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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Great day this past Lord's Day in worship. After spending the week at the National Baptist Convention, I could not wait to get back to the pulpit to preach.

I heard some real good preaching on last week, but two stand out in particular. Dr. John Adolph, Antioch BC. Beaumont, TX and Pastor George Hurtt, Mt. Sinai BC, Los Angeles, CA, both preached us crazy. I was ever the more proud of George because he is a good friend and whenever any friend receives that kind of opportunity to stand on that stage, I feel just as happy as if I were the one preaching.

I continued our series on the Songs of Ascents found in Psalm 120-134, with an exposition of Ps. 121 which I labeled A Song of Assurance.

This Psalm is the answer to the psalter's problems that he faced in Ps. 120. In 120, he lamented the fact that he had to dwell in the midst of two groups of people who specialized in creating chaos and despised peace.

He finds the answer to that problem in Ps. 121, which begins with verse 1, which is one of the most misinterpreted verses in the entire bible. Many preachers/teachers down through the years have mistakenly stated that the Psalter was saying that he will place his sight upon the hill to receive the help he needed. But the psalter was not making a statement in verse 1, but rather he was asking a powerful interrogative. He is really saying, shall I look to the hills from whence cometh my help.

While he asks the question in verse 1, he doesn't make us wait too long for the answer. In verse 2 he makes it clear where his help is coming from, he says no my help comes from the Lord. He finds assurance in the fact that when trouble comes, God is the ultimate and essential resourse for all help for His people (I almost shouted again while I was typing that last sentence).

I have been bothered by a lot of things going on in this country and I have been planning to write a post about it, but have been a little hesitant because I want to make sure that my words and my tone will be received and not dismissed. But I will write this post before the end of the week, so please pray that I am led to say the right things in a manner which will be most effective.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Song For Peace

Text: Psalm 120:1-7

Thesis: in our times of great distress, we must completely depend on God to provide peace for our journey

I. Depend on the Protection of God

-verses 1-2
-the enemy of the psalter uses words of slander against him
-this suggests to power of pain that words have over our lives
-when we are spoken against falsely, our initial reaction is to defend our honor, our reputations
-but this psalter shows us that the best way to deal with the lies of men is to let God be our defender

II. Depend on the Punishment of God

-verses 3-4
-when people set out to slander the name of the people of God, instead of taking their punishment into our own hands, we must allow God to punish our enemies

a. Powerful Punishment- verse 4 talks of sharp arrows from the bow of a mighty warrior
-if people are going to use the sharpness of their lying tongue to inflict pain on us, he will use sharp arrows that are swift and powerful to inflict greater pain on them

b. Persistent Punishment - verse 4 talks of glowing coals of the broom tree
-this broom tree is known for its intense and long lasting burning fire
-so if their lies will figuratively cause a burning pain, God will punish them with an eternal, burning pain in hell

III. Depend on the Providence of God

-verses 5-6
-psalter is showing his discomfort with his dwelling in between neighbors who lie and promote chaos
-but the good news is that if we have to dwell among people such as this, the Providence of God will make our dwelling only temporary

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sunday Stuff

As I have expressed in an earlier post, holidays are the toughest times to preach in the Christian Church. People start preparing on Sunday for their cookouts on Monday, and as you can expect, on the East Coast, we feel the "numbers" crunch.

But regardless of that, we still had a wonderful worship experience on yesterday. I mean the Lord showed up and the people were ready to bless His name.

Jamal Goodley was at it again, leading the church in worship. We are fortunate to be witnesses to his growth and development into a mighty man of God. Kadeem Turner and our music ministry were on point as usual. I cannot express the importance of a solid and committed music staff. I know of some Pastors who have a revolving door set in their music ministry, but I have been blessed to have the same staff for the last 2 years. To God Be the Glory!!!! And I am not letting them out of my sight!

We began a new sermon series, dealing with 15 wonderful Psalms, 120-134, which is known as the Songs of Ascents, and I have called the series, Marching Up to Zion. These pilgrim songs, were sung by the Children of Israel as they left their homes, left the valleys, headed towards Mount Zion to worship the Lord.

These songs were sung as preparation for their worship period before the Lord and brought about a new attitude towards the things of God.

The aim that the Lord is leading me towards for our church is that as we are getting closer to reaching our own Mt. Zion, there are some things that we must do while we are making this journey towards our new place of worship.

Psalm 120 describes the psalter's feeling of discomfort having to live surrounded by two groups of people, those from Meshech and those from Kedar. They both were powerful people who specialized in flaunting their military strength and economic might, and they were a people of great conflict and chaos who despised peace.

So the psalter writes this song to the Lord seeking his peace while having to dwell among people who hate peace. I labeled this message A Song For Peace. I will post the outline tomorrow.

I am headed for Memphis, TN in the morning to attend the Annual Session of the National Baptist Convention. This is an important year due to the fact that we will elect a new President this week.

The top candidates are Dr. Julius Scruggs of Alabama and the former president, Dr. Henry Lyons of Florida. I have mixed emotions about this as I like the platform of both men, but I think Lyons would be the better president. But there are apprehensions about that fact as well, because right now our convention is INSIGNIFICANT on a national level, and I fear that if Lyons wins we will then become INFAMOUS. The media horde that will befall Memphis will be crazy. Please pray for our convention that God's will be done!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Yesterday was a wonderful day to be alive and in worship. I was very excited about getting to the pulpit to offer to God my attempt at worship through the preaching of the Gospel.

Jamal led us through worship in song with that wonderful song of the church, I Just Can't Give Up Now and he really ushered in the presence of the Lord.

Last week I was fortunate to preach for my good friend Rev. Frantz Whitfield, pastor of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church, Waterloo, IA for their Family & Friends Day. Pastor Whitfield and the Mount Carmel Church were both gracious and kind to this Pastor and I am forever grateful for another opportunity to share my convictions about Jesus Christ. Please pray for both Pastor and people as they attempt to win Waterloo for Jesus.

I am presently in between preaching series as I will begin a new series on this coming Lord's Day if God says so, and I wrestled with a couple of different texts until the Lord allowed me to land on a wonderful passage that the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church at Ephesus chapter 5:18-21 which I labeled the message A Fresh Anointing.

Paul attempts to admonish this church to live and walk in unity and provides for them another way to accomplish this by not relying on the things of this world and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

This word filled in the Greek means to be controlled by something. Paul makes a contrast of people who are drunk with people who are filled with the Spirit. Alcohol is a substance that depresses while the Spirit is something that lifts. God commands us to allow ourselves to be controlled by the Spirit and not by the world.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Today was a weird day in worship. Things just didn't seem to click all morning long, from the time I woke up late this morning, to the fact that although I was on time to church, the church just sauntered in little by little today and I really have been having a real tough time getting a grasp on it.

