sum total of the Black experience for men.

I would recommend everyone regardless of race or gender go see this movie. I was amazed how many of our young people knew very little about The Tuskegee Airmen. This movie left our men's group with a lot to talk about over the weeks to come. Some I hope to share on this blog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It Came to Pass, Not to Stay

Luke 24:4—And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

The scriptures use the phrase, "it came to pass" in 452 different places, that my friend is a lot of times for one particular phrase to be mentioned. It should give us much peace to realize that no matter what the situation, it came to pass, not to stay; you can find great consolation in that fact.

No matter how dark the day, no matter how long the night, it only came to pass, never to stay. It does not even matter how horrible the news, how terrible the pain, how horrific the results, it too shall pass. The good news is that our heavenly father is in control, no matter the situation, no matter the despair, no matter how dire the circumstances may seen, this too shall pass.

I can expect some to say, but you do not understand, this may take us to the graveyard, yes it very well may take you there my friend, but remember this, the graveyard is not the end, it is really the beginning. As my uncle was getting ready to pass on over to the other side, he asked his brother if thought that he would feel the sting of death?

After a great pause, my other uncle told him he did not know, he never experienced death, but he assured him of one thing, he would not have to cross over alone, he would have a friend and a guide. Our heavenly father will not abandon us, he has not brought things our way to stay, and he will see that they pass, they may not pass by swiftly, but my friend they will pass.

What are you facing today, does it seem to have settled in, seemingly never to go away, don't worry, fret not, it will come to pass. One day you will look back and realize that your heavenly father brought you through safely, the storm paused momentarily, but it pass eventually.

Cantrell's Jewels for the Journey.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lessons From a Snowstorm

I count my time here as the Pastor of the Macedonia MB Church by the seasons. I am going through my 4th winter season here on my way to my 5th Spring if the Lord allows me to see it. It has been a very mild winter up here so far. Last year this time, I had already seem almost 80 inches of snow, 34 inches in one day.

This year it has been very mild, temperatures above freezing in January, the flu season was here in January instead of April, not a normally winter at all. However God returned order in our section of the world and we received a normal snow storm. As the snow fell yesterday, last night and even this morning, God reminded me of some lessons that snow storms teach me.

1. There will be times in your life where you will get dumped on!

Go to bed, life is fine, wake up in the morning and you are covered. Death, Bills, Terminations, sickness, flu, theft, fire and flood, it can happen overnight. It would be OK if it just came in small doses but sometimes it comes in a good ole fashioned dumping. It won't stop, it won't quit, the snow machine of your life is blowing and there is no escape.

2. Just like snow is quiet when falling, many times your problems give you no advance notice!

My son woke up this morning and was amazed by how much snow had fallen overnight. He said, "I didn't hear nothing". Well that's snow! It's not a thunderstorm that will come with an announcement of boom and the fireworks of flash, snow is silent. Many of our problems are the same way. No boom, no flash, no warning, no announcement. We didn't see it coming! The job looked good, health seem fine, marriage seemed strong, car ran fine yesterday, them BAM here it comes.

3. When the snowstorm hits, you have to learn how to dig yourself out of your situation!

We can't control what life throws our way nor can we control how much will come. All we can do is when we get buried beneath our problems, our burdens, our bills, our heartaches and our headaches, we learn how to dig out.

When I was taking my son to school, when we opened the door, the entrance to the garage was filled with snow that had drifted up the wall of the garage creating a fort of snow blocking my way out. My son, ever the lazy young man, said "oh well, we are stuck, guess I am not going to school". I immediately handed a shovel in his hand and secured mine and said, Let's start digging.

Did we remove all of the snow? NO! Did we make a perfectly clean path? NO! What we did was dig a small passage so we could see, then another small passage so we could navigate, and then dug another passage so I could turn. Piece by piece, shovel by shovel, we dug our way out.

