Friday, October 31, 2008

Word of Encouragment

There has been a great burden on my heart for the last couple of weeks, that really had me concerned during that time. I thought that it was all of the pressure and weight that has been on my shoulders regarding this relocation project for our church. But early this morning the Lord dealt with me concerning this matter. The Lord revealed to me that this heavy burden is not just because of my project, but he brought back to my remembrance all of the other posts by my blogging friends recently that dealt with the problems and stresses that they are dealing with presently as well. And the Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:15 that we all ought to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Since every single word in scripture is accurate in its origin and in is application, this burden on my heart has been to pray for each and every one of us who have been struggling with something in our respective ministries.

So I got up and began to praise God, at first I didn't know why, but as I keep on rejoicing in the presence of God, it became crystal clear, that each of us that are dealing with issues in our ministries, whether it be members who are refusing to follow leadership, members not tithing, buildings that either needs repairs or renovated or relocation projects that you seem to be the only one who is excited or willing to put in the time and effort to make sure that it gets done, or maybe it is deacons or trustees who feel that we should be following them instead of them following the set leader of the house. Whatever it may be, I would that you allow me to give you the words to a song that lifted my spirits early this morning in my time with the Lord. It is the awesome song written and recorded by Donald Lawrence:

some times you have to encourage yourself
some times you have to speak victory during the test
but no matter how you feel
speak the word and you will be healed
speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord

some times you have to speak a word over yourself
depression is all around
but God is a present help
the enemy created walls
but remember giants they do fall
speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord

as I minister to you, I minister to myself
life can hurt you so
til you feel there's nothing left
but no matter how you feel
speak a word and you will be healed
speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may he make his face to shine upon you, may he lift his countenance upon you, may he be gracious to you, that is to give you his divine favor, may he give you his peace, and may this peace be with you until we meet again. Stay encourage people of God, better things are on the way.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Harmony In Church

Text: I Peter 3:8-12

Thesis: harmony in God's church is attained through a purposed expression of love one to another

I. Express Love For Your Companions

-verse 8...finally all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind

a. evidence of love is unity of mind
b. evidence of love is compassion for one another
c. evidence of love is pity for one another

II. Express Love For Your Challengers

-verse not repay evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing
-Peter said that if you are going to have harmony in the church, we all must learn how to love our enemies
-opposition to the believer is like a head wind is to an will allow the believer to fly higher than ever before

III. Express Love For Your Core

-verses 10-12 Peter explains that a harmonious church is a church that loves life itself
-impending persecution should never cause a child of God to give up on life

a. calculated act...verse 10 - whoever desires to love life and see good days
b. controlled act...verse 10 - let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit
c. capable act...verse 11 - let him turn away from evil and do good
d. calm act...verse 11 - let him seek peace and pursue it

-verse 12 tells us that there is a reward for loving your brothers and sisters, your enemies and life itself...the eyes of the Lord is on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers
-pitfalls for failing to express love is...the face of the Lord is against those who do evil

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Stuff

I was back in the pulpit of the First Mount Zion Church today, and it was real good to be back home. I was really looking forward to being in worship at FMZBC today, and I was equally excited about preaching today. We are winding up our Unity Month and the Lord has begun to show some signs that His Word is beginning to penetrate the hearts of the people of God.

I am not a preacher who engages in false ideas of what kind of church that I have. I am not one of those Pastors who stand around in the Exhibit Hall of the Convention, with a suit on at 11 AM, walking around telling lies about what kind of church I Pastor, because somebody will eventually come to your church and they will see the real church. Having said that, when I followed the leading of the Lord to engage our congregation in a unity month, I was concerned whether or not the people would really listen to what God told me to do and follow. But today one of my senior members came up to me before worship and told me that I had a misprint on the list of scriptures that I gave them to read every day on unity. She not only told me of a misprint, but she also had the correct scripture that she was certain I meant to put in there. That really made my day and showed me that if I am faithful to the Lord, he will keep giving signs that shows that I am doing the right things.

I concluded our series on unity entitled An Open Door Towards A Brighter Tomorrow, with an exposition on I Peter 3:8-12 which I tagged Harmony in Church. Peter writes this letter to Jewish Christians as a word of encouragement for the suffering that they received simply because they were follows of Jesus Christ. He gives suffering saints assurance that because they are joint heirs with Jesus in suffering, their suffering will be transformed to glory. Chapter 2 tells us that slaves can be witnesses of Christ in a hostile world. The first 7 verses of Chapter 3 tells us that spouses can be witnesses of Christ in a hostile world. Verses 8-12 tells us that the saints can be witnesses of Christ in a hostile world. He opens verse 8 by saying finally all of you live in harmony. This word harmony in the Greek means to be in total agreement. If God's church is going to be effective in ministry, the church must walk in total agreement one with another. The only way that can be accomplished is for each member to fill the church with an expression of love one to another. Love will cover a multitude of faults.

