Monday, July 28, 2008

God Will Provide

We continued our series on the model prayer on yesterday called God's Blueprint For A Spirit-Filled Life, with an exposition on the phrase uttered by Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:11 which he tells us to pray to our heavenly Father, give us this day our daily bread. This is a prayer of confidence that God will provide for us every thing we need to survive in this life. This is a word for somebody who thinks that God is too busy to care about the needs of people like us, but I thank God that we can go to God with complete assurance that if we ask for provision, He will provide for us. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Matthew 6:11

Thesis: believers of Jesus Christ must approach the throne of God with absolute assurance that he will meet every one of our needs

I. A Prayer of Contingency

-verse 11...give
-when we make this petition to the Lord, we are telling the Lord that we are totally dependent upon Him to provide for us

II. A Prayer of Community

-verse 11...give us
-for we are not isolated individuals who go to God with mere prayers that are only focused on our private concerns...we are a family and a community that finds pleasure in praying for somebody else

III. A Prayer of Commitment

-verse 11...give us this day our daily bread
-Jesus wants to teach us commitment to pray a prayer of reliance on the blessings of God day by day...God is committed to providing for us each and every day of our lives

I want to thank God for the ministry and the legacy of one of our greatest voices of the Christian Church of the 20th century, Dr. C.A.W. Clark, pastor of Good Street Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, who went home to be with the Lord on yesterday. Rest on Dr. Clark, we will see you in the resurrection.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blogging Is A Blessing!!!

I really wasn't going to write a post today, because I had a busy day of meetings lined up during the day and our District Association is in session this week, and I really wanted to get back to the study on our exposition of the model prayer. However, every day, I go by the blogs of my friends, both old and new, to see what's going on in their lives and ministries on a daily basis. I happened today to go by one of my new friends' blog, Pastor Kraig Pullam, who Pastors the Cornerstone Church, in Houston, TX, and he expressed in his post for today how my posts have been a source of blessing and encouragement during a frustrated time in his life.

His post really caused me to take a pause from my day and truly focus on how much my blogging and the blogs of others have really made this decision to begin writing a blog, one of the best decisions that I have made in a really long time. My inspiration for starting a blog, as many of you know, is Pastor H.B. Charles Jr., Pastor of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church of Los Angeles, and he was and still is a great source of encouragement both through our actual friendship and through the awesome posts that he makes. And it is that kind of encouragement that has really allowed me to completely enjoy this blogging experience.

There are times in the life of a Pastor when struggles and situations and members and things and all of the day to day problems seem to have us trapped into a corner like a wounded dog, and it is at that time that all of us need some help to lift up our bowed down heads. Well, the gifted people who blog and are in my blogging world, have all assisted me to staying on course, not giving up in the middle of the race and finishing what I have started.

I truly believe that we are to use this tool of blogging not just to let the world know what we are thinking and how we are feeling, but it is our duty to help one another deal with the hell that we face in this life, while we are on our way to the next life. Eugene Peterson in his interpretation of the Bible called The Message, says that Jesus tells Peter in Luke 22:31-21:

Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me like a chaff from wheat. Simon, I've prayed for you in particular, that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mid-Week Notes

This week is a real stressful one that seemingly has me gripped with an overwhelming feeling of not making things happen fast enough when it comes to the purchase and renovation of our new location. It seems like every time we make some headway with this second phase of our project, red tape, politicians, contractors and stuff after stuff keeps us running in sand with the appearance that we are further and further away from our finish line. All of this has made this week one very difficult one. I am trying to finish a lot of leg work and meetings and agreements before the end of this week because for the next couple of weeks, I will be out of town with my teenage sons in Florida and on vacation with Penny. But at this rate, I will be running up a wall before then.

What I have discovered is that I believe that God is trying to teach me through my experiences the truths of that phrase of the model prayer that I preached this past Lord's Day found in Matt. 6:10, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The point of that is that our plan is not God's plan and things will be much easier to handle when they don't go the way we want them to go, as long as we come to grips that we must make God's agenda our agenda. So I trust that whatever obstacles are standing in our way this week, the words of Paul will ring true, all things are working together for our good, because we truly love the Lord and are called to his purpose. Please keep our work this week in your prayers.

