Monday, April 30, 2012

Everyone Needs Encouragement

Everyone needs encouragement! That's why the writer of Hebrews exhorts us to "... consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works" (Hebrews 10:24). The word "consider" is the Greek word katanoeo, a compound of the words kata and noeo. The word kata is a preposition that means down. It describes something that is moving downward and can also describe a dominating force. The second part of the word is the Greek word noeo, from the word nous, which refers to the mind.

When these two words are linked together, it means to thoroughly consider something; to think something through from the top to the bottom; to think hard about something; or to deeply ponder a matter. In other words, the word katanoneo does not represent a momentary shallow thought. A person engaged in this type of thought process is focused and concentrated. His attention has been completely captured, and he is seriously contemplating the matter at hand.

So when God urges us to "consider one another," He is saying we are to be so concerned about each other's welfare that we take time to regularly and seriously contemplate how we might encourage one another. If we truly care about the people in our lives, we should notice when their countenance has changed, when they don't seem as "up" as usual, or when they begin to skip church services. Because of our genuine care for others, we should make it our aim to think through from beginning to end the question of how we might become a greater source of blessing and strength for others.

The local church is designed by God to be a spiritual family where people sincerely love and are mindful of each other's needs. We should not only know each other's dream and desires, but we should pray often for those dreams to come to pass and check to see how things are progressing.

Church should be a place where everyone is committed to being a blessing to one another. If each member of a local church family took this approach, observing and contemplating each other's needs this thoroughly, it would be very hard for discouragement to find its way into the family of God. In fact, a situation like the one described above with the young missionary girl would almost be unheard of! Instead, Christians would be able to perceive when someone was starting to sink and begin to lift that person back up to a place of strength!

Therefore, Hebrews 10:24 could be taken to mean:
"Carefully observe one another, contemplating each other's situation and needs, diagnosing the other person's situation, and contemplating how you can stir him or her to love and good deeds."
We all like to be cared for and appreciated, but let's not forget that there are others around us who need encouragement just as much as we do. We shouldn't be led by our eyes only! Everyone who smiles isn't always happy.

If you'll be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and truly be concerned about the people who are close to you, God will show you when they need a special word to lift their spirits. Think how much it means to you when someone deliberately goes way out of his or her normal daily routine to let you know you are appreciated. Isn't it powerful when someone does this for you? Well, just as you need people who will love you, be sensitive to your needs, and support you when you are struggling through challenges or feeling tired and worn out, the people you encounter in your daily life have those same exact needs.

Sparkling Gems from the Greek.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finding Middle C

Psalm 62:1-8 (CEV) 1 (A psalm by David for Jeduthun, the music leader.) Only God can save me, and I calmly wait for him.
2 God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe and the fortress where I am secure.
3 I feel like a shaky fence or a sagging wall. How long will all of you attack and assault me?
4 You want to bring me down from my place of honor. You love to tell lies, and when your words are kind, hatred hides in your heart.
5 Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on him.
6 God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and he is the fortress where I feel secure.
7 God saves me and honors me. He is that mighty rock where I find safety.
8 Trust God, my friends, and always tell him each one of your concerns. God is our place of safety.
AUTHOR LLOYD DOUGLAS tells of a time that he lived in a boarding house as a university student. Below him, in the apartment on the first floor, lived an elderly retired music teacher. The man was crippled and unable to leave his apartment. Douglas said that he had a regular ritual he developed, mostly as a means of keeping an eye on his infirm friend. Each morning before school, Douglas would open the front door to the man's apartment and ask in a booming voice, "Well, what's the good news?"

The old man would pick up his tuning fork, tap it on the side of his wheelchair, and say, "That's middle C! It was middle C yesterday; it will be middle C tomorrow; it will be middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat, the piano across the hall is out of tune, but my friend, that is middle C!"

A lifetime in music had taught the old man one thing upon which he could depend. Everything else may change, but one constant will always remain: middle C.

If you've ever played in an orchestra, you know how important middle C is to the music. A fifty-piece ensemble could give a flawless performance on stage, but just let one lone trumpet play out of tune, and it ruins the entire concert. Orchestras depend on the constancy of middle C for the success of their composition.

Life is the same way. We need a true north on which we can depend. Something that will never change and never fail. Something constant, like God. "The mountains may depart and the hills disappear, but even then I will remain loyal to you. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,' says the Lord" (Isaiah 54:10). God is the middle C of life. He is the one note on which all others depend for success and continuity. If we set our instruments to him, our song will ring out pure and true. If we don't, we'll always find ourselves out of tune.

In a world of false ideas and scattered voices, it's nice to be part of an orchestra that plays faithfully to middle C.

In what ways is it comforting to know that God is faithful? How can you put your trust in him completely, instead of listening to other voices promising fulfillment?

