Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday Stuff-July 4, 2010

To quote LL Cool J, "DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK"!!!

With all of the first semester of seminary out of the way, I can finally get back to writing more consistently as a means of simply putting on paper (computer screen) my thoughts and visions about ministry and my life. This blog has always been a source of therapy for me and I need to get back to it.

Well we are thisclose to beginning the heavy lifting on the renovations for our new location, with an anticipated move in date for the first Sunday in September. GOD BE PRAISED!!!!

Our contractor has begun some preliminary removal of things on the inside of the building, but it appears that this week construction will begin full speed ahead, and I for one cannot wait.

Our church has been in this transitional stage for at least 2 years and we need to get this building up and running so that we can begin to make a greater impact on the kingdom in Newark, NJ.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of preaching for my good friend and adopted Godfather Pastor Aaron N. Gibson and the Second Baptist Church, Long Branch, NJ for their 7:30 service and the Lord really blessed the worship.

Please keep Pastor Gibson in your prayers for God to heal his health issues.

I made it back, albeit a little late, for our 10 AM worship at First Mount Zion and I had no idea what to expect from the attendance. While the attendance was wayyyyy down, those who showed up exhibited a great participation in worshipping the Lord.

Jamaal Goodley blessed us in praise & worship, and our Minister of Music, Kadeem Turner, was in tuned to what the Spirit was doing in worship, which was exemplified in his selection of songs throughout the service, in spite of the logistical issues with the people we share our building with and their equipment. God be praised for commitment to excellence no matter the difficulties.

I began a new summer series entitled the Parables of Jesus, in which we began with the parable in Matthew 20:1-16 on the laborers in the vineyard. I labeled the message "Is God Unfair?" I plan on posting the outline in tomorrow's post.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Powerful Week

Hello Blog Family!

It has indeed been a real long time since we have shared with you. My first semester at Drew Theological Seminary has been a real big adjustment with regards to the workload and time constraints, so I have not been able to adequately put the proper time to my blog. I pray that you all would understand.

This past week was one of the most powerful and refreshing weeks I have spent away from home in a very long time.

I began the week traveling to Corpus Christi, Texas to preach once again for my brother and fellow blogger Kevin Pullam at the Friendship Baptist Church, for their April Word Experience Revival held every Tuesday thru the month of April. Kevin was once again a great host and brother.

The Lord really blessed the service! Got a chance to hang out with our blog Momma and Pops Pullam, who have been a real blessing to me both in person and with their prayers, and I am extremely grateful for being accepted in the Pullam Family.

Pastor Arthur Lane of the St. Matthew's Baptist Church who has continued to be a brother beloved and I appreciate his friendship for hosting when Pastor Pullam was unavailable. Pastor Eric Tarver also extended a friendship to me and I anticipate that growing.

I left Corpus on Wednesday, spent a few hours with Penny, and then Thursday afternoon, I boarded another plane headed to Los Angeles to preach for my brother and fellow blogger, Pastor Barry Severe at the Cathedral of Praise Community Church, for their first Anniversary Revival.

Barry Severe started this work 1 year ago Easter Sunday morning and I am proud of the hard work he is putting in to reach his community for Jesus and attempting to make a difference. Pastor Charles Harris of the Village Baptist Church was kind enough to pick me up from the airport and take me directly to church, to hear Pastors Elton Johnson and Xavier Thompson, because I wanted to be a part of the entire revival and not just on the day I preached.

My good friend Pastor George Hurtt, who succeeded Pastor HB Charles Jr. as Pastor of Mt. Sinai gave the lecture before I preached on Friday and he was not kind at all to his friend (LOL). He gave a powerful lecture on The Parable of Jesus on the Rich Fool found in Luke 12:13-21. George Hurtt is a BEAST in the pulpit.

Saturday Barry took me over to my brother Pastor Clinton Smith's house to have a cook-in with his family (my family too) Tracey, Kari, Aysia and Jimmy. (Miles would rather spend his time at the skating rink chasing girls than hang out with his uncle Lance LOL). I had a great time helping my niece Aysia fix her phone because her daddy don't know how.