Speaking of my sons, I cannot wait to get to Orlando on Monday to see them. I have not seen them since last August, and there has been a hole in my heart ever since. They are teenagers and they are at the point in their live when they need me more and I will spend more time in Orlando for the rest of this year, a couple a days every other month. I am truly asking for your prayers for Marquis and Devante (D.J.) and pray for Penny who has to deal without her Honey for a few days, I don't know what she will do without me (LOL).

My best friend, Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon, pastor of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, Sound Bend, IN has become the newest member of the blogging fraternity on yesterday. I have been trying to get him "blogged in" for the last year and it has finally worked. When you get a chance, stop by his blog at and read his passions and convictions about Jesus Christ and his opinions about the condition of the world today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sunday Stuff

-This past Sunday was an interesting day to say the least. Actually the entire weekend was quite interesting. My wife's family had their reunion here in Newark for the weekend and they had a lot of events such as a banquet on Friday, cookout on Saturday, and it culminated on Sunday with worship at First Mt. Zion with a dinner afterwards (more on that later).

-This was a challenging weekend because my wife had her reunion to deal with and I had to deal with moving things that our church no longer wanted to keep out of the building so that the new congregation could continue their renovation of the building. I had to leave from doing that and do some running around before worship on Sunday, and to top it off, all of that had to be done in consistent 100 degree heat and seemingly 200 degrees of humidity. I then received a phone call from my good friend Dr. Vernon C. Walton who serves as the Pastor of the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Englewood, NJ to preach at his Saturday Evening service, which the Lord led me to preach an exposition on John 21:15-17 which I call Do You Really Love Jesus? I am grateful for the strength that the Lord gave me to preach his Word and I pray that the people were blessed as well.

-On Sunday, we continued our series on the Model Prayer found in Matt. 6 by presenting an exposition on the phrase uttered by Jesus in the B clause of verse 10, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, which I entitled A Prayer of Submission. My central argument was that sincere prayers of believers of Jesus Christ are prayers of commitment to submit every aspect of our lives to a Holy God. The problem with many of us is that we want God to bless our agendas and our desires instead of praying to him to align what we want with what he wants for our lives. I was really excited about preaching on Sunday because there were people in my wife's family who really needed to hear that message and members of our congregation as well needed to hear it. Most of all God blessed the worship, to Him be all the glory.

-Oh yeah, I almost forgot, we dined sufficiently after worship, so much so that I almost forsook my diet to just eat my hearts desire. But alas, I held firm to my commitment of losing some weight by not over-eating, but I did get my belly full (LOL).

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Change Is Gonna Come

On last Lord's day, we continued our series on the model prayer called God's Blueprint For A Prayer-Filled Life, with our look at the phrase uttered from Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:10, your kingdom come, which I tagged this exposition A Change is Gonna Come. We had wonderful worship and the congregation was really into the message and responded in kind. God be praised!

I watched a movie recently in which a man took a woman out on a date to a French Restaurant. The menu at this restaurant was written in French, the woman who spoke fluent French, ordered from the menu in a language that only she and the waiter understood. The man, not wanting to appear ignorant, pointed at something on the menu and said give me that. When the waiter brought the man his food, what he got was utterly disgusting and something that he would try to keep out of his garden. The moral of the story is, be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it and you will probably regret it.

