Monday, June 30, 2008

Talking To Your Father

Yesterday I was able to continue our new sermon series on the model prayer housed in Matthew 6:9-15 with a look at the B clause of verse 9, Our Father in heaven. I was extremely excited and anxious for some reason to preach @ First Mount Zion yesterday. Maybe it was because I was away the previous Sunday, more likely it was my excitement in preaching this series on prayer. I totally prescribe to the notion that our church will grow both spiritually and numerically as long as the leaders and members of our church become committed completely to an active prayer-life designed to seek the power of God to change the climate of our church and add to the church daily.

In this discourse by Jesus known as the Sermon on the Mount, the Master sets out to show us how we gain citizenship to the Kingdom of God through a lifestyle of righteousness. The way we begin to gain this righteousness is to connect to the ruler of the Kingdom in which we are trying to attain access. We do this by communicating to God by calling him Our Father. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Matthew 6:9

Thesis: real, sincere prayers will always acknowledge the fact of the divine paternity of God in our lives

I. Father's Relationship is Exclusive

-verse 9...Our Father
-we can call God Father because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on Calvary that mended the separation between God and man

II. Father's Range is Expansive

-verse 9...Our Father
-by calling God Our Father, we are recognizing that he is not only our Father, but he is the Father of all that believe in Him

III. Father's Reach is Explosive

-verse 9...Our Father in Heaven
-because Our Father lives in heaven, he is able to supply all of our needs

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mid-Week Notes

-I returned this past Monday night from a wonderful experience at the Messiah Temple Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago where my friend and brother Dr. Keith McGee serves as the Pastor for their 43rd Church Anniversary. Dr. McGee and the Messiah Temple Church treated me fabulously and the worship was outstanding. Whenever I visit a church for the first time, I am a little uneasy about what to say to the people, but the Lord directed me to an exposition that I preached at the First Mt. Zion Church some time ago, found in I Kings 18:17-21 which I tagged When Standing Up Means Standing Alone. The crux of that text is that if a people is willing to stand boldly for God even if they must stand alone, God is willing to bring a great victory into their lives. The Lord showed up and blessed the meeting. Pastor Romell Williams preached an outstanding message out of Matthew 21 regarding Jesus overturning the tables of the temple when we rode into Jerusalem which he tagged When Jesus Came to Church. I am convinced that Romell is one of the best in this country and I am proud to call both he and Keith McGee my friends.

-While I was away, one of the prayer warriors of the First Mt. Zion Family, Suzie Williams, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday Evening. Miss Suzie was a great soul who always let me know that she was both keeping her eyes on me and praying for me at the same time. She had no problem telling me when she didn't agree with a decision that I had made, but on the flip-side, she told me as long as I said that my decision was God-directed, then she would support me. I am truly appreciative for her honesty and her support and I will miss her greatly. This will be the most difficult homegoing celebration that I had to do at the church since I have been there, when we send her home on Monday. Please pray for the Williams Family, the First Mt. Zion Family and for me.

-I want to raise a couple of issues that I would really love to hear some feedback from the blogging community. These issues have been brought to me this week and they are the idea of reincarnation and the idea of voting in new members into the church. I want us to begin a rich dialogue about both of these ideas.

-I am looking forward to continuing our new series on the Model Prayer this Sunday which I call God's Blueprint for a Prayer-Filled Life, with our attempt at exposition of the first phrase of this prayer, Our Father in Heaven, found in Matthew 6:9. Please pray for the series and for me that I remain faithful to biblical exposition, sound doctrine and my calling to preach the word with power and conviction.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quick Hits

-I am presently in my favorite city to travel to in this country, Chicago, IL where I will be blessed to preach in the morning for my friend Pastor Keith McGhee and the Messiah Temple Baptist Church for their 43rd Church Anniversary Celebration. I will be preaching during their 8 AM worship and have the joy of fellowshipping with one of my real good friends Pastor Romell Williams of the Lilydale Progressive Church as he preaches the 11 AM worship service. Pastors McGhee and Williams have always been great friends and brothers to me whenever we are in fellowship with each other, as we enjoy sitting around and discuss sermons and doctrine and church growth. Having friends like those are vital if Pastors are going to stay on the course that the Lord has charted for us, because it is true, iron sharpens iron (thanks Marvin Wiley). I am really nervous about the approaching preaching hour, but I am also excited each and every time I am afforted the honor to share my convictions about Jesus Christ. Please keep me in prayer and keep Messiah Temple's Celebration in your prayers.