Jamal really did another wonderful job leading the church during our worship in song period. He led us in a powerful song entitled, I Don't Mind Waiting on the Lord and he nailed it!

We had a couple of visitors today that was refreshing to see and they appeared to have a wonderful time in worship and fellowship.

I concluded our series on Commitment with an exposition on I Kings 18:17-21 which I labeled When Standing Up Means Standing Alone. Here Elijah is told by the Lord to tell Ahab that the famine and drought was now over and Ahab calls Elijah a troublemaker. Elijah engages Ahab in a powerful debate as to who's God is more powerful, Jehovah or Baal, and he tells Ahab to gather the children of Israel, 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah and meet him on Mount Carmel.

Elijah says to them in verse 21, how long must you linger between two different opinions? If the Lord is God follow him, but if Baal then follow him, and the people did not answer him a word. God wants to know if we are willing to stand for him even if we have to stand alone. It is easy to stand when your friends are standing, but God is looking for soldiers who are willing to stand even if they must stand all by themselves.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunday Stuff

We had another outstanding time in worship this past Lord's Day. I am always amazed whenever the Lord shows up in any place that his people are gathered.

Jamaal really blessed us again in our Praise & Worship period. Kadeem and Dashawn were on point as usual on the keys and drums, and the congregation brought a high spirit of praise with them. To God be the glory!!!

I had to preach at the 8:30 AM worship for the Abundant Joy Community Church of Jersey City, NJ, where Dr. Williard Ashley serves as Pastor. I received this invite from my long time friend and brother, Trayce Evans who is the Minister of Music at the church and the worship was high from start to finish. Please pray for the Abundant Joy Church, as they attempt to win Jersey City Heights for Jesus Christ.

We continued our series on commitment with the conclusion of I Kings 17 with an exposition of verses 17-24 which I entitled The Purpose of Our Service. Elijah is faced with a precarious predicament. He has just witnessed the Lord ensure that this widow would never run out of flour or oil and now he witnesses the death of her only son. He could have walked away but instead he chose to minister to the needs of this woman. God has called each of us not to serve ourselves, but rather we are to minister to the needs of those who are in need of being ministered to.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Penny S. Mann

Today we celebrate the birth of my wonderful and beautiful wife and partner in ministry, Penny! I am forever grateful to the Lord for him sending me a praying woman of God who knows how to get the attention of God on behalf of her family and her church.

She is growing by leaps and bounds into a modern-day first lady that is not limited by the tradition of previous first ladies, but one who is shaping her own legacy as a help-meet to her Pastor-husband.

Keep on worshipping, serving and loving the Lord, Baby! Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered the heart of men and women, what you shall be.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday Stuff

The weather yesterday on the East Coast bordered on torrential! It rained cats and small dogs out here which as you can expect, severely affected attendance at the First Mt Zion Church. I was not at all upset because we have a lot of older saints who would have a lot of trouble driving in those conditions, so it was better for them to stay at home.

Once again, Jamaal led us in praise and worship, and totally allowed the Lord to use him in a mighty way. His ability to effectively minister through songs of Zion and lift up the name of Christ through exhortation, is refreshing for a young man all of 19 years old. I am grateful to God for sending one with those gifts to our church.

We also had a guest psalmist, Tasha Booker from Brooklyn, NY, who used to sing for us a couple of years ago with her singing family, The Bookers, and she flat out killed Blessed Assurance yesterday with a real heavy heart. I have come to be amazed at the power of the anointing when it really shows up in worship. God bless you Tasha!!!

I continued our series on commitment entitled Commitment is Not An Option, with the second message out of I Kings 17, verses 8-16 which I labeled Serving God in Uncertain Times. This is the continuation of the initial service duty of Elijah, as he sojourns from a dry brook named Cherith to a depleted barrel that belongs to a widowed woman in Zarephath.

Elijah asks this woman for a drink of water and a morsel of bread. She replies to him that all she has is enough flour and oil to make a cake for herself and her son so that they could eat and die. Yet she acquiesces to the Prophets request even though she has no idea how the story is going to end up, and Elijah tells her that if she is obedient to the Lord, he will make sure that she would never lack for anything. The Lord is trying to teach us that he wants us to obey him in the empty moments of life so that he could bless us with an abundant existence.

Today is my son Marquis' 16th birthday! Wow has time flew! I am certain that God has a plan for his life. Please pray for all 4 of my sons!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where Do You Stand

This is the message I preached on July 12th from our series on Commitment:

Text: Exodus 32:24-28

Thesis: God blesses those who will stand for him not in moments of calm but rather in times of chaos

Transition: How do we know we are standing on the side of the Lord

I. Public Allegiance To God

-Moses comes off the mountain and sees the people worshipping this golden calf...he gets angry, stands at the gate and asks in verse 26...who's on the Lord's side, come to me
-and all the sons of Levi gathered around him
-in moments of chaos and confusion, God is looking for somebody who will publically acknowledge who He is

How do we acknowledge the Lord

1. Through Our Witness
2. Through Our Ways
3. Through Our Works

II. How We Behave in Strange Circumstances

-the people were frustrated because Moses had spent too much time on the mountain for their taste
-they didn't know what had become of Moses, so in their frustration, they ordered Aaron to make them a god out of gold
-and when Moses came off the mountain looking for a faithful people, only the sons of Levi stood in strange circumstances

III. Who Are You Connected To

-Moses shows up and asks who is on the Lord's side...verse 26 says that only the Levites turned towards Moses
-this is impressive when you consider that all the Levites were doing was living up to their names
-in Genesis 29, Leah wanted to gain the love and affection of her husband Jacob, so in her desire to connect to her husband, she conceived a son and named him Levi, which means to be attached
-God is looking for somebody who is willing to attach themselves to Him

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday Stuff

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted and I really felt like I have missed something. I love to write, and the fact that I didn't for a few week save for my sermons, has really enticed me to get back on the horse and ride again.

We had a long day and night yesterday in worship, but it was an equally outstanding day as well. I was somewhat concerned about the attendance on my way to worship because summer months in the Northeastern United States are tough as most of our members are heading south for the summer.

While our attendance was off, our worship was not! Our Musical Director, Kadeem Turner's grandfather passed this week so he was in Richmond, VA, please keep his family in your prayers, his fill in did a stand up job as his replacement and the worship was really good.