That's what happens to us when we pray to the Lord for his kingdom to come, be careful what you ask for because you just may get it, and if the Lord allows his kingdom to come, a change is gonna come in our lives. This prayer is not for those to pray who are satisfied with the status quo and happy with a life of mediocrity. But if you are fed up with the struggles of your day to day life and want something better for your life, then stand with vigor, vitality and passion and cry out to the Lord, your kingdom come. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Matthew 6:10

Thesis: The followers of Jesus must pray with anticipation that the Kingdom of God will assert its authority over this world that will provide for us a brand new life in Him

I. Acknowledge The Reign of God's Kingdom

the reign of the Kingdom of God begins with the presence of Jesus Christ on humanity and is maturing through the obedience of the body of Christ

II. Accept Our Role in God's Kingdom

our role in the Kingdom of God is to bring others into the same obedience to Christ Jesus as we have

III. Await The Return of God's Kingdom

the Kingdom of God will return simultaneous to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this world

Sunday, July 13, 2008

For The Good of Them

In the 1980's the late great Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Choir, sang a song that is probably become during this time of transition for me, my favorite song ever, entitled For The Good of Them. This song, while going through this last year of waiting on the bank to release the funds to the Brazilian congregation to purchase our building, really kept me focused on the promises that God made to me over 1 year ago. Please allow me to share some of the words of the song:

The race isn't given, to the swift nor to the strong
but to the one who endureth, until the end
there will be problems, and sometimes you'll walk alone
but I know that I know that I know, things will work out yes they will
for the good of them, for the good of them, that love the Lord

Eyes haven't seen, and neither have ears heard
the things God has prepared for them that love Him
sometimes you may have to cry
sometimes you may have to walk alone, but I know
things will work out yes they will, for the good of them that love the Lord

No matter what the problem, you can't solve them
they will come, but don't you worry
it will work out for the good of them who love the Lord

I pray that anybody who has been waiting and wondering whether or not God will manifest his promises to you. If anybody is wondering when your blessings are on the way. Be encouraged in the words of this song which is also the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:28, which says that all things work together for the good of them that love God, and who are the called according to his purpose.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Blessings of God!!!

I am extremely happy and elated to tell everybody that the Lord has blessed our church this week in which we closed on the sale of our present location. GOD BE PRAISED!!! We have sold our building to a Brazilian congregation who will benefit from the community better than we can because their church fits the demographics of that community.

We have been on this relocation journey for more than a year, and the trip has been filled with many ups and downs, many detractors and those who have dissented. But no matter how many doubted whether or not we would get to this point, I want to tell them that God specializes in making a way when there seems to be no way. He opens doors even when it is said that there is no door to be opened. And because of those characteristics I totally trust God to bring to fruition what he has promised will come to past.

We will be sharing the building with the other congregation for a little bit while our new building is being made ready for us. This will really be an adjustment for our church who is used to a routine, which will not be broken, but it is the attachment that many of them have for the building and seeing improvements made on the building while we are still there, will be really tough for them to digest.

I solicit your prayers for our church and for me, as we await with excitement for what the Lord is getting ready to do for us and to take us. We had a church meeting today in which many of our members did show the same excitement for the soon to come blessing that will allow us to move to our next phase of our ministry.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Purpose of Our Prayers

Let me say right off of the bat, that worship at the First Mount Zion Church was outstanding from start to finish. We first had baptismal service early in the morning for a young man, Freddie McCullough, who is leaving this week for Australia for a school expedition, and the Lord made his presence known and met us in the pool. God be praised.

I did not think that we would have a good worship service @ 10 AM due to it being a holiday weekend which caused my crowd to be off. But what I noticed was, that when we come to the end of ourselves, that's the very point that God shows up. And the Lord was in that place all day long and church was on fire.

I continued our series on the model prayer entitled God's Blueprint For A Prayer-Filled Life, by looking at the second phrase of this prayer housed in Matthew 6:9, Hallowed be your name. Many of us only go to God in prayer when we need him or when we want something from him. But God is not some soup kitchen where you can get what you want without giving up anything. Jesus sets out to tell us in this model prayer that the purpose of our prayers is to ensure that the name of God deserves all of the glory.