-Please keep my friend and brother Pastor Keith Witherspoon and his entire family in your prayers as they must deal with the hurt and grief of the lost of his only Auntie Di Witherspoon. She was a great soul who always made me laugh whenever I was in her presence. I will miss seeing her when I travel to Northwest Indiana, but I do know that God has her wrapped in his loving arms for eternity. Spoon needs our prayers as he as the priest of his family, must preach the homegoing celebration, but I know that God will give him all of the strength that he needs to stand and deliver a word of encouragement and hope to his family. Bless you my friend.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Today Penny and I celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. I am grateful to the Lord for another year and I am looking forward to many, many more years. She is a wonderful woman who has, is and always will be an enormous asset to my ministry and my life.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Genesis of A Great Prayer Life

We began our new series on the Model Prayer housed in Matthew 6:5-13 which I tagged the series God's Blueprint For A Prayer-Filled Life, with an exposition on verses 5-8. This look at the Model Prayer is a part of Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount found in chapters 5-7. Jesus in this blueprint to prayer, shows us in verses 9-13 how to pray to our heavenly Father, but he opens this portion of his discourse in verses 5-8 by showing us how not to pray. I have discovered that we can learn more by being shown what not to do than we can do by being told what to do. The key to these 4 verses is found in the opening words of verses 5-7, when you pray. This suggests to us that Jesus assumes that anyone who says that they belong to God, already possess a prayer life. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Matthew 6:5-8

Thesis: the beginning of a great prayer life is birthed at the very moment you begin to pray

I. Great Prayers Must Be Secretive

-verse 6...but when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you
-this verse is a direct command against what he saw from others in verse 5...don't pray like the hypocrites
-Jesus did not have a problem with aspects of their prayer

a. measure of their prayers - they were praying
b. manner of their prayers - they were standing
c. ministry of their prayers - in the synagogues and street corners

-Jesus had a problem with the motivation of their prayers - that they may be seen by others
-charges them to pray in private

a. resident of our secret place - the Father
b. riches in the secret place - the Father will reward you

II. Great Prayers Must Be Simplistic

-verse 7...and when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words
-Jesus teaches us not to pray like the heathens, because heathens pray two ways

a. Repetitious Prayers - empty phrases
b. Ritualistic Prayers - empty phrases

-they do this to please men instead of God

III. Great Prayers Must Be Selective

-verse not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him

Sunday, June 15, 2008


May God bless each and every father on today. But we need to make sure we pay honor to the greatest Father ever, God Almighty.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Stuff

-Tomorrow I am beginning a new series on the Lord's Prayer found in the Gospel According to Matthew 6:5-13 which I am tagging this series God's Blueprint For A Prayer-Filled Life. In this season of excellence at our church, all of the preaching that the Lord has led me to present to our church this entire year has been on the common theme of getting our church to change the atmosphere from one of feeling second class to one of exhibiting an excellent attitude of service to the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomorrow we will be looking at verses 5-8 as the Lord lays the foundation for being a people of prayer before he gives us the blueprint on how to get there. I am excited and hopeful that the Lord will give me the strength to deliver this initial message of the series in the manner that he has given it to me. Please pray for both the series, the presenter and the people, that God will be praised and we will seek a change of our current condition.

-Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers in this world. This day has traditionally been bittersweet for me. My own father died when I was 5 years old, and I have been without him for the last 30 years, which I still feel is real tough for me. It is also the weekend that I married my wonderful wife Penny 8 years ago on June 17. I have 4 of the best sons that any man could ever ask for. Tory is a college graduate and doing very well working for Cablevision, Tony just finished his freshman year at Rutgers University and is taking this summer traveling throughout Northern California with friends and he has a great first year, Marquis just got promoted to the 10th grade and Devante is in the 8th grade. So I could not be more happier as a father than I am now.

-Tomorrow might also be the end of the road for my Lakers and Kobe Bryant. It will hurt if we lose, but it will be almost unbearable if it is the Celtics that beat us. But I am hopeful that we can make history and be the first team to come back from being down 3-1. As long as we have Kobe and Phil Jackson, there is always a chance to make history. We'll See!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Church That Made God Sick

This past Lord's Day we concluded our series on Jesus' letters to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor, called Strengthening the Foundations of the Church, with an exposition on the Church of Laodicea. It was this church, that the Lord used the strongest condemnation than any of the other 6 churches. Jesus, in his attempt to get them to understand this condemnation, uses their geographical location to explain to them his issue with this church. Laodicea sat in between two cities, Hierpolis and Colossae, whose responsibility was for one to funnel cold water into Laodicea and the other hot water into the city. When the cold water met the hot water, it naturally turned the water lukewarm, and if anyone drank of this lukewarm water it would make them sick and cause them to regurgitate. So Jesus says to them, just as you drinking lukewarm water makes you sick, lukewarm Christians make Him sick. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Revelation 3:14-22

Thesis: God desires a church that is willing to clearly define whose side they are standing on

I. A Church of Compromise

-verses 15-16...I know your works: you are neither cold not hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth

II. A Church of Confusion

-verse 17...For you say I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked

III. A Church That's Comforted

-verse 19...Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Stuff

-Wow, this has been a real long week, but I am so glad that Sunday will be here in the morning, because I just cannot wait to mount the pulpit of the First Mount Zion Church on tomorrow to share with the people that I love my total convictions about Jesus Christ and His Word. I possess this feeling due to the fact that on this week, I was able to sit and hear a man who is one of the best that this world has ever seen, in the person of Rev. H.B. Charles Jr., of Los Angeles, CA. H.B. was here preaching for my good friend Pastor Barron O. Wilson and the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Jersey City, NJ for their 57th Church Anniversary Revival, and H.B. totally hit the ball out of the park each and every night. I have been listening to H.B. preach for the last 12 years and I have heard him preach at least 25 sermons (conservatively speaking), however, his exposition on Job 1:20-22 which he titled, The Test of True Worship, was the best sermon I have ever heard. Thank you my friend for speaking directly to my heart on this week.

-Tomorrow I am concluding our series on the Lord's letters to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor entitled Strengthening the Foundations of the Church, with the seventh church, Laodicea. I am a little concerned about the exposition of this church, because the trip to this church is going to get a little rocky at our church, and I really want to do a good job on this so that the congregation will truly be able to see how a church is not supposed to conduct itself if it desires to be a church that is identified with Jesus Christ. Please pray for the message, the messenger and the members as we seek together what God has to say to us that will build up the foundation of our church.

-Starting next Sunday, which is Father's Day, I will begin a new series entitled God's Blueprint For A Prayer-Filled Life, an expositional journey through the model prayer found in Matthew 6:5-13. We will, through six messages that encompasses this prayer, seek to discover the manner and method that the Lord instructs us to attain a life that is filled with prayer. In accordance to our theme for 2008, Becoming A People of Excellence, God has led me to direct our church into taking a better posture of prayer. Jim Cymbala in his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, tells the story of how the once decrepit and drug-infested Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, was completely turned around, once he changed the atmosphere of the church into one of prayer. And as our church is striving for excellence and currently engulfed in a relocation project, we need the Lord to turn our situation around before we relocate so that when the new location comes, we are not surprised by the blessings of God, and we will be ready for the increase. Please keep our church in your prayers.