We continued our series on commitment entitled Commitment is Not An Option, with the first of three messages from I Kings 17 which I am labeling the Serving God Chapter, with an exposition on verses 1-7 entitled Serving God in A Dry Season. The Lord really blessed my attempt at biblical exposition, and I pray that the congregation was encouraged and inspired to serve God even when the place you have been sent to serve has dried up. God be praised for the Word!

I will post the outlines from the last three weeks messages in the subsequent days.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Choice To Serve

Text: Joshua 24:14-15

Thesis: once we come to a clear understanding of who God is to us, we must respond with a desire to faithfully serve the Lord will all that we have

I. Renewal of the Servant

-verse therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness
-in order to truly serve the Lord there must be a renewal or a change in our hearts

1. possess a respectful heart...therefore fear the Lord...fear means to reverence the Lord
-we have no problem being respectful to the world, but fail to be respectful to the Lord

2. possess a resilient heart...and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness...sincerity means uninhibited and without limitations
-must not let anyone or anything keep us from being faithful servants to the Master

II. Requirement of the Servant

-verse 14...put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord
-obedience is essential in being a faithful and committed servant of the Lord

1. obedient in spite of our past...put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River
-faithful service is not bound by actions of yesterday but rather look towards the joys of the future

2. obedient in spite of our pressures...verse 15...and if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord
-people will try to make us believe that we are wrong to be committed in our service to the Lord
-Joshua said that no matter the pressures, we must choose this day whom we will serve

III. Resolution of the Servant

-verse 15...choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord
-Joshua said he is resolved that no matter what god you serve, both he and his entire family are committed to serving the Lord

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday Stuff

It always feel good to be back home from preaching on the road to being back in the pulpit that you have been handed to be a good steward over it and the people of God. I am happy to be back at the First Mount Zion Church!

All week long, I had been real excited about returning back to First Mount Zion, because I was starting a new series on commitment and I was really chomping at the bit to begin.

Due to the 4th of July holiday, our crowd was off, but there was a real good spirit of worship in the house. Penny did her usual outstanding job of leading our Sunday School, and Jamal really blessed the house during the music ministry portion as he led us in singing that great hymn standard of the church, Holy, Holy, Holy.

We began this new series on commitment, with an exposition out of Joshua 24:14-15, which I labeled A Choice To Serve. This man Joshua, appointed by God to complete the assignment of his father in the ministry Moses had not yet done, lead the children of Israel into the promised land, at the end of his long journey, was distressed because the people began to possess a spirit of indifference and indecision towards the things of God.

For there were some of the people who were faithful to the Lord and did whatever they could to advance his Kingdom. There were others who were among the people but not of the same ideals or love for the Lord , in fact they did everything they could to convince others to turn away from the Lord God. But there was another group, who refused to stand on either side of the equation. Those very people are who Joshua turned his attention to when he starts to give them a history lesson in verse 3 that it was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that had always been there for them. He says that since the Lord has always been good to them, they had to make a choice as to whether they serve man or they will serve the Lord. He tells them, they can serve the gods that their fathers served on the other side of the River, or they can even serve the gods of the Amorites in whose land they dwell, but as for him and his family, they will serve the Lord. God is asking that same question to the church today, will we serve the world or will we serve the Lord. Just like the songwriter said, I've decided to make Jesus my choice!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Starting A New Series

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted a blog entry. On last Sunday, I was blessed to be the guest preacher for the 44th Church Anniversary of the Messiah Temple Baptist Church, Chicago, IL where my good friend Dr. Keith B. McGee serves as the Pastor.

My assignment was to preach the 8 AM worship service, where the Lord led me to preach an exposition that I did at the First Mount Zion Church during our series on the book of Ezra, A Prayer For Revival, found in chapter 9 and verse 9. The Lord really blessed my feeble attempt at biblical exposition and I am so glad that he showed up.

The 11 AM worship preacher was another good friend, Pastor Romell Williams of the Lilydale Progressive Baptist Church of Chicago, in which he preached a great exposition out of Acts 5:17-42, which he labeled the message, The Confirmation of Opposition. He presented an outstanding look at Gamaliel, whom we have always given a good review, but Pastor Williams said that his wisdom was really foolish. Great look by a great preacher!

I am beginning a new series this week on our commitment as children of God, in which I have called the series, Commitment Is Not An Option. I do believe that the one of the key issues that have plagued the Christian Church is our inability to be totally committed to the Lord Jesus. We go to church when we feel like it, we tithe when we feel like it, we serve whenever we feel like it. All the while, we ask the Lord to keep us safe, to wake us up every morning, to give us gainful employment, to pay our bills, yet we won't give him what we owe him. I would suggest that God is tired of our non-commitment, but is challenging us in this day and time, to sell out for the Master. Bishop Hezekiah Walker sings a song that says, I am souled heart is fixed and my minds made up, no room, no vacancies, I'm all filled up...the Spirit lives in me and that's the reason I'm souled out!

Please pray for our church's time together in our worship of the Word. Have a safe Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Life Doesn't Make Sense

Text: Proverbs 3:5-6

Thesis: when life brings us to a point of confusion, our total trust in our heavenly Father will make the difference between failure and fruitfulness

I. Measure of Our Trust

-verse in the Lord with all your heart
-Solomon describes for us how much we are to trust in the Lord
-we are not to trust God haphazardly, not lazily nor as if it is inconsequential...but in our moments of confusion we are to trust the Lord with all of our heart

II. Motivation of Our Trust

-verse in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding
-two verbs provide the proper picture of our motivation...lean and understanding
-lean means to depend on...understanding means intellect or logic
-Solomon says that we are to never depend on our own logic but rather on the logic of the Lord

III. Mark of Our Trust

-verse all your ways acknowledge him
-we are to express a high regard for the presence of the Lord in our lives
-need to acknowledge that God is the giver of everything in our lives...and if he brought us out of that before, surely he can bring us out again

IV. Management of Our Trust

-verse all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths
-God manages the trust we place in him by giving us a reward for our trust
-that when we trust God, depend on his understanding, acknowledge his control over our situation, God will provide a way of escape

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Let me make a confession that I believe I have shared in a previous post, special days in church are not my favorite days to worship and preach in. I am turned off by the lack of attention that's paid to the importance of the preaching moment during worship, so much so, that I am often distracted for a momentarily by the actions and antics of those who come to be seen and not to worship. I may be a little harsh but please understand my convictions about this: the most important moment in any worship experience, I believe, is the moment of preaching and the subsequent decision that an unsaved sinner must make during the call to discipleship, and it bothers me to no end, when people take that moment for granted or don't have a high regard for it.