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Unfailing God

April 25: An Unfailing God

Today's Reading: Hebrews 13:5-6
I will never fail you. Hebrews 13:5
A BATTLESHIP had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. Visibility was poor because the fog was thick and patchy, so the captain of the ship remained on the bridge, keeping an eye on all activities. Shortly after dark the ship's lookout reported seeing a light in the direction of the starboard bow. "Is it steady or moving astern?" asked the captain. "Steady, captain," came the reply. After further watch the captain knew that they were on a collision course with this other ship, so he called out to the signalman, "Signal that ship: We are on a collision course. Advise you change course 20 degrees."

"To you who share my faith and are willing to be faithful unto death, remember the promise."
Armageddon, 279
The signal was sent, and immediately one was returned. "Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees," was the response. The captain quickly had another signal sent. "I am a captain. Change course 20 degrees."
Once again a response came quickly. "I am a seaman second class. You had better change course 20 degrees."
By this time the captain was furious, and he barked another signal. "I am a battleship. Change your course!"
Back came a simple message. "I am a lighthouse." Needless to say, the captain changed his course. He knew that he could bark at the lighthouse all he wanted yet never cause it to move. Some things in life are constant and unchanging. They are the beacons that guide the rest of us throughout life.

God's faithfulness is like that. It is one constant that will never change, never give way, never move. Joshua says to his people, "Deep in your hearts you know that every promise of the Lord your God has come true. Not a single one has failed!" (Joshua 23:14). That sentiment echoes throughout the universe.
"I will never fail you. I will never forsake you," God promises us (Hebrews 13:5). We can bark and complain all we want, but in the end, we are the ones who will have to adjust our course. Because lighthouses don't move.

In what ways does Cod's faithfulness bring us confidence? Do you find comfort in knowing that he will never fail you?

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

University of Notre Dame Chapel Program 2012

Let me take this time to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Head Football Coach Brian Kelly; Ernest T. Jones, Director of Player Development and Engagement, Andre Gammage, Managing partner in the Law Firm of Berger&Gammage, Macedonia Trustee and member and soon to be next Probate Court Judge of St. Joseph County and the entire Notre Dame Athletic Department for choosing me to be one of the participants of the Fighting Irish Football Chapel program for 2012.

I was selected for the October 13th game vs. Stanford. I thank the above people for thinking enough of me to put my name in front of the selection committee, Chapel service is an opportunity to affirm and support the dedication and efforts of these young people so that all they do will glorify God and bring success to the team.

I know I believe in grace and mercy because candidates were chosen based on being a personal example of an on-going Christian walk and professional integrity that will have an impact on these athletes as well as a sincere, honest and upfront approach in bringing the gospel message to these student/athletes in a manner that they will understand and appreciate.

I thank the Macedonia Church Family for working with me as God is developing me into the type of vessel he can use. I guess I need to start thinking about what I would say to these student athletes. I am humbled by the opportunity and challenged to live up to the expectations of God for such a time as this.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Please stop for 168 seconds

At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, a 5,000-pound bomb, hidden inside a Ryder truck, exploded just outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosion caused massive damage to the building and killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children. Those responsible for what became known as the Oklahoma City Bombing were home-grown terrorists, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. This deadly bombing was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil until the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack.

It is a hard day for me but I am thanking God, praying, crying, laughing and trying to get through, but I remember.......................WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Perry Noble blessed me today

Monday is the day that most pastors/church leaders struggle…some call it the “holy hangover,” others call it “life!” So many are tempted to quit, give up and/or throw in the towel.
Don’t do it!
Don’t quit!
Galatians 6:9 is true about you!!!

I don’t know about you…but I have several quotes in my office, things I look at to challenge and inspire me…here is one I thought I would share because, well, it’s Monday!

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. Whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Don't Miss Today

Warren Wiersbe says that most Christians are being crucified on a cross between two thieves. The job of the thief is to steal, kill and destroy. Whether on our left side or right side, the plan of the thief is to rob us of the Pardon, Potential and Power of Today. The thief robs us by either making us concentrate on yesterday's regrets or by focusing on tomorrow's worries.

Every new day is God's personal pardon that he awards to us. While sleeping last night death was by our door waiting to take us. We all had done enough wrong on yesterday that we should be disqualified from seeing today but a call was placed to the Warden Love and Love came by our homes this morning and touched us with the finger of love and allowed us one more day. That's a pardon.
Every day is potential because of the Lord's mercy, we are not consumed for his compassion's fail us not, they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness. We can do better today then yesterday, we can change habits make better decisions, forge new destinies,

All of this is done by and through the Power of God. He gives us the Power of Today. Because the enemy is so scared of what you may do with this power, every morning the attack begins on  your life where the enemy will try and rob you, steal from you, life jack you, clutter and confuse your mind with chaos and cares that can make you miss your today.