-One last thing, I am really happy that H.B. Charles is back in California, because he was a jinx on Thursday night for my Lakers, so now that he is back home, we will be ready to win on tomorrow night. They had better be.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is There Justice in the Church?

This past Saturday, the man who carries the title of Servus Servorum Dei, which in Latin is defined to mean the Servant of the Servants of God, Pope Benedict XVI, issued through the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, a decree stating that the Catholic Church emphatically refuses to allow any bishop to ordain women as priests, and the penalty for such as action will result in the automatic and immediate excommunication of both the woman and the bishops from the Catholic Church. People who are excommunicated from the church are forbidden from receiving the sacraments and sharing in public acts of worship.

My question is why is it that the most influential man in this entire world, can make such a decree about the ordination of women to the priesthood, with a threat of immediate excommunication, yet many male priests continue to operate in their duties as priests even though they have been found guilty of preying on young boys within the church. Where is the justice in that? What kind of message is that sending not only the members of the Catholic Church, but also to the entire world who is watching? That women can't be priests, but it is alright for known pedophiles will go untouched, a woman can carry the Word of God in her stomach for nine months, but cannot carry the Word of God in her mouth? Again where is the justice in the church?

There is a wonderful text in the bible, Isaiah 59:14, which says that justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for the truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. It would seem that the truth of the scriptures have failed to walk upright in the public as the Catholic Church stated that it cannot change the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ only chose men as his apostles. Well if that's true, that this biblical truth is saying that Christ only wanted men to speak his word, then I would want the Pope to explain to me Acts 2:16-17, which quotes the words of the Prophet Joel by saying, and in the last days, I (God) will pour out my spirit upon ALL FLESH; your sons and daughters shall prophesy.

Now I really want to be clear about something; I am not writing to argue the validity as to whether women should be allowed to preach. I am not even here to express my feelings about the sinfulness of homosexuality. But what I am here to express is the apparent hypocrisy that the Catholic Church is portraying by saying it is a sin to have women as priests, but it is seemingly okay for a predator chasing after young boys to perform sexual acts on them, to which the church is eerily silent.

As a Pastor of a Baptist Church, I would surmise that it is acts such as these that have caused unsaved people to reject the church as a viable option to the ways of this world. It is the purpose of the church to change this incorrect view of what Jesus calls the church and establish a proper way of promoting justice based solely on the truths of scripture and not a warped view based upon our own human desires. As the Prophet Amos says in 5:24, let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream (ESV).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Church the Lord Brags On

This past Sunday we were able to continue our series entitled Strengthening the Foundations of the Church, with our attempt at biblical exposition on the Church of Philadelphia. Jesus tells the Apostle John to write these letters to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor and the previous 5 churches we discover Jesus has something nice to say about them, but he spends most of the letters criticizing that church for their inadequacies as a ministry. But Philadelphia is the only church where Jesus offers them a total commendation for their faithfulness to the Lord in the face of their suffering and heavy attacks from the Roman Empire. Jesus is looking for a faithful church, a church that makes Christ the focus instead of themselves, a church that focuses on making the people better and not prosperity, a church that teaches people to love Jesus and one another. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Rev. 3:7-13

Thesis: any church that proves itself to be faithful to the Lord no matter the consequences will be a church that the Lord will brag on

I. Condition of the Church

-verse 8...I know your works...behold i have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut...I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name

a. Privilege They Enjoyed
-behold I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut

b. Power They Exhibited
-I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name

II. Challenges of the Church

-verse 9...Behold I will make those of the synagogues of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie

a. Challenge of Persecution

b. Challenge of Perseverance
-verse 10...because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth

c. Challenge of Protection
-I am coming soon...hold fast to what you have, so that no one may seize your crown

III. Comfort of the Church

-verse 12...the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God...never shall he go out of it and I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name

a. Comfort of His Stability
-I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God

b. Comfort of His Safety
-I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God

c. Comfort of His Security
-I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God