Having said all of that, worship yesterday at the First Mount Zion Church was off the hook! It began from sunday school, all the way to the invitation to discipleship. Penny was great with her class as usual, Jamal sang his face off during the worship in song period, I mean he really blessed the people, and the Lord showed up in a major way during the moment of preaching. It made me really forget my inhibitions with preaching during special days and I am grateful for the time we all shared with the Lord in worship.

I continued our small sermon series on encouragement with a message that has been a burden on my heart to preach for some time, out of a familiar passage housed in Proverbs 3:5-6 which I labeled "When Life Does Not Make Sense". This message dealt with our trouble in dealing when life gets confusing to a child of God. Solomon writes this great book so that the reader is shown how to live a wise life and is instructed on how to be successful in life through an intense fear of the Lord. Chapter 3 is a picture of a father who motivates his inexperienced child on how to trust God completely when life makes no sense. In those moments of confusion, God doesn't desire us to fall to pieces to give up and throw in the towel, but to trust God in moments of misery and confusion.

After church, Penny took me to one of my favorite local Italian restaurants for dinner and we came home and just relaxed and enjoyed our day. I thank God for great days!!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

God Will Help You

Text: Psalm 46:1-3

Thesis: our ability to rise above our bad situations rest totally in our complete confidence in a God who can

I. God is Our Personal Rescue

-verse 1...God is our refuge and strength
-this verse suggests that when we are in trouble, God is willing to come to our rescue

1. We Find Safety in God - verse 1...God is our refuge - this means that God is our shelter from our troubles

2. We Find Security in God - verse 1...and strength - this means that when we get in a tight situation we need somebody stronger than we are to handle the tough times of life

II. God is Our Powerful Resource

-verse 1...God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble
-this suggest that not only will God protect us from trouble but he will provide for us in trouble

-present has two distinct meanings in the Hebrew:

1. God is our Sufficient Resource - it means to be enough...when we get in trouble, God is all that we need

2. God is our Immediate Resource - it also means right now...for there are times when we cannot wait God will show up right now

III. God is Our Permanent Resistance

-verses 2-3...therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea...though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling Selah
-resistance is a synonym for preservation which means that God will preserve us from the troubles in our lives

1. preserves us even though our fears stricken us (v. 2)
2. preserves us even though our foundations shake us (v. 2-3)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday Stuff

My wife and I went away on vacation last week so I did not attend worship of any kind for the first time in a long time, and it was really worth it and much needed. We have been on the grind at the First Mount Zion Church for the entire 3 years that we have been there and even more so since we began our relocation project 2 years ago this month. We both were completely fried mentally and physically and I am grateful to the Master for allowing us to be able to go an refresh and recharge our batteries to come back ready to work.

I came back this week ready to get back at relocating and rebuilding our church. I continued our "mini-series" on encouragement with an exposition on one of my favorite passages in scripture housed in Psalm 46:1-3 which I labeled the message God Will Help You. This Psalm written by an unknown psalter, is an companion text to 2 Kings 19, which is a Psalm that was written as a celebration because God had assisted the children of God survive and attack and prevail in a battle with the Assyrians under the rule of Sennacherib. This song was sung as they went into the Temple in celebration for God helping them defeat their enemies.

We may not have an enemy named Sennacherib, but our enemy is more powerful and more wicked by the name of Satan, and in our attacks from our enemy, we are unable to defeat them under our own strength or devices because our physical strength is powerless against a spiritual foe. But we have a God that will provide all of the help we need in our battles against Satan.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Strength For The Struggle

I am currently in a serious predicament with regards to my preaching schedule and it has me in a real quandary. As many of you know, I am consistently in a series either on a book of the bible, a chapter of the bible or a biblical principle. I truly believe that preaching in a series keeps the focus of our congregation on a specific thought for an entire period that develops their understanding of scripture and their familiarity of the direction that God is leading our church. But I am now in a real quandary. I have just completed our series on the Beatitudes entitled Developing Christian Character, and due to various things going on during the month of June, it would not be prudent for me to start a new series and have it broken up a couple of weeks in the month, hence the problem.

So during my personal prayer time, I sought direction from the Lord and he led me to preach a few messages on encouragement in the meantime. In this present day and age, with our economy dealing a mighty blow to our finances, with enemies of our country still plotting to do us much harm, the people of God need to be encouraged to stand tall in the midst of pain, doom and gloom.

The Lord led me to preach an exposition out of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 which I have tagged Strength For the Struggle. The Apostle Paul writes this 4th chapter as a continuation to what he wrote in chapter 3. In chapter 3 he tells the church there that there were a group of zealots called Judaizers who preached a mixed gospel to the Galatians that threatened to destroy the ministry.

Their major emphasis was that salvation by faith in Christ was not enough, that they had to mix faith in Christ with an obedience to the law. This gospel of legalism became very popular with the people and it undermined the correct teachings of Paul that our salvation is solely tied to our belief in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul rejected their methods of teaching as those who were false teachers leading the people of God away from the Word of God. How did Paul refute these false prophets, by showing the people the wonderful glory of the ministry of the Gospel by reminding them that this ministry was given to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Thesis: our realization of what we have in Jesus Christ, provides for us all the strength we need to handle any conflict that comes our way

I. Refuse to Discontinue the Ministry

-verse 1...therefore having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart
-he had already confessed that the trials he faced in Asia almost brought him to despair in 2 Cor. 1:8
-because of all of the struggles...all of the heartaches...all of the pain...all of the discouragement that comes along with the matter how difficult the struggle, he will never give up on the ministry
-Jesus said in Luke 9 while talking to his disciples about the cost of ministry, tells one who wanted to say farewell to his family before he follows Jesus...he that put his hands to the Gospel plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven

II. Refuse to Deceive the Ministry

-verse 2...but we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways
-Paul acknowledges that this ministry came from the Lord...and since it came from the Lord, we must conduct ourselves as good ambassadors of Jesus Christ...we cannot conduct ourselves in a deceitful manner

1. refuse to deface the Gospel of God...verse 2...we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word
-Paul refuses to handle the Word of God deceitfully

2. refuse to disavow the goodness of God...verse 3...and even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing
-the Judaizers were guilty of hiding the truths of the Gospel to keep the people fooled into believing that their teaching was the truth
-Paul says that he has nothing to hide in his personal life nor in his preaching and he will always allow the people to see the goodness of the Lord through his Word

3. refuse to deny the glory of God...verse their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ
-Paul says that he will never deny the people from experiencing the glory of God through his faithfulness in preaching the truths of the Gospel
-the lost sinner is blinded by Satan but when sinners are given the Gospel the light of the Gospel will shine on their lives