That is what you must do, when you get dumped on, DIG OUT. Don't hide in your bunker, don't stay secluded in your shelter, DIG OUT. Piece by piece, space by space, it will get better, it will become clear.

4. When you dig our, help someone else who is still stuck inside!

A youth minister by the name of Eric who at the time worked at the Granger Community Church taught me this principle. Last year during our record 38 inches of snow following in a 24 hour period, I watched him. He diligently and effortlessly cleaned off his driveway, then he went to his neighbor's house and cleaned their driveway off and then he went to another. His work ethic convicted me so I put on my boots and snow suit, grabbed my shovel and went to help.

I asked him why he was doing this for his neighbor. He told me I am originally from Florida. I had never seem snow like this. My first year, I was stuck, ill prepared to deal with what had hit me and God sent my neighbors to dig me out so now its my turn to help someone in need.

The miracle kept repeating itself! After a while. another neighbor came with a shovel and then another and another, all of us saw someone working and decided to come help. If God frees you from what was dumped on you, maybe you ought to go and help someone else dig out of what's been dumped on them.

Hope this helped someone, got my second wind, have some more shoveling to do here at the church.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tattoo Parlor Ministry


A Michigan pastor who says he's doing everything he can to reach out to people who don't feel comfortable at a traditional house of worship has opened a tattoo parlor inside his church.

Rev. Steve Bentley of The Bridge, a church located inside a Flint Township shopping center, said his ministry is built on the belief that mainstream religion has become ineffective and irrelevant to most people. To that end, he opened Serenity Tattoo.

Tattoo artists Ryan Brown and Drew Blaisdell work by appointment or from noon until 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday, at the county-licensed tattoo shop that sits not far from Bentley's office as well as the watering trough that he uses for baptisms.

Bentley, who has two tattoos, said he understands some don't like the idea of Serenity Tattoo inside the church, but the pastor considers tattooing a "morally neutral" practice that he likens to getting one's ears pierced.

"We are about doing church in a different way and being relevant to people," Bentley told The Flint Journal. "You can get a tattoo in a clean environment. You can do it while still sticking to your moral code."

Brown is a recovering alcoholic who said the atmosphere inside the church building has helped to keep him focused and on the right path.

"I was running my own studio. I was just working. There wasn't much purpose in it," he said. "I was struggling with whether I could keep my studio" and stay sober.

"I prayed a lot and decided the best thing was to close it and come to the church. I figured I could have a lot more positive impact" here, Brown said.

The church owns 30,000 square feet inside the Flint-area shopping center. Bentley said about 1,000 people call The Bridge their home church, and up to 500 in total attend his three weekend services.

The pastor makes an effort to talk to all who visit Serenity Tattoo, he said, although not all end up checking out the church.

St. Augustine helps me here: In things that are ESSENTIAL, let there be unity, in things that are NON-ESSENTIAL, let there be liberty but in ALL THINGS, let there be love.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Does Hope Do

What Does Hope Do For Mankind?

Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope believes when evidence is eliminated.Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.

Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship when no on is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking. Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging. Hope dares to give when no one is sharing. Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.-

John Maxwell from Think on These Things –

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I am an Introvert

I read an article today from a man I had the opportunity to meet while serving in Oklahoma by the name of Ron Edmondson. I have followed his ministry whether through Twitter or his blog or his devotional site but this article that was published through the Better Preaching Update that I receive from sermoncentral.com has blessed my life.

I never thought of myself as an introvert but now I realize I am. I have been talked about and criticized by other/fellow Pastors for not always wanting to go to the golf range or bowling alley to talk shop. Many times after church I just want to go home and sit and think, revisit and replay. To be honest, I always have thought (and still do) that something is wrong with me, that I am not as social as other people.

I hope this article he has written will be a blessing to you as much as it was to me. Please check out his ministries at http://ronedmondson.com/ and http://mustardseedministry.com/

I am an introvert. With all my public appearances on Sunday mornings, this surprises many people. But in my private life and with those closest to me, there is no questioning that fact. If anything, the larger our church has grown, the more introverted I have become. I wish I were otherwise, but this is how I am wired.