Sunday morning the Lord really blessed us at Cathedral of Praise, which was amazing to me since Barry took me church hopping to hear George Hurtt @ 8 and Pastor Reginald Payne @ 9:30 and they both really blessed me with their expositions. God be praised for brothers who are committed to exposition.

Clinton Smith preached his face off @ 3:30 for Barry Severe! and he sang Oh How I Love Jesus and killed that too!

We topped off the night with a trip to my favorite LA eating spot....Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles!!!! Barry and his wife Myssee; Clint, Tracey, Aysia & Miles (he finally decided to show up); me and Rev. Anthony Thompson (another brother beloved). Thank God for chicken, waffles, eggs and potatoes smothered in gravy (Shondo!!!!!!!)

The best news of the entire trip was that while I was flying to LA on Thursday, our church's Trustee Chairman was signing the closing documents on our new building in the city of Newark, NJ.

This has been a long and tedious journey but God is faithful to those who trust in Him! We still have to renovate the building, but it belongs to the First Mount Zion Baptist Church! Hey Glory!!!!!!

Please keep us in your prayers as we attempt to build God a Kingdom in the South Ward!!!!!

I am happy to be back home to Penny after a long week. God be Praised!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Stuff

Happy New Year to all of you my "blogging family," God has certainly been real good to each of us over the last 12 months. The reality is that we may not be where we want to be, may not have the type of church or ministry that we want to have, may not affect the lives that we desire to, but the truth is that God has kept us through this past year and we all ought to be grateful for the keeping power of the Almighty.

There have been a lot of things going on in my life since the last time we shared together in November, too numerous to mention today, but I will refer to a couple of them in this post. Our church is finally standing on the precipice of realizing our dream of securing a new location for us to worship in. This has been a two-year journey, filled with ups and downs, peaks and valleys, promises made to us, only to discover they were lies all the time. I wanted to give up, but the Lord led me to guide his people to this point, so I couldn't let it go. We stand today, approximately one month away from owning the building and roughly two months away from moving in and having our first worship service. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!

I have been inundated with schoolwork as I am two weeks away from completing my credits to receive my Bachelor's of Arts degree in Humanities from Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ. Taking online courses have been a humbling and great experience, but I have decided to never, ever take classes online again, it is too much work!

The best part of that story is this; I have also been accepted into the Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies program at Drew University Theological School that begins on January 25th. This is a 44 credit program that will take about two years and allow me to apply for the PhD program in Philosophy by 2011. Please pray for me as I attempt to keep pressing with my education. I will be attending class so now I have to get used to fixing my schedule accordingly.

Yesterday we had a great time in worship at the First Mount Zion Church. The music ministry was off the chain, Jamaal really led us in praise and worship yesterday. Kadeem and Dayshawn were on their games as well.

This year as our church prepares to relocate, our focus has to be on the growth of our ministry. So our thematic emphasis for this year is "Just Jesus." Jesus provides us with the key to growing the church when he stated, "and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself." If we do our part and lift up Jesus, he will do his part to draw people to himself and to the church.

So on yesterday, we began a new series entitled "The Supremacy of Jesus," which is a study through the book of Colossians. This book focuses on the central theme that Jesus is sufficient and superior to any other being ever created. The Lord allowed us to preach Col. 1:3-8 which I labeled "An Appreciation For the Gospel", in which Paul is celebrating and thanking God that this church remained faithful to Jesus because of what they heard and believed through the preaching of the Gospel. There were false teachers in that church who were preaching a message of gnosticism, which was a combination of Eastern philosophy and Jewish legalism. Paul says that I am thanking God through my celebration for your continued commitment to Jesus based totally on your faithful to the Gospel.

Please keep our church, their Pastor and the new series in your prayers. I will be posting the outline from yesterday's exposition tomorrow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Speaking @ First Goodwill BC, Los Angeles, CA

Hello Blog Family! I know it has been a long time since my last post, but a lot has been going on, both good and bad, but the good will always outweigh the bad. Since my last post, I have registered for school to complete my Bachelor's Degree at Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey. I am taking a full course load of 15 credits, as that's all I need to complete my degree. I need to let you all in on a little secret: this is very hard (LOL). My time has been off and I am struggling with sticking to a strict schedule. Please pray for me!!!!