Worship was outstanding. I will post the outline for the message tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Single Minded Church

Text: Philippians 3:13-14

Thesis: if we have a single minded attitude in this life, there will be something greater awaiting for us in the next life

I. Forget the Past

-verse 13...brethren I count not myself to be apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind me
-forget in the Greek means to completely the imperative which means it is a command which suggests that if we don't forget the past it is a sin against God

a. conclusion of past - brethren I count...count means careful consideration of past thoughts about oneself, will bring you to a conclusion that you have not arrived

b. completion of the process - brethren I count not myself to be apprehended...apprehended means a past completed process that still holds true in the present...Paul held on to Jesus so that he would not turn back to sin

c. conduct of our purpose - forgetting those things which are behind...Paul uses Olympic imagery...carries the idea of a runner winning a race by not looking behind at his opponents which will slow him down

II. Fight in the Present

-verse 13...reaching towards those things which are before me
-people will put obstacles in your way that will attempt to stifle your progress in the race
-must be willing to fight in order to reach your destination

a. fighting takes strength - by reading the bible, praying and Christian fellowship

b. fighting takes stamina - God does not need runners who will give up at mid-race, but he's looking for those that will endure until the end

c. fighting takes simplicity - remember who's team you are running for

III. Finish With the Prize

-verse 14...I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus
-this high calling is not a call to this life...but it is a call to the next life
-in Olympics, when you win a race, you are given a crown, but in the next race, somebody can come and take your crown
-but when you run for the Master, that crown will never be taken away.

The Protection of God

Text: Romans 8:31

Thesis: No matter the situations that we may face, every child of God will find security in God because of the protection of God

I. Author of the Protection

-if GOD

II. Action of the Protector

-if God IS FOR US

III. Assurance of the Protected

-if God is for us, WHO CAN BE AGAINST US

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday Stuff

On yesterday, I had the expressed privilege of being the guest preacher at the Lilydale Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, IL, where my good friend and brother, Romell Williams serves as the Pastor, for their 95th Church Anniversary Celebration. Let me say right off the bat that I was so impressed with the ministry and administrative acumen of Romell Williams. He recently led his congregation into a great renovation project for their building and while they are not totally complete with the project, the work that has been done thus far is outstanding. Not only is he a great administrator, where his staff is attentive and operate his vision and direction with a spirit of excellence, but his church loves him. His ministerial staff loves him. His deacons love him. His musicians love him. Often times when our peers see others doing well with their ministries, the green-eye of jealousy will rear its ugly head to the point that people start looking for things to complain about. But I left that church on yesterday armed with a greater sense of commitment and urgency to grow my ministry at FMZBC to become a machine such is there at Lilydale Progressive. God Be Praised for what he is doing and will do for Romell and Lilydale.

The worship was outstanding all day long. Lately, I have been having some problems with my voice, which for those of us who utilize our voices to the max, can be a distraction in worship. So because this was prevalent on my mind, it caused me to rush through my message on Romans 8:31 at 8 AM, which I tagged The Protection of God. I do not feel that I did my best, but his members came up after service to tell me how blessed they were by the Word of God, and one came to unite with Lilydale, which means that the Lord showed up and blessed. I relaxed more at 11 AM because I made a point to myself, that if my voice is not going to hold up like I want it, I will put all of my focus on my assignment. I preached a message from Philippians 3:13-14 which I tagged A Single Minded Church, and I didn't rush or focus on my voice, I just gave God everything that I had, and he honored that by sending 2 more to come to unite with the church including one for baptism. This let me know that all we as Preachers need to focus on is our faithfulness to our assignment and let God sort out the rest. The Anniversary Celebration concluded at 3:30 PM with Pator Herring from the Calvary Baptist Church who preached from Joshua 3 which he tagged Getting to the Next Level. It was a pleasure to both meet and hear Pastor Herring on yesterday and I look forward to fellowshipping with him again.

Last night we finished our day in worship, by attending the Dedication Celebration for the newly erected building of the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church, where Dr. Stephen J. Thurston serves as Senior Pastor. The builidng is phenominal and the worship was outstanding, as Pastor Davis from Mississippi brought the message out of Psalms 91. We are praying that God will grant them favor to meet every financial need that has arisen with an undertaking such as this.