Here are 7 pitfalls of being an introverted pastor:
1. People often think I’m arrogant, aloof, or unfriendly. Now, I may be a lot of negative things, but those are not really the main three. I sometimes have to go back and apologize once I hear someone thinks I avoided them. This happens especially with extremely extroverted people.

2. I sometimes hesitate to make the connections I should and miss opportunities to build my network.

3. I’m worn out after a long day of talking and need time alone to rejuvenate, which can impact my family time if I’m not careful. It also leads to people at the end of the day telling me I look tired…guess what? I am!

4. Crowded rooms, which I love in terms of reaching people for Christ, are actually intimidating to me as a person.

5. I’m not as quick-witted when in crowds, and when I try to be, I sometimes appear awkward on first impressions.

6. I realize the need to talk with people…it’s what I do, but wrestling through the introverted tendencies actually adds even more stress to my life.

7. If I’m not careful, and thankfully I’m fairly disciplined here, I will close out people from really knowing me, which subjects me to all kinds of temptations, anxiety and even depression.

How’s that for transparency?

Are you an introvert? Do you see how it impacts your work?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Manasseh and Ephraim Part 2

Until a person makes peace with his past, it is impossible to properly proceed to you future. We can escape the place where we were born, the people who mistreated us, the school mates who teased us and the church members who maligned us. It is possible to move to a new city, obtain a new job, secure a new family and create new memories but until you properly deal with your past, it will impede your future and cloud your present.

God is such a good God that he gave Joseph this chance by giving him a Manasseh Miracle. He caused him to forget the pain of his past. This blessing allows you to remember the event without the effects of the experience. The things you used to cry about when you remembered them, God can help you cry no more. The memories upon reflection that made you cringe now don't bother you as much because has eased the sting and removed the weight.

This blessing is enough that we have reason to shout just on this; however, God gave Joseph a second blessing. Hod gave Joseph an Ephraim Experience. Ephraim means fruitful, twice fruitful, double blessed; he has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.

I must admit this blessing confused me. It seemed like an oxymoron. Like Jumbo Shrimp! A huge guy name Tiny! Fruitful and affliction shouldn't be in the same sentence, in fact it shouldn't be in the same thought process.

The testimony of the Ephraim experience is God made Joseph fruitful IN THE LAND of my affliction, my sorrow, my rouble, my grief. Whatever translation you pull, it still lends to the same tension of the text. God did not bless him outside his affliction, He blessed Joseph IN IT.

Many times we spend a lot of our prayer time asking God to remove the things we do not understand. We ask God to change this, fix this, solve this. If we have uncooperative co-workers, we ask God to move them or get us another job. If the area we live in no longer seems like the place for us, we ask God to find us another place. We pray for the Favor of God to move on our behalf and remove the pains that we deem unnecessary, the problems we think are are unneeded and the people we believe to be

God in his infinite wisdom teaches us He doesn't have to change our surroundings in order to bless us. He can bless us in it. God can give you more money in you check without a raise. He can give you a new car experience within the confines of the same vehicle you were driving.

Therefore, the Ephraim experience seems to suggest that our blessing comes not running from our afflictions but rather it comes when we become planted in God while going through our afflictions. He blesses us not when we get out or before we go in But God is so powerful he can bless us right IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR SITUATIONS.

The wonderful wisdom of God's Word is the fact He gives us witnesses to teach us how He works. Whether it's Daniel in the lion's den, the three Hebrew Boys in the fiery furnace, the Disciples on the ship in the middle of a storm or Paul and Silas in jail, clearly we learn that God is not limited by our circumstances. He can bless us where ever and however he chooses to do so.

Even in our desert experiences, God can give us an oasis. With limited funds, God can still allow us to sit at the Kings table. We can be promote to Prime Minister of the Palace even though we started out in the Pit and Prison.

