Monday, September 29, 2008

You Reap What You Sow

Title: You Reap What You Sow
Text: 2 Corinthians 9:6-10

Thesis: God blesses those who's acts of worship through giving is presented with a cheerful heart

I. God Blesses Us Sufficiently

-verse 8...and God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work

-when we give cheerfully, God provides for us sufficient resources that will supply the entire need of the believer

II. God Blesses Us Supremely

-verse it is written, he has distributed freely, he has given to the poor, his righteousness endures forever

-when we give cheerfully to the Lord, we are blessed with a supreme blessing that will never dry up

a. Liberal Blessing - distribute freely
b. Lifting Blessing - given to the poor...phrase means to provide for someone who is in great pain, the resources needed to alleviate that pain
c. Lasting Blessing - his righteousness endures forever

III. God Blesses Us Successfully

-verse 10...he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness

-when we give cheerfully to the Lord, he will provide for the believer the miracle to multiplication to ensure that because we give, we will always have blessings that will sustain

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Stuff

Today was an interesting day at FMZBC. We concluded our series on Developing A Giving Church, with our look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, which I will post the outline on Monday, I labeled the message "You Reap What You Sow". The Apostle Paul writes this portion of the letter to the Corinthian Church to encourage them to give as an act of worship to the Lord for all of the things that he had done for them. The Corinthians were not accustomed to giving, even though God had taken good care of them, so Paul needed to motivate them to participate in the worship of God with an expression of their gifts. In verses 6-10, Paul lets them and us know that the measure of what we reap is directly tied into the amount that we sow. I pray that we see the results of this series manifest itself in the life of our congregation that we will see the effects of which through our faithfulness in our stewardship.

We also had a church meeting after worship where I gave the new vision to the church as well as an update on our relocation project. Let me state out front, I detest church meetings. The majority of my experiences is that even when you tell the congreagation that this is a meeting to give the vision, there are still those who come with a spirit of disruption and being argumentative. I saw people today who have not been to church in months, but they wanted to show up for the meeting. There was questions that was discussed last year when we met to decide to relocate, yet they wanted to come and bring up those same questions today. I am grateful though, there were members who saw this happening and they stood up to tell them that this type of action was not appreciated. God Be Praised! I am encouraged by the outspoken actions of a few of our members who are willing to stand up for what's right.

After I presented the vision (I will post that this week as well), I gave each member a letter of commitment to sign, so that not only can I know, but also the other members would know, who is supportive of this new vision and to make them accountable to God and one another for their role in the growth and development of our church. I can honestly say, that I personally saw 98% of those in attendance sign that letter. I'm encouraged by this.

The month of October our church will be in what I call the Month of Unity, where we will read two scriptures per day on unity as well as praying each day that our church will re-discover our unity as believers of Christ. Every Wednesday, we will fast from 6 AM - 6 PM while reading those scriptures for that day. Whatever text falls on Sunday that I gave them, I will be attempting an exposition on that text. Our motto for this month is...Unity: An Open Door Towards a Brighter Tomorrow--Ephesians 4:1-4. Please pray for our church that these attempts to make us a people of excellence in everything we do for the Lord will be pleasing to him.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Peril of A Prideful Steward

Worship was really good on yesterday. The Lord showed up in our church as we had a real good praise and worship period. I had no expectation of a good day in worship because we didn't get into the church until about 10:30. We share the building that we sold with the buyers and they are supposed to open the church at 9:00 am every Sunday. I am really trying not to allow our attorney to put some heavy pressure on them, however this is the third time that this has happened and if it continues to occur, something must be done. In spite of this the Lord really blessed the worship and he blessed my feeble attempt at biblical exposition.

We continued our series on tithing and stewardship entitled Developing a Giving Church, with our look at a parable of Jesus Christ found in Luke's account, 18:9-14. Here Jesus gives this parable to those who trusted themselves to make them righteous and treated others with contempt. He compares the offering of a Pharisee and a tax collector, who both enters into the temple to pray, the Pharisee brings his offering with pride but the tax collector brings his with reverence to the Lord. This Pharisee attempts to extol his virtues by shining a light of condemnation on the sins of this tax collector and others. Jesus says that God is looking for those who recognize that they owe God a worship offering because of what God has done for them and not those who try to bring attention to themselves. Here is the sermon outline:

Title: Peril of a Prideful Steward
Text: Luke 18:9-14

Thesis: God blesses our gifts when they are given out of devotion and not out of display