Thesis: man's initial purpose for praying to our Father in heaven is so that His name will receive all of the glory

I. We Honor His Name With Our Reverence

-verse 9...hallowed be your name
-we are charged as children of God to live our life committed to praise and worship the name of God

II. We Honor His Name With Our Relationship

-verse 9...hallowed be your name
-we cannot revere the name of God properly nor sincerely until we commit to knowing God in a personal way

III. We Honor His Name With Our Response

-verse 9...hallowed by your name
-we sincerely honor God's name with an action of obedience to the Lord

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Please Pray For Pastor Timothy Wright

The church and gospel music community is sending out our prayers for gospel music legend and pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, Timothy Wright who is fighting for his life in a hospital in Pennsylvania, as on last night he, his wife and grandson were traveling home from a denominational conference when there was a collision where his wife Betty was killed instantly and Pastor Wright and his grandson were reported to be on life support and it's not looking good for his grandson's survival.

The emails and correspondence has gone out requesting our prayers for him not just because he is a great gospel singer known for such hits as Trouble Don't Last Always, Been There, Done That and his latest hit, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, but more importantly because Grace Tabernacle needs their Pastor. Both the church and his family are in need of our prayers and strength to help them get through this tragic time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mid-Year Evaluation

We have reached the mid-way point of the year 2008, and I have done an extensive examination as to where we are as a church regarding our growth and development for the first half of the year. I really like to do these types of evaluation, as they will provide for us a gauge as to where we stand with our goals that was set at the beginning of the year and it will also provide for us a great look at the areas that need the most work so that we can reach those goals by December.

As many of you know out in blog world, that our church is in the middle of a relocation project that has really engulfed all of our attention for this year. I recently read a thought-provoking blog by Clinton Smith of Los Angeles who's church is presently going through this same focus of relocation vs. renovation. I appreciated his candor in explaining the system he used to evaluate the best scenario and course of action for his congregation and I am praying with them as God does great things for that church. Our situation is somewhat different from theirs in that I initially explored the possibility of an intense renovation project for our present building about 2 years ago, after we were featured on the reality television program Divine Restoration, however there was something that kept gnawing at my spirit about our community. Our church sat in the midst of a community that had become 80-85% Portuguese/Brazilian and after about 11-12 months of research, decided to engage our church in a relocation project instead, and we are selling our church to a Brazilian church who can better utilize the building in that community.

We are closer than we have ever been before with the closing on our present location, yet because of this weakening economy (thanks Bush), the banks have been moving at a snail's pace in releasing the funds to our buyers. So the focus now moves to the new location, which unfortunately, we cannot purchase until the close of the sell of our present location. This really has caused a great deal of frustration and some stress on me,because I was able to convince a church that God is leading me to sell their 104 year-old building, after being on that location for 130 years total, and moving for the spiritual, numerical and financial betterment of our ministry, yet we have been at this for more than 1 year. I know that any apprehension on my part is a trick of the enemy to turn my focus off of the plan that God placed on my heart to bring to his people so that we can have a chance to be a church that will do great things for the Kingdom. But I still have my blinders on, and I am forging ahead with God's plan.

Internally, we are not where we need to be in any aspect of our ministry and that's probably the most frustrating of all. Our attendance has been sporadic at best, our giving has not been up to par and our focus on the things of God such as bible study, prayer, excellence is inconsistent to say the least. I am preaching series of sermons that have been designed to have us conduct ourselves in an excellent way as Christ has given us his best, we are charged to give him our best. I will say that at least the comments after worship and during the week have been encouraging in that the congregation is at least catching on to a degree to our focus for this year, I feel that it could be a little better.

But having said that, I am absolutely looking forward to the rest of this year, with great anticipation, as we will complete the sale, purchase the new location, and make an aggressive effort to evangelize our new location so that we can fulfill the goals that have been set before us. I am eagerly awaiting every preaching moment for the rest of the year, as we continue to deal with the model prayer found in Matthew 6:5-15 which I call, God's Blueprint for a Prayer-Filled Life through the rest of the summer, and begin a new series on stewardship and giving which I am interested in how that will be received being that this is the first time I will be preaching a series on giving and stewardship in particular.

Please pray for both our church and for me that the rest of this year will be a banner year for us and at the end of the race, we will be able to give God all of the glory for all of the great things that he will do for us.