The enemy reminds us of our yesterday. Our regrets, our mistakes, our errors, things we can not change, can not undo, the things we can't go back in time and rearrange but yet somehow wish we could. The Lord loves us so much he doesn't gives us a time portal; to go backwards, he gives us a time transport to go forward, THAT'S TODAY. We can fix our yesterdays TODAY.

Others of you have no problem with yesterdays. You can very easily turn the pages of life, move on to the next thing, the next situation but therein lies your problem. The thief robs you of your today by making you concentrate on your tomorrow. Some of you have already borrowed tomorrow's worries wearing it like a shade covering up today's sunshine.

Some of you can't turn your brain off when you get home, can't rest or sleep because your mind is racing, not about present things but tomorrow's things. You aren't even promised tomorrow and yet you are already consumed with it. Need a pill or a drink to try and shut down your brain from obsessing about it. It's the enemy trying to make you MISS YOUR TODAY,

Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow is not promised, all we have is Today, what you do with this day is completely in your hands. Although the enemy wishes to steal this from you, the B clause of the John 10:10 verse I quoted earlier But I being Jesus have come that you might life and have life more abundantly.
Jesus wants you to live in joy, peace and the freedom of today. This is why when the malefactor that had earlier railed against in with insults recanted his position and asked Jesus to remember him, Jesus says, TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE.

TODAY                                                 IMMEDIATE
YOU                                                      INDIVIDUAL
WILL BE WITHE ME                          INTIMATE
 PARADISE                                          ITINERARY

The Lord is still extending the same invitation to those who are willing to believe and access by faith the Pardon, Potential and Power of Today. Please Don't Miss Today, Tomorrow is not promised.


Monday, April 9, 2012

68th Annual OKC BMA Simultaneous Revival

I am in Oklahoma City worshipping with the New Hope Baptist Church and their Pastor the Rev Dr. EJ Tyson as their evangelist for this week. The New Hope Church is a church full of love and overflowing with ministry that is generated by the mercies of God under the vision of their Pastor.

Please pray with us that this revival would be a time of refreshing for Pastor, People and Preacher. On my way today catching the plane in Midway, I had a unique experience. The security checkpoint line was longer and larger than I have ever remembered. I usually don't fly at this time of day so I normally avoid the lines and traffic but today it caught me.

I was stuck in a line that wasn't moving forward and it seemed like I had an eternity before I would reach my check-in point yet alone security. I was becoming frustrated when all of a sudden God told me to look back.

It caught me as strange at first because we are supposed to look back, we are always pressing our way forward. Looking backwards takes momentum away from heading forward but clearly I heard God say again Look back. Since I was stuck and wasn't moving forward anyway, i followed instructions and looked back.

I was amazed at what i saw. Although it seemed like I hadn't gone anywhere, I had progressed a long way. NO, I wasn't at the goal but I wasn't where I had started out either. Instead of complaining about what I didn't have or where I wasn't, I started thanking God that he had brought me farther along than I realized.

I leave that with you today. If you are stuck in life, stuck on your job, stuck in you education, stuck in you finances, stuck in a dead end situation and it doesn't seem like it is getting any better, take a minute to look back. You will be surprised how far God has brought you, how much he has kept you, how many ways he has made and how many doors he has opened.

Although things may not be going as fast as you would like, the Lord is still keeping you and while you are waiting for the blessing God has for you, he is still preparing that blessing for you and in due season................................HEY GLORY, I feel that right there.

Pray for us this week,


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I will Never Let Go of His Hand

They said I wouldn't make it,
They said I wouldn't be here today.
They said I wouldn't amount to anything.
But I'm glad to say, that I'm on my way,
And I'm going more and more each day.
For there were many that started out with me,
But now, they've gone astray.
But I'm still holding on.
I'm still holding on.
I'm still holding to his hand.
You see when I was young, I gave God my hand,
And i told him to lead the way.
For the road has been rough
And the goings been mighty tough, still
I aint going Nowhere, I'm right here to stay.
For I've been talked about and Lord I've been criticized.
I had to wipe many tears from my eyes.
But I'm still holding on.
I'm still holding on.
I'm still holding on to his hand.

I'm still holding on.
Yes I'm still in God's holy plan.
And I'm still holding on.
And I'm bound for God's promise land.
Lord I'll never- never let go of your hand.
I became the Full-Time Pastor of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church April 6th, 2008, now by the grace of God, I am entering my 5th Spring still Pastoring this church. I woke up singing this song on Sunday and haven't been able to shake it since.

It is time for our 100 day campaign again where I sit down and meet one on one with every member of the church casting vision, creating vehicles for ministry and cultivating ventures that Macedonia must undertake.I am humbled and honored to still be here as Pastor. I tried to get thru this Sunday but became too emotional.......They said I wouldn't make it, They said I wouldn't be here today, said I wouldn't amount to anything.......................I'M STILL HOLDING ON, I WILL NEVER LET GO OF HIS HAND