I. Devoted Givers Are Respectful

-verse 13...but the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven
-this tax collector expressed his repentance and respect to the Lord by the manner in which he comes into the presence of God
-the Pharisee comes with high-mindedness...the tax collector stands far off

a. manner of his respect...standing far off...he kept his distance under a sense of great unworthiness due to his life of sin

b. meditations in his respect...would not even lift up his eyes to heaven...this sinful tax collector thought about his life of sin and didn't even want the Lord to see his face

II. Devoted Givers Are Reticent

-verse 13...but beat his breast saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner
-this prayer was short in presentation yet succinct in its purpose
-the tax collector comes humbly to the Lord and asks not for material things...he only asks the Lord, have mercy on me for I am a sinner

III. Devoted Givers Attain Recognition

-verse 14...for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mid-Week Notes - 9/17/08

-This week has been a tough week for me. I have been inundated with this relocation project with every aspect of the project from soup to nuts and I never would have imagined that this would so time consuming and stressful. But that is the price that one has to pay in order to do things different for God than what has ever been done before. I have been on conference calls with the architect 3 different times today, just to schedule a date for next week to finalize all of the plans for how the new facility is going to look. I must admit though, I am very excited about this project and the fact that we will be able to shape this new building to look exactly like we want it to look, God be praised!

-I have also been drafted to serve as the Chief of Staff for a former Newark Councilman's campaign to retake the seat which has been vacated by a New Jersey District Court Judge, due to a legal matter regarding the person who took his seat during the last election. I need to be honest, I am just learning the ins and outs of an electoral campaign, so this is taking a little bit of an adjustment for me. I will say that this Presidential Campaign has made me more interested infinitely in the election process, not so that I could possibly run for election (I don't believe Pastors should be elected officials), but so that I can have influence and access when it comes to politicians and their role in our city and for my church. Our city is at a critical state as is other cities. Our new Mayor, has failed to exhibit any intent to make this city better for the residents who are presently here, but rather there are outside forces that desire to have control over the vast resources that the City of Newark possesses. Please keep our city in your prayers.

-Please pray for one of my sisters, Laure Brock, she was diagnosed with Leukemia a couple years ago, which is now in remission, but her doctors recently discovered that she has an aggressive form of breast cancer. The doctors have scheduled surgery for Friday, but they said the cancer has still spread. Our family again is in need of your prayers. These are trying times for the faithful believers of Jesus Christ, please pray our strength in the rich blessings of the Lord.

-Pastor Joe A. Carter of The New Hope Baptist Church, Newark, NJ, lost his older brother Henry yesterday. He still is feeling the lost of his other brother Pastor Ron C. Carter a few years back, and now this happens. Please call his family's name out in prayer as they must have a home going service for Henry on Monday.

-I have to preach at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, Scotch Plains, NJ tonight for their Fall Revival. I have been doing this revival for the last 5 years, and I always look forward to this time of year where I can share with Pastor Clement Griffin and the sweet people of the Metropolitan Church. I am only doing tonight's service, but please pray for the revival as a whole.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday Stuff - 9/14/08

  • Yesterday I had an anxious day in worship. I was ready to preach, but I did not go to bed until 4 am Sunday Morning, which had me wondering if I would have enough energy to preach like I normally would. In our church, I lead the worship every Sunday as well as I lead the music. My voice felt a little raw during worship, but I thank God for his awesome power and the blessing of a real good sound system. By the way, what I have discovered is that many of our members really don't see the true importance of having a good sound system. They mostly feel that any system will do, but to a person who uses their voice as much as Pastors do, my system MUST be good or my voice will suffer tremendously. God be praised for a good system.

  • We continued our series of sermons on tithing which I entitled the series, Developing A Giving Church, with our look at what is probably the most famous passage on tithing, Malachi 3:6-12, which I tagged the sermon The Blessing of Financial Obedience. The Prophet Malachi addressed this discourse to second generation Children of Israel who's forefathers some 90 years earlier had experienced the great revival for the Jews with Ezra rebuilding the temple and Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. But the prophet noticed that some 90 years later, the people had gone away from the things of God and they needed to return to the basics. In verses 6-7 God contrasts his character from their character by telling them that the reason why they had gotten away from the things of God was not because God had changed but because they had changed. God also noted for them, what their main problem was in verse 8, when he tells Malachi to say to them, will a man rob God, which caused them to respond with this question, where have we robbed him, in tithes and contributions (ESV). This problem has far-reaching ramifications, for when we fail to tithe, we curse our own blessings, and we also contribute in the cursing of others as well. How do we fix this problem: verse 10 says, bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Here is the sermon outline:

Title: The Blessing of Financial Obedience

Thesis: fallen children are rewarded with a promised act of reconciliation back to God through a purposed desire to trust God with our resources

I. Promise of Sufficient Abundance

-verse 10...bring the full tithe into the storehouse...if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need
-when we fail to tithe, we rob God of the ability to bless his people...both you and somebody else
-windows of heaven is the bible's words to describe the source from where the blessings of God come from

II. Promise of Success Over Our Adversary

-verse 11...I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts
-this verse is evidence of the fact that how we deal with money is a spiritual issue that touches every aspect of our life
-when we obey God in the material realm, it impacts us in the spiritual realm
-God did not promise that tithing would make us immune from trials, but he does promise that when we tithe, he will make sure that our trials does not eat us up

III. Promise of Spiritual Admiration

-verse 12...then all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts
-God promises to bless those who tithe with agricultural prosperity and undamaged vines in verse 11
-which suggests to us that when others see a tithing people they can't help but to call us blessed

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Wow, 36 years ago today, in Newark, NJ, a Pastor and an usher, gave birth to a 2 month premature baby boy that they named Lance Antione Mann, at 5lbs 8 oz. That boy was born with a bad case of asthma that resulted in being admitted into the hospital every two weeks for the first two years of his life. The doctors said that his lungs would never become fully developed and that he would probably need oxygen for the better part of his life. But what the doctors failed to take into consideration was that his parents were praying people, who knew that if they called on the Lord, he would answer their prayers.

That sickly child with the bad lungs, has been blessed by the Lord Jesus to become a singer on national stages, as well as a preacher/pastor. It amazes me how the Lord has brought me from where I was, to where I am now, and where I will be in God. I am grateful for these 36 years and I am eagerly awaiting the next level that God has in store for me. God be praised!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Giving God Your Best

Because of the stressful week that I endured last week regarding the health of my son, I really couldn't wait to get to worship. I had a great desire to give God thanks for bringing my son home, but I was also excited about continuing our series on tithing entitled Developing a Giving Church.

The worship was outstanding from the devotion through the Lord's Supper until the benediction. The altar call was powerful, as we experienced a mighty praise in the prayer period, which lifted the spirits of the congregation. God be praised for worship even during altar call.

We looked at the first instance in scripture where the people of God gave and offering to God as an act of sacrifice. Genesis 4 records the story of the sons of Adam and Eve named Cain and Abel who after a little while each gave an offering to the Lord. Cain, being a keeper of the ground, offered up to the Lord the fruit of the ground, and Abel, being a keeper of the sheep, offered up the firstborn of his flock. God accepted the offering of Abel, yet rejected the offering of Cain's. Why? First of all because of the nature of the gift; Cain's offering was not a blood offering. Secondly, because of the Quality of the gift; Abel's gift was the firstborn of his flock, and Cain's gift came from a cursed ground. Genesis 3:17 God told Adam that because he listened to his wife and disobeyed the commands of God, the ground would be cursed and he will have to eat of the fruit from that ground. Thirdly, because of the character of the giver; Genesis 4:4-5 God had regard for Abel and no regard for Cain, which tells us that the person who is bringing the gift means more to the Lord than the gift itself. All of this means that God cares about the condition of the heart of the giver, he wants us to give him the best that we have. Here is the outline:

Thesis: giving God your best is only accomplished through a heart of true worship and not a focus on external actions

I. Focus on a Relationship With God

-verse 4
-Abel recognized the existence of God into his life and his graciousness of Him being the ruler of the universe
-made a decision to give God his very best because of who God is in his life

II. Focus on Faith in God

-verse 4
-Hebrews 11:4 exemplifies Abel's focus on his faith in God to give God his very best
-faith empowers our ability to give gifts to the Lord

a. God Centered - Abel had enough faith to give God his best due to his obedience to the directives of God
b. God Consented - God looked at the faithfulness of Abel and the callousness of Cain; held them up against one another and made a decision that Abel's gift was worth an accommodation

III. Focus on Our Provisions From God

-verse 4
-Abel was willing to give God his best because he recognized that the bountiful flock did not belong to him, but it all belonged to the Lord
-Cain was proud of the crops he raised and had a difficult time letting them go; so he gave God just enough to acknowledge that God played a small role in his success
-Abel realized that everything he has came from God...which made it easier for him to give God the best gift that he had

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Praise Report!!!!