III. Refuse to Dominate the Ministry

-verse 5...for what we proclaim is not ourselves, but jesus Christ as Lord with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake
-the awesome fact that Jesus gave them the ministry kept Paul from allowing the ministry to be all about him
-but the ministry is always about Jesus Christ

1. preached genuine humility...verse 5
2. God pours His glory into humanity...verse 6

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Paradox of Persecution

Text: Matthew 5:10-12

Thesis: those who's life is an example of Christian character will receive true happiness despite having to deal with satanic suffering

I. The Reason For Persecution

-verse 10...blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
-this verse clearly states that not everybody who is persecuted can be considered blessed...only those who are persecuted for righteousness sake will be blessed
-this verse suggests that we will be persecuted for being just like Jesus

1. persecuted for being united with Christ - suggests the closer we get to Jesus, the more we will be persecuted
2. persecuted because the Holy Spirit is at work in us - ever since we got saved, the Holy Spirit has been working in us to transform us into looking less like the world and more like Jesus

II. The Requirements For Persecution

-verse 11...blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account
-we are persecuted not only because of righteousness but also because of Jesus himself
-not only because of our desire to be like him, but also our desire to submit to him

how do we know we are being persecuted for our faithfulness to Jesus

1. mocked because of Christ...says blessed are you when others revile you

-this word revile means to throw something in one's face...they mocked and ridiculed Jesus and if we are faithful to Him they will mock and ridicule us

2. marked because of Christ...when others revile you and persecute you

-this assures us that we will be persecuted...they will come after us for being faithful...because we follow Jesus we will have a bulls eye on our backs

3. maligned because of Christ...when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account

-because we are faithful to Jesus, there will be people who will flat out lie on us...and just make up all types of stuff against us
-but there is a blessing for those who can endure the lies of this world

III. The Reward For Persecution

-verse 12...rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you
-the good news about persecution of the saints is that all of this struggle is not for nothing...there will be a reward for those who suffer for Christ
-how we respond to our persecution will determine if we receive this reward

1. cheerful attitude...rejoice...word means to express joy as a direct result of the grace of God
-in other words, when we think about the fact that we are going through this period of persecution only because of the grace of God it should give us joy

2. celebratory approach...rejoice and be glad...means to show joy by leaping and skipping or to have ecstatic joy
-making through our suffering should do more than cause us to smile but it should make us want to jump for joy

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Peace in the Midst of Conflict

I failed to post my outline from two weeks ago, so I am posting it now!

Text: Matthew 5:9

Thesis: God blesses those who expresses a desire to calm the troubled waters with a lofted position in the His family of the faithful

I. Peacemakers Embrace the Cross

-peacemakers are those who have accepted the absolute necessity of the cross into their lives
-peacemakers know in their hearts that Jesus' cross was really their cross...and because of their sins against God, it should have been them hanging between two thieves and not Jesus
-this mindset enables children of God to live a life that will not look to retaliate when attacked

II. Peacemakers Encourage Communication

-peacemakers are willing to build bridges and break down barriers when burned by conflict
-peacemakers are never passive about reaching out to those they are in conflict with seeking a resolution to every problem
-peacemakers take the initiative to restore broken relationships

III. Peacemakers Extend the Hand of Cooperation

-peacemakers are willing to promote unity and talk not in divisive terms of US and THEM, but rather of WE
-peacemakers look past silly differences to make us all united in Jesus Christ

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Stuff

These Sundays right before holidays are always tough here in Jersey. I have been blessed to be able to preach in many cities around this country, and one thing I have noticed is that people tend to go to church more consistently in other parts of the country than they do in the northeast.

Our here it seems that God has a whole lot of competition to deal with on Sunday mornings. There is NY Giants football in the winter, pop warner football in the fall, and don't even mention the Jersey Shore in the summer. When it comes to holidays like Memorial Day, you can be assured that people in the northeast have to begin preparing on Sunday for their cookouts on Monday, so they stay home from church.

I try not to let that bother me, but I know that God is everything to me, and I can give Him a couple of hours on Sunday to worship His name, and then go and do the other things that I want to do to get ready for Monday. So as you can expect, I was not pleased when our attendance was way down today, but I told the members who were there that the Lord was pleased with their faithfulness in their worship. I told them that God never lets our faithfulness go unrewarded.

Jamal really ministered to us today during our worship period by bringing back an old hymn of the church, One More Time, One More Time, I'm glad to be in the service, One More Time. It got so good that I had to get a little piece of it myself. I am extremely happy with my music ministry, they are outstanding young men who really love Jesus and love what they do for Him. God Be Praised!

I concluded our series on the Beatitudes entitled Developing Christian Character, with an exposition on Matthew 5:10-12, which I labeled The Paradox of Persecution. Jesus closes out this section of his great Sermon on the Mount, with a warning to the church that there will be a wave of persecution on the horizon for those who consider themselves to be children of the King. He tells us that if we follow the first 7 principles of the Beatitudes, we can be assured that persecution will come to us. If we are not feeling the pressures of persecution, then it is a clear sign that we are not following at least one of the first 7 principles. But the paradox of our persecution is that God blesses those who are willing to endure suffering as a child of God. I am thankful that God will bless us for patiently enduring the persecution of this world.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Clean Heart

Text: Matthew 5:8

Thesis: Jesus pronounces his blessedness only to those who's purity is not relegated to the surface, but seek to reside at the center of our hearts

I. The Perception of Purity

-Jesus did not say blessed are the would have validated the belief system of the Pharisees who specialized in showing holiness on the outside but had dirty hearts on inside
-for purity is not found in outward expression but rather an inward commitment

a. free from corruption - pure in heart means to be without blemish which occurs at the moment of salvation and causes us to acknowledge our affliction to sin and receive the forgiveness of the Lord

b. fixed on Christ - pure in heart also means to have unmixed motives...suggests that our motives must be centered on pleasing Jesus and not ourselves

II. The Process of Purity

-being able to possess a pure heart is not easy...but it is possessed through a process that we all must go through

a. spiritual process - one of the greatest untruths is that in order for a person to change they must change their environment.
-while that is an important part of change, that alone will not suffice...for man's problems originates not from our environment, but rather from their heart
-man needs a changed heart to be truly pure

b. practical process - we need our heart cleansed daily through a closer relationship with the Lord
-James 4:7-8...submit therefore to God; resist the devil and he will flee...draw near to God and he will draw near to you; cleanse your hands you sinners; purify your hearts you double-minded

III. The Promise of Purity

-verse 8...blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God
-this verse has the same promise that each of the beatitudes possess...present and future fulfillment

a. present fulfillment - those that are pure in heart will see a vision of God physically in this world
1. see God through creation
2. see God through circumstances
3. see God through his care

b. future fulfillment - there will come a time when seeing God on earth will not be enough, but we will see God in eternity, face to face

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Stuff

I have been experiencing some severe writer's block for the last few weeks and that has caused me to become a little lax with my blogging. I really don't know why, other than the fact that I am so consumed with our project that I just haven't been able to shake this block. But the good news is that today, I began to feel the itch to write again, so here I am back again.