This weekend, I had the privilege of preaching for our blog brother, Pastor Clinton Smith, to help him celebrate his 7th Pastoral Anniversary, and it was an amazing experience. Pastor Smith, has proven to be a brother beloved from a 3000 mile distance, and he solidified that characteristic, in the excellent manner he hosted me this weekend. His wife Tracey, children Cari, Aysia and Miles, and his grandson Jay, endeared themselves to me like they knew me for years. I am deeply overwhelmed by their graciousness and love.

I attended an anniversary concert on Friday, that was explosive in worship. The groups that participated all sang original material and they really blessed my socks off. There was one group in particular, One Voice, sent us on a journey of worship that was incredible. For the entire concert, I sat next to the mother of Pastor H.B. Charles, Mrs. Ellen Charles, who is also Pastor Smith's Mother in law, and let me tell you, she is an absolute joy to be around. I was extremely blessed to have this experience.

On Saturday morning, Pastor Smith gathered a vast collection of local pastors to come for a breakfast/meet and greet with me and these brothers were extremely hospitable and warm. Many of them are our blog brothers such as Pastor Ronald Saunders, Pastor Barry Severe, Pastor F. Demond Harris and Pastor Reginald Payne & others. What started out as simply a breakfast that should have lasted a couple of hours, turned into a powerful session of sharing, encouragement and prayer for the brethren that lasted well over 8 hours. God be praised for the fellowship of like-minded brothers.

Later that night, I ran into another blog brother who was on vacation with his wife Latonya, my friend and brother from Corpus Christi, TX, Pastor Kevin Pullam. It really made my heart feel good to see them. They were spending money all over the place, in a 5-star hotel and eating caviar (LOL). Seriously, they are extremely loving people and I am blessed to call them family.

Sunday morning we shared with Pastor Smith and the First Goodwill church, a message of encouragement from Prov. 3:5-6 entitled When Life Makes No Sense. In the afternoon service, many churches and pastors came to help celebrate and the Word was preached by Bishop Richard Sanders, who preached a powerful message from Phil. 4:19 labeled How To Get Your Needs Met. He preached his face off. Pastor Payne's Praise and Worship Team were powerful. All told, this was just a great weekend. Please pray for the continued growth and development of Pastor Clinton Smith and the First Goodwill Church Family.

I had a great time, but now I am glad to be home as I have schoolwork and a church to grow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Frustrated With America

My fellow bloggers, I have agonized over and over again for the last few weeks about providing my thoughts and convictions about what is going on with our country since August. The main reason why I have been so hesitant to write this post was how much politics polarized this blog family during last year's election, but I believe that we are all mature enough and we should be Christian enough to talk about what goes on in the secular world because it has effects on our spiritual world.

As a black Christian man in America, I am thoroughly appalled by the venom that has and still is being spewed by Republicans, especially those who saw they are Christians. To hear a Steven Anderson, Pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church of Phoenix, AZ, stand up in his pulpit and declare that God has told him that since God hates President Obama, then he wants everyone of his members to hate President Obama.

He further stated that he prays every day and every night that President Obama would attract cancer and die! What kind of pastor would say something so openly racist and ungodly to impressionable members, many of new are probably new converts to Christ, and still call himself an ambassador of Jesus Christ? The problem that I have is with pastors who know how sinful this kind of vitriol is, sit silent and refuse to rebuke this type of sinful talk.

His argument and others like his, is the President's views on abortion, and for the record, I am against abortion, however I do believe that this is the choice of a woman's to make and not the government. She will have to answer to the Lord for her decisions just like any other sin she may commit. If their objection to his view on abortion is that scripture tells us that God considers killing to be a sin, then isn't it killing and a sin when racist Christians kill innocent Christian black men/women/children? And isn't it the job of pastors to call sin out wherever sin is present?

Where in scripture does it say that it is okay for one group of people to discriminate against another group of people because of their ethnicity or their race? CALL ALL SIN WHAT IT IS, SIN!