First of all, I want to express my heart-felt gratitude for all of my blogging buddies who called Devante's name out to the Lord with believing prayers on last night. Words cannot express how much my heart was overjoyed with the responses of my last post, calling on the people of God to pray for my son. I do believe that the effectual and fervent prayers of righteous people indeed avail much, and that's why I immediately knew to make this request and you all answered tremendously, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Well, my son made it through his procedure and they found out that he has lesions on his esophagus which is treatable with medication and that they detected an early formation of ulcers in his stomach, which because it was detected early, is treatable with medication as well. I spoke to him a little bit ago after he came out of recovery and he sounded better and he said that he felt better, but he was very hungry and he didn't know when they would let him eat. I am awaiting on the doctor to decide if he's going home today or in the morning, but either way it happens, I will be happy when he gets home.

I am grateful to the Lord for answering prayers and bringing my son through this okay. Please keep all of my children in your prayers and I will continue doing the same for you. God be praised!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Please Pray for my Son!

I just got a call from Orlando, FL, our 13 year-old son Devante, got admitted to the hospital for observations due to him being unable to swallow for the last couple of weeks. They initially thought that he just had a case of tonsillitis, they then felt that it may be an infection of his sinuses. But after a couple of tests, the doctors felt the need to keep him overnight so that they will be able to run a tube down his throat to take pictures of his cavities to see if he may have a scratch or some sort of other infection.

I have a hopeless feeling because our sons live a thousand miles away and in instances like this, it is hard for me to focus much. Please pray for my son, I need the Lord to move in a mighty way so that my boy will be alright. Please blog friends, ask the Lord to calm my nerves and please keep my boy safe. Tonight when you talk to the Master, please call my boys name in prayer. I am anticipating a great praise report on tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Proper Attitude of A Good Steward

Preaching on holiday weekends are probably the hardest times to preach for me, and I feel this way for a couple of reasons. First of all, many members decide that since they are off from work on Monday, they can be off from church as well. Secondly, the ones that showed up at church, are too busy looking at their watches, with those looks on their faces like they want me to hurry up so that they could get to their BBQs. It is because of these reasons that I was really apprehensive about starting a new series on the Sunday before Labor Day. While our crowd was off some with people staying away, I was ready to preach and those that were there seemed to be very receptive to the exposition of the Word.

This is the first time in my Pastoral Ministry that I have begun a series on giving and stewardship. I have taught stewardship during our bible study, but I have never initiated an entire series dedicated to stewardship and tithing, so as you can expect, I was extremely nervous about the preachment hour. But as always, God showed up and got me through the exposition.

This parable of Jesus Christ to his disciples,housed in Matthew 20:1-16, is normally looked at from the point of view of the service of the laborers, but I thank God for showing me the point of view that it is not only about our service or our actions, but Jesus wanted us to see that in order to be good stewards over what the Lord has placed in our care, we must have the right attitude towards stewardship. And I believe that in the life of our church, where we are embarking on an aggressive relocation project, we would be better stewards of our time, talents and treasures if we changed our attitudes towards it. Here is the sermon outline, it's a little lengthy, but I needed to incorporate the entire parable to give the text its proper justice:

Thesis: a healthy mind-set towards our roles as stewards will produce a healthy and productive church

I. God Owns Everything

-verse 1...for the Kingdom of Heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard

a. He created everything
b. He coordinated everything

II. God Controls Everything

-verses 1-7 shows us that since God owns everything, he is in total control of the fruit, field and the harvest
-he has the right to make all of the decisions because the field belongs to him and he makes agreements with his laborers

a. Who Hires Laborers - master of the house
b. Where are they Hired From - marketplace
c. What are their Wages - denarius (Roman Penny) and whatever is right
d. How Long are they Hired For - One day's work

III. God Judges Everyone

-verses 8-15 shows us that God judges the laborers not by their fruit, but by their faithfulness
-Owner judges the account of the laborers

a. Account Taken - evening time was reckoning time
-this was the time when the owner tallied up the record in order to pay the laborers their days wage
-there will come a time when our Father in Heaven will tally up our account in the record book in glory to judge our faithfulness to the work we have been called to

b. Action of the Laborers

1. offense taken - verses 11-12...they complained that everybody was paid the same wage but they did not all work the same amount
2. offense removed - verses 13-14
a. no one distressed them - friend, I have done you no wrong
b. no one deceived them - did you not agree with me for a denarius
c. no one denied them - take what belongs to you and go

IV. God Gives Greatly to Everyone

-verse I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me or do you begrudge my generosity
-God has a plan to reward those who have been faithful to him with his great generosity