Mother's Day is a very difficult day for me as many of you know, since my Momma went home to be with the Lord in 2006, and yesterday was no different. I found myself just thinking about all of the things that she did for me. How she went without so that I could have, it made me not be tearful, but more appreciative for all that my Momma did for me. I love her and miss her greatly!

My big brother Pastor Michael Jordan (yes that's his name) and his wife continued our pre-Mother's Day tradition of going out the day before and we had an outstanding time at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. M.J. lost his mother in 2007 so it was an emotional time of sharing, but we made it through together.

Yesterday was a pretty good day in worship at First Mount Zion, but the truth is that special days are not really my favorite days to preach in because there are people who come to church just because their mother or grandmother made them come, and they do not come to worship God. That makes it a little tough to have worship like we should, but the Lord brought us through.

I continued our series on the Beatitudes entitled Developing Christian Character, with an exposition on Matthew 5:8 which says, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, which I labeled simply A Clean Heart. Jesus writes this 6th principle for living like a Christian in response to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who focused on an outward expression of obedience to the rules of religion and not an inward desire to have a closer connection with the Lord. So he writes this principle to charge the people of God to place their entire focus not on externalities but rather on an internal desire to have a heart that is pure and connected to Jesus Christ.

For too many of us have become satisfied with a head religion, which means that as long as we can remember our favorite scriptures and a few hymns, then everything is alright. Or we have become satisfied with a hand religion, which suggests that we have become more concerned with being dutiful instead of being faithful. Jesus says he desires not that we have a head religion, nor a hand religion, but he wants us to possess and exhibit a heart religion. I will post the outline tomorrow.

I want to say a word of gratitude to our blogging mother, Momma V, who has stepped into a mother-like figure for me and I want her to know that on this day, I am grateful that both you and Pops have become fixtures not just in my life, but in the lives of all of your biological and blogging sons. Thanks and we love you guys greatly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Stuff

I was not in the pulpit at the First Mount Zion Church last Sunday, as I had the expressed pleasure of preaching for Bishop John Vaughan and the Calvary Christian Fellowship Ministries, in Ewing, NJ, so I was extremely excited to preach to the wonderful people that the Lord has given me stewardship over.

Our early morning prayer was really great because we are really expecting something great from the Lord in the next few weeks regarding our new location. I could feel the prayers of the people going out and we are anticipating the Lord answering every one of our prayers.

Penny did another powerful job in teaching our Sunday School class, as she is leading them back to the basics which I desire to be taught to our congregation as we prepare for the next phase of ministry. She concluded her teaching series on how to study the Word of God, with a lesson on identifying the context of a specific passage of scripture. The congregation were active participants once again as they have become excited about the lessons week by week.

Our worship leader Jamal led the congregation in a great mixture of hymns and quartet songs (which is starting to grow on me a little) and they were completely into the worship in songs. I then led them in singing one of the favorite hymns from my childhood, "This May Be My Last Time" which we transitioned into "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, Since I Laid My Burdens Down". I had a ball with the Music Ministry.

We continued our preaching series on the Beatitudes which is entitled Developing Christian Character, with an exposition on Matthew 5:6, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied, which I labeled Satisfaction Guaranteed. The first three principles found in the Beatitudes lists what man needs to walk as a Christian, but the fourth principle gives man a solution to that which has inhibited them from walking as a Christian ought. For in order to walk as a Christian ought, man must come to the understanding that we have an obligation to live our lives inside of the Will of God.

After worship, the weather in New Jersey was outstanding, so Penny and I came home, changed clothes, and went to dinner to enjoy the rest of the day. God Be Praised!!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Resurrection Weekend Stuff

Resurrection Weekend, to this Pastor, is the greatest moment in the history of the church and in the life of every child of God.  For this is the day where we all gather to celebrate the very reason why we are able to be alive and in church in the first place.  On Friday He died, but early Sunday Morning He got up (I am shouting all over again as I am typing this).  Thank God for a dying and a resurrecting Savior.

This weekend was an especially draining yet extremely enriching one for me.  I returned on Thursday from an awesome time in Corpus Christi, TX, and had to preach the last word from Jesus on the Cross at a Good Friday service given by the Minister's Clergy Council of Englewood, Teaneck & Vicinity in Northern New Jersey under the leadership of my friend and brother, Dr. William Marcus Small, Pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Englewood.  Let me tell you, that was one of the best Good Friday services that I have ever been apart of.  There was not one iota of a spirit of competition and every preacher stuck to their assignments and really did a great job.

On yesterday, I had the pleasure of preaching for my sister in the ministry Pastor Tracey Brown who pastors the Ruth Fellowship Ministries in Plainfield, NJ for their Sunrise service.  I am still struggling with my allergies and it became apparent early Sunday morning, that I really had to focus more intently than I normally do on making sure that I am not distracted by my own coughing.  Needless to say, the Lord showed up and blessed the presentation of His Word.  I preached a passage out of Mark 16:1-8 in which I labeled the message simply An Empty Tomb.  I argued that we can receive the newness of life only through our ability to embrace the truth of an empty tomb.

1.  Access to the Tomb

2.  Assurance in the Tomb

3.  Account of the Tomb

I continued our series at the First Mount Zion Church on the Beatitudes with an exposition on Matthew 5:5 entitled There's Power in A Surrendered Will.  Jesus teaches that if we are going to stand tall in this world, we must all possess a spirit of meekness.  The world views meekness to mean weakness, timidity, or lack of self-assurance.  But meekness does not mean weakness, but rather it means power under control, and we only are able to gain this type of control when we are able to look at ourselves with a spirit of poverty that says we are not who we think we are, and a mournful heart that cries tears of sorrow over the sinful actions that we have committed in our lives.  And this will cause us to surrender our will to the will of God to be the servant that he desires from us.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Preaching @ Friendship Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, TX

On yesterday, I had the express pleasure of preaching at the Friendship Baptist Church, Corpus Christi, TX where my blogging and adopted brother Kevin Pullam serves as the Pastor for their AWE 2009 Revival. All I can say is that the entire Pullam family know how to host a preacher. They made me feel like a son/brother from the moment I stepped off of the airplane on Tuesday.