I will post the outlines for both messages from yesterday on tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Divided House Will Not Stand

Text: I Corinthians 1:10

Thesis: A church expresses true unity when they make an intended effort to make the main thing the main thing

I. Express Parallel Articulation

-verse 10...I appeal to you brothers by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you
-a unified house is united in speech

II. Express Parallel Attention

-verse 10...but that you be united in the same mind
-a unified house is united in thought

III. Express Parallel Aim

-verse 10...and the same judgment
-a unified house is united in focus

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Stuff

-Wow what a day! I am physically spent after an equally long and exciting day in worship with God's people. We started out at 8 AM at the First Hopewell Baptist Church in Newark for their Men's Day Celebration. First Hopewell just installed their new pastor, Rev. Antonio Porter, and to my delight, they are excited and very happy that God has sent them a new shepherd. I had the pleasure of hearing Pastor Porter give the closing message on last Friday at the end of the 104th Annual Session of the General State Baptist Convention of New Jersey, and let me tell you, he delivered an outstanding message that really seemed to connect with the conventioneers. In our state, it is really difficult for younger Pastors to receive warm receptions from the attendees of our convention who are mostly older, but Pastor Porter really did a good job.

-As for the worship at First Hopewell, it was outstanding! The members of that church really know how to respond to biblical exposition. Worship was high energy from the time we entered into the sanctuary, until I gave the benediction. Please keep this growing congregation in your prayers as they latch on to the vision of their new Pastor.

-At 10 AM, we continued our focus at FMZBC on our Month of Unity called Unity: An Open Door Towards A Brighter Tomorrow, with our attempt at exposition on I Corinthians 1:10, which I labeled A Divided House Will Not Stand. Paul writes this letter to the Corinthian Church because they were in serious trouble. They had become a defiled church, in that their members engaged in sexual immoralities, drunkeness and they took the grace of God for granted to excuse their sinful ways. They were also a divided church, as there were four different groups that were competing for leadership at the church. Because they were a defiled church and a divided church they became a disgraced church. Paul tells them in verse 10 that there be no divisions among them. This word division in the Greek means to rip or tear apart, and they were letting these factions that competed for leadership, rip and tear this church apart. Paul says that the only way to fight off this division in the church, they must not look towards their own selfishness, but they must look towards Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Blessedness of Christian Unity

We began our series during our Month of Unity, which I tagged the entires series, Unity: An Open Door Towards A Brighter Tomorrow, with our look at one of the most famous verses in scripture on unity housed in the great book of Psalms, 133:1-3. I found this song interesting in that David was able to talk about brothers expressing unity one with another, when David's family had a history of not being united. But David understood that unity among God's people was essential for service. It is a blessing when God's people stick together. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Psalms 133:1-3

Thesis: our willingness as children of God to walk together in unity, pleases God and activates the rich blessings of God on our lives

I. Sanctification of Christian Unity

-verse is like the precious oil on the head running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes
-unity of the people of God is like precious oil that was used to consecrate the high priest to set aside for service

II. Strengthening of Christian Unity

-verse is like the dew of Hermon which falls on the mountains of Zion
-God uses unity to refresh his people and keep them from withering away

III. Subsidy of Christian Unity

-verse 3...for there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore
-subsidy means reward
-whenever God's people stick together they are rewarded with life forevermore

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vision of First Mount Zion Baptist Church

The Next Step: First Mount Zion Baptist Church's Plan for a Church of Excellence

I Corinthians 12:28:31

Vision Statement: Proclaiming The Word for His glory, Protecting the Weak from His judgment, and Preparing the World for His return

Mission Statement: Cultivate a Christian Community Committed to the Cause of Christ in an effort to Change a Culture

A. Proclaiming the Word For His Glory

2. Praise & Worship

B. Protecting The Weak From His Judgment


a. Each member must be responsible for bringing 2 people per month to church
b. Each member must be responsible for witnessing in our new community

C. Preparing the World For His Return

Mission: Developing our spiritual gifts through discipleship
2. Method: Effectively train through biblical teaching and training
3. Goal: Every member must participate in a ministry

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Unity Month

Today our church is beginning an effort designed to bring about a more unified congregation in order for us to fulfill the vision that God has provided for us. This focus of this month is Unity: An Open Door Towards A Brighter Tomorrow, with our key scripture is Ephesians 4:1-4. We are fasting together every Wednesday from 6 to 6, and I am really excited about what I believe to be the genesis of our church becoming a great people.

I truly get excited when God blesses my friends to have great ministries. I was overjoyed when HB Charles Jr. became the new pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Church in Jacksonville, FL, like it was me getting blessed. I felt the same way when I found out that the congregation that HB moved from in Los Angeles, Mt. Sinai Church, has quickly selected a new leader in George Hurtt, who will do an outstanding job at that branch of Zion. When I look at all of my blogging friends and how awesome their churches and ministries have been blessed by God, I really get excited. I quote HB by saying I am praying that God will bless my friends big and bless them quick, so that when they get blessed they will get out of the line, and that only makes me closer to get what God has for me.

This month of prayer and focusing on the Word for unity, I believe, will catapult our congregation to heights never seen before. I solicit your prayers for us as we venture into unchartered territory towards a brighter tomorrow. Please pray for my strength to stand boldly and be the leader of men that God has called me to be.