God can give us an Ephraim Experience and make us fruitful in the land of our afflictions.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Manasseh and Ephraim Part 1

Happy New Year to all of you I haven't talked to in this forum. I pray God's best for you in 2012. I am looking forward to what God has in store for the Macedonia Church in 2012. I pray this week as I settle back into the office routine that I will share with you some things about vision casting and teamwork but for today I want to revisit where the Lord led me to share for Watch Night and New Year's Day service.

I shared with the Macedonia Church from Genesis 41: 51-52. English Standard Version (ESV)51 Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father's house.” 52 The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

Manasseh means "he who causes to forget"; however this forgetfulness was not amnesia. Joseph still remembered the incidents but what God helped ease was the Pain from the procedure. Many times we replay events over and over in our minds, reliving the pain, replaying the problems, rehearsing each part until we injure ourselves all over again.

We pick the scab off wounds that are trying to heal causing our bodies to become infected all over again. Joseph had thirteen (13) years of hardship in Egypt to forget: the jealousy of brothers, the selling into slavery, Potiphar's wife and time in the jail. Lots of time to review and replay, to relive and reexamine and if you are not careful maybe even re injure yourselves.

God gave him a Manasseh Miracle. He took the pain away. There are some events in life we will NEVER get over but by the grace of God we can get THROUGH IT. By taking the pain away from the incident, it goes from being a trial to a testimony, a burden to a blessing, a problem into a provision, a dilemma into a deliverance.

Many of you are praying this 2012 will be a better year for you Spiritually, financially, mentally but be sure you are not carrying excess weight in from the previous years. 13 years of hardship, 13 years of mistreatment, 13 years of lies and deceit, 13 years of unrealized dreams and frustrating treatment, 13 years of seemingly being stuck in a dead-end job, 13 years of a frustrating family! For you, God has a MANASSEH MIRACLE. He can cause you to forget.

It allows you to give the Benediction to your Foes.---Somethings, Some People, Some Problems, Some burdens you have to say goodbye to. I have carried you long enough, we have traveled together too long, we have spent too much time together, It;s time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the pain of the hurtful family member, the disappointing church member.

It is impossible to move into your future or even adequately deal with your past until you confront your past. Some baggage can't go with you into your new blessing. God will give you a MANASSEH MIRACLE.

MANASSEH is also the Beginning of forgetfulness. It doesn't happen overnight. It took time to conceive. It took time to develop, it took time to shape in the womb of your life but when the fullness of time has come, Forgetfulness will be birthed into your beginnings. You wake up and you no longer see today in the tint of yesterday's failures. You no longer look at all men as the last man or all women as the last woman or all churches as the last church. TODAY IS A NEW DAY.

You start to see how God allowed people not to destroy you but develop you. You begin to Praise God because you recognize the vehicle that transported me to this place is the same vehicle that now allows me to RIDE IN THE SECOND CHARIOT.

In this forum, I have written too much about Manasseh so I will write about Ephraim separately but just know that Ephraim is the Blessing of Fruitfulness. Manasseh takes away the pain from you past but Ephraim makes you fruitful in your Present Position. I missed the chance in the delivery to share what I wanted to because I became way too involved in the delivery of the sermon; however i wanted to say:

I've had many tears and sorrows,I've had questions for tomorrow,there's been times I didn't know right from wrong.But in every situation,God gave me blessed consolation,that my trials come to only make me strong.

Through it all,through it all,I've learned to trust in Jesus,I've learned to trust in God.Through it all,through it all,I've learned to depend upon His Word.

I've been to lots of places,I've seen a lot of faces,there's been times I felt so all alone.But in my lonely hours,yes, those precious lonely hours,Jesus lets me know that I was His own

I thank God for the mountains,and I thank Him for the valleys,I thank Him for the storms He brought me through.For if I'd never had a problem,I wouldn't know God could solve them,I'd never know what faith in God could do.