One of the conflicts I am faced with is that many of these pastors who are talking about abortion are people who's thoughts on scripture have helped to shape my personal preaching, yet while they are not openly doing what Steve Anderson is doing, they surely are not talking against what he is doing on their broadcasts.

Please remember, President Obama is not a muslim, nor is he anti-Christian, but he took the same walk down an aisle that we all did, and he is a child of the same God that we serve!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunday Stuff

This past Lord's Day was another example of the grace of God in our lives. For some reason I had apprehension about the impending worship on Saturday evening and I couldn't understand it for the life of me.

Maybe it was because I was not totally comfortable with my work on the message, as I felt that I was leaving something out or putting too much stuff in. So I attempted to pare it down and spruce it up, but no matter which way I leaned, I still did not feel comfortable with my attempts to write a solid message. So I went to bed praying that wherever I fell short, that the Lord would give the increase.

I will say that my shortcomings were eradicated by the Lord really showing up and being a great blessing to our congregation. My voice was not at it's best, so I made no attempt to close the message in my normal fashion, and I found out that if we as Pastors/preachers do our part and leave the rest up to Jesus, the people will be blessed by His Word.

The music ministry was excellent as usual, and I led the congregations in singing one of my favorite hymns, Pass Me Not, and let me tell you, songs like that can really be a blessing to the hearts of God's people, especially when you consider the words of the song. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by. That phrase shouted me, because when I think about all of the people that God has to look after and answer prayers, he still has enough love for me to come by and see about me. What a God!

Lately I have been thinking seriously about going back to school to finish my undergrad work and immediately go on to begin Masters degree work. So I along with my good friend Eddie Spencer, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Nutley, NJ, traveled to Philadelphia to take a tour of Palmer Theological Seminary.

I chose Palmer because the east coast is full of Seminaries, but they are mostly ultra-liberal in their theology, and I wanted to go to a conservative school that puts its mission and teaching on a strict adherence to the Word of God, and Palmer is that place. I am going to complete my undergrad work by January (only need 13 credits) and prayerfully begin the Masters of Theological Studies program at Palmer. Please keep me in your prayers.

One last thing, my family needs your prayers, one of my older cousins, Samuel Mann Jr, passed away yesterday morning and his funeral services are this Saturday. Please keep his wife and children in your prayers.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Song of Assurance

Text: Psalm 121:1-9

Thesis: God is our universal and essential source that will provide all of the help we need in our times of trouble

I. Assured of God's Supportive Assistance

-verses 3-4...he will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber...behold he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep
-when we stand up for righteousness, God will never let our feet slip so that we will fall into the clutches of our enemies

a. support is vigilant - verse 3...he who keep you will not slumber...we can not stand one moment if the Lord ever falls asleep at the wheel in our lives...God will always be awake and alert as long as danger is around us

b. support is vicarious - verse 4...behold he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep...this suggests that God will not sleep on us because he is concerned about the welfare of his children

II. Assured of God's Sustaining Assistance

-verse 5-6...the Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand...the sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night
-these verses suggest that God will maintain his people when trouble arises in our lives
-this verse is impressive when you consider who's name is stamped on it...the previous verses imply who he is, these verses state that Jehovah is the author of our assistance

a. Bears Our Burdens - verse 5...the Lord is your shade on your right hand...during ancient battles, warriors carried a shield in their left hands and they fought with their right hands...God will bear the heat of battle so that we will be able to fight the devil with all that we have

b. Shelters Our Spirits - verse 6...the sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night...all day and night, we are under constant spiritual attack from Satan...and since Satan will not let up on the attacks, God will never let up on his protection

c. Preserve Our Psyche - verse 7...the Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life...God will preserve our souls which are the essence of our minds because if he can keep our souls, he can keep our entire lives...our souls are to be kept from evil, perversion and destruction and kept for the endless love of God

III. Assured of God's Stretching Assistance

-verse 8...the Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore
-this verse describes the scope of God's help...God doesn't put any limits on how far, how hard, or how much He is willing to provide all of the help that his children need
-God will meet us at our lowest point, at our worst times, when others walk out...God will be our great provider