Momma V was so happy and proud to have her new son in town that I don't know who was more happy to be there me or her. She introduced me to everybody that she saw, and made them call me her son. It was good to see her happy. Pops Pullam is a Pastor's Pastor. His presence and wisdom is something that I will cherish, as he was a blessing to me in both advice and presence.

Kevin was an outstanding host, who made certain that I didn't want for anything while I was there. His vision for this revival was evident in the excellent manner that the revival was promoted and the Friendship Church opened their arms to me to make me feel extremely welcomed. What I didn't know was that Kevin Pullam is a Pastor with many gifts. He sang I Won't Complain during the invitation and he flat out killed everything in the house. And to top it off, he got on the keyboard and played during the benediction. Wow what a gifted man of God. His wife Latonya and their children were very hospitible as well.

Kraig Pullam made the 3 1/2 hour trip from Houston down to Corpus Christi to come and fellowship with me, he too is a gifted preacher who is doing a great job at the Cornerstone Church there in Houston, please keep them in your prayers as they are headed towards a great new move in their ministry.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a great preacher and Pastor, Arthur Lane, of the St. Matthew Baptist Church and he has a powerful ministry and historic congregation there in Corpus Christi. I am greatly looking forward to this developing friendship and fellowship between Lane and myself.

The Lord really blessed the exposition of the Word, as I dealt with a message from my series on the book of Ezra, chapter 9 entitled A Prayer For Revival. Please keep the rest of the revival in your prayers, as they have Dr. Ralph West coming next week, and Pastor Kraig Pullam the week after.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday Stuff

As we enter this what I consider to be the greatest season in the life of any Child of God, the week from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Morning, I am consistently awed by the grace and mercy of the Master, who looked at bad, evil and wicked people and decided to do something for us that we are unable to do for ourselves, it renews my love and appreciation for everything that the Lord has done in my life.

I do not take his love for granted, because he could have let me die in my mess, this has caused me to feel like the prophet Jeremiah in Lamentations is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not; they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness. Thank God for his faithfulness to his children, even though there are times when we are not faithful to him.

We had such an awesome time in worship yesterday. I am beginning to really become encouraged by the momentum that our church seems to be gaining each and every week from the congregation's excitement for Sunday School, to their participation in worship, to even their commitment to Thursday night Bible Class. While it is clear that we have a long way to go until we reach the level of ministry that God desires for His church to be, I have learned to celebrate God over small steps of progress, for if enough small steps occur, they will eventually become greater steps for the Lord.

I continued our series on the Beatitudes, with an exposition on Matthew 5:4...blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted, which I labeled the message, Comfort For A Christian. This word mourn can mean a few things. Jesus could have been referring to a period of sorrow over the loss of a loved one or some other sort of personal disappointment. And it is easier to get over those types of circumstances when you are able to mourn over them and get over it. Jesus could have been talking about having sorrow for the evil that this world perpetuates against one another, or to possess a social conscience. For a big part of being a Christian is our ability to care about the condition of somebody else, and Jesus told us in Matthew 5:44, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. But in this text, Jesus was talking about a sorrow for the sins that each individual commits against a Holy God. And Jesus is saying to them and to us, that he will provide heavenly comfort only for those who exhibit a Godly sorrow for their transgressions against the Lord. Wow what a Savior!

I will be traveling on tomorrow to the great city of Corpus Christi, TX to preach at the Friendship Baptist Church where our brother and blogging friend Pastor Kevin Pullam is the Pastor, for their AWE 2009 Revival. I am both excited and honored to have been asked to share my convictions about Jesus Christ to this congregation. I am also looking forward to spending time with Pop and Momma Pullam, Kevin and Kraig while I am there. Pop, Momma, Kevin and his wife Latonya came to New Jersey during the Inauguration Celebration in February and they spent the day with me, and they were a great blessing to me, so I can't wait to get down there and experience their church and city and family. Please pray for my travels, and pray for the revival that God will get every drop of the glory.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Humble Spirit

Text: Matthew 5:3

Thesis: a true humble spirit occurs when a child of God sees themselves for who they really are

I. Express A Need For Help

-this suggests that we must recognize that this key principle of Jesus Christ cannot fulfilled through our own strength, but we are totally at the whim of a power greater than we are
-because of the sinfulness of our flesh we are unable to keep the laws and principles of God, so in order to make this transformation, we need the Lord to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves

II. Empty Yourself of Yourself

-before we can exhibit greatness in God through an abiding of his principles, we must empty out those things that hinder us and allow god to pour humility in us
-in other words, there must be an emptying before there can be a deposit
-if we pour out the old things of our sinfulness and disobedience, God will pour in something greater than what we poured out

III. Enables You to Receive Your Inheritance

-verse 3 says...blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
-those who allow the Lord to pour into them a spirit of humility, will receive a great inheritance
-every child of God will enjoy resting in eternity, when they possess a humble spirit

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Great day this past Lord's day at FMZBC! I am amazed at how the Lord will answer prayers when the people get together to ask Him for a change. God is totally giving our church a brand new atmosphere that is conducive for worship and provides and inviting place for new converts to come and be apart.

I truly believe that God will not send people to your church if the atmosphere is not set right. I am not complaining nor talking down my church, I am just stating the obvious...that God is going to honor our requests when we begin to possess His Spirit within the fabric of our church.

I had a heavy spirit on me all day Saturday and I couldn't understand why. It wasn't until my older brother walked into the sanctuary that god revealed it to me. My brother Leonard is dealing with some real personal issues that have brought about a real sense of depression in his life, and when he walked in, I realized that he was in a bad place mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The Lord led me to lead the congregation in that great Dwayne Woods song, Let Go, Let God Have His Way. I literally saw the load lift off of my brother so that he would be free to give all of his issues to the Lord and leave them there. Please pray for my Momma's oldest son, he really needs it.

I continued our series on the Beatitudes entitled Developing Christian Character with the first principle that Jesus gives to us on how to walk and act with the character of a follower of Jesus Christ, with an exposition on Matthew 5:3...blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, which I labeled A Humble Spirit.

Being poor in spirit does not mean to be poor spirited, it does not mean to have no backbone, it does not even mean as Catholic priests profess, that God wants his servants to take on a vow of poverty. This verse literally means to possess a spirit of humility. God does not want his people to exhibit arrogance, but instead in order to be great in God, we must all possess a spirit of humility, which suggests that we must be willing to look at ourselves and see that we fall terribly short of the personage of God. That will cause us to have a humble spirit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

Text: Matthew 5:1-12

Thesis: true happiness is achieved by our willingness to turn away from temporal things and head directly towards the spiritual

I. True Happiness is a Free Gift For Saints

-we must recognize that we shall never get anywhere in our search for happiness until we give up trying to find in on our own efforts and receive it for what it is
-a free, unwarrented, undeserved gift from the Lord

II. True Happiness is Found in the Forgiveness of Our Sins

-we must realize that the blessing from the Lord that is most central in the life of every individual is that we need God to forgive us from our sins
-we pray for many things that we don't need but we want, but the thing we need to pray the most for is that God will offer us forgiveness

III. True Happiness Focuses on Our Savior

-we must put our focus on the actions of the savior to be blessed by what he did to provide the happiness we need
-we need to put our entire focus on the cross of Calvary

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday Stuff

We had a pretty interesting day at FMZBC. First of all I have been sick for the last four days, so much so that I could not get any sleep Saturday night, my nose was completely stopped up, my ears were popping, and I had a cough that I thought was going end up with one of my lungs in my lap. Needless to say I was very concerned about my energy level during our worship service, and to top it off, I had to preach at an afternoon service, I had no idea how the day would turn out.

I want to report that the Lord showed up yesterday during worship, and he made an exchange, he took my physical weakness and gave me his strength, and I was able to make it through the day. God Be Praised!!!

The Lord led us to begin a new preaching series on yesterday on the Beatitudes housed in Matthew 5:1-12, which I have tagged the series, Developing Christian Character. This was Jesus' famous message known as the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus sets out to provide keys on how to live as a believer ought to live. And as our church is inching closer and closer to our new location, this series is designed to show us that a new building does not a new church make. We cannot expect to do the same things, be the same way, and get different results. I am so excited about this series. Please pray for the series.

Yesterday, I introduced the series with a topical message (something I rarely do) on the word that opens each lesson in the Beatitudes, the word blessed, in which I labeled the message, The Pursuit of Happiness. This word blessed has multiple meanings in the original language. Firstly, it means to bless, or to consecrate and set aside for the service of the Lord. It is where we get our custom of blessing our food before we eat it, to ask the Lord to consecrate both us and our food to be used for his service. Secondly, it is defined as words that we get our English derivatives benediction and eulogy, which means to speak well of. Later on in this sermon, Jesus says bless them that curse you, which suggests that when people put their mouth on you, don't fire back, speak well of them and watch the Lord take care of them. Thirdly, it means to be spiritually happy, which suggests to us that while we as humans seek happiness in many places, the only way to experience true happiness is to find it in Jesus.

I had the pleasure of preaching for the 55th Pastoral Anniversary of Bishop B.F. Jackson, pastor of the St. John's Methodist Episcopal Reformed Church of Elizabeth, NJ in the afternoon, and it was a joy and and honor to stand and deliver my convictions about Jesus Christ during this grand celebration. The St. John's Church did a marvelous job in the celebration, and I ask that you would keep them in your prayers as a transition is soon to take place there.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prayer Changes Things

Text: Ezra 10:1-5

Thesis: for the intercession of God's anointed can make the difference in what God will do to and through his people

I. Prayer Produces a Proper Assembly

-verse 1...while Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly
-prayer will cause God's people to gather around the altar for prayer

a. Unified Society...a very great assembly of men, women and children gathered together
b. Uncovered Sins...wept bitterly...they wept with the reality that they were sinning against God

II. Prayer Produces a Proper Answer

-verse 2...and Shecaniah, the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam addressed Ezra: we have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this
-this prayer caused Shecaniah to confess the obvious sin of the people of God...they married pagan women
-God's law did not permit this type of marriage because they were from different nationalities...but because they professed a different faith
-Ezra's answer was not to hide their sins...but to confess that they have broken faith with God

III. Prayer Produces a Proper Agreement

-verse 3...therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my Lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law
-Shecaniah makes this agreement to free God's people from their sinfulness so that they could truly worship the Lord
-it was intersting that Shecaniah was the spokesman with this agreement...since his father married a pagan woman which would suggest that his mother was that woman...and if this agreement was met, then both his mother and he would have to leave
-sometimes the hard decisions are the ones that will free the people from the bondage of sin

IV. Prayer Produces a Proper Attitude

-verses 4& 5...suggest that Ezra displays the right attitude by not blasting the people for their sins...he instead prays for them
-when he looks up to heaven, they look up to heaven...his attitude was to pray...their attitude was to follow spiritual leadership
-prayer will cause sinners to follow leadership back to the feet of the Master

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday Stuff

The Lord really showed up this past Sunday at the First Mount Zion Church. I know that has been my testimony for the last few weeks, but it is the "Gospel truth", the Spirit of the Lord has really been moving within the walls of the church and in the hearts of the people of God. I wish I could take credit for it through my preaching, or my worship, or my personality, but that would make me out to be both a liar and a glory hound.

The reason why the Spirit of the Lord has shown himself in our church for the last few weeks, greater than ever before, is totally because our God is a prayer answering God. I have really discovered that when God's people pray, God's power will appear! The congregation has become more engaged in study, in worship and in their expectation that God is getting ready to bless us tremendously.

Worship was outstanding once again as Jamal got the congregation ready for our worship in the Word of God.

We concluded our series on the book of Ezra which I tagged the series, Restoration and Rededication, with our closing message found in Ezra 10:1-5, which I labeled, Prayer Changes Things. Chapter 10 is a continuation of chapter 9, in that Ezra discovers that the people of God had begun the practice of engaging in marriage with pagan women. This act greatly disturbed Ezra, and he took his issue with the people's disobedience to the law of God to the Lord in prayer. Chapter 10 chronicles for us the results of God's anointed going to God on behalf of the people of God.

The reality is that when we pray for the Lord to fix that which is wrong with us, we will discover that prayer will indeed turn things around on our behalf. Fred Hammond sang a song, late in the midnight hour, God's gonna turn it around, it's gonna work in your favor. I do believe that as our church engages in prayer for the deliverance of our congregation, that prayer will turn things around for us.

This past weekend, I received the terrible and heart wrenching news that Dr. Cedric Britt of Fort Worth, TX went home to be with the Lord. Cedric Britt was one of the last of the nice guys in ministry. He was a great personality and a great preacher. The church community has been better because we have had Cedric Britt to dwell among us for a little while. Please keep his family and his church in your prayers.

Please keep me in your prayers this week, Saturday is 3 year anniversary that my Momma went to rest with Jesus.