Thursday, February 26, 2009


Today would have been the 76th birthday of my momma, Hattie Louise Mann, but instead of celebrating with us down here, she is celebrating in perpetuity with Jesus Christ. Wow, what an exchange!

This day has been an extremely difficult one for me. The people who really know me, know that my momma was my heart. But I will say that the years have begun to soften the sting of her not being here so I am not a mess like I used to be and I owe it all to the goodness of the Lord.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Anointed Worshipper

Text: Ezra 7:1-10

Thesis: an anointed worshipper places complete focus on God's will and our own will

Key Verse: v.10 - For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel

I. A Desire To Know God's Will

-For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord

a. his motivation in seeking the will and direction that God had for him was a matter of his heart
b. God communicates his will for his people through our hearts

II. A Determination To Do God's Will

-For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it

a. he determined to not only seek God's will but to practice and habitually exercise that which was revealed
b. commitment to the will of God is the foundation of a successful Christian lifestyle

III. A Demonstration of God's Will

-For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel

a. Ezra determined to teach others how to operate in the will of God through instructions and examples
b. Ezra determined to provoke the children of God into obeying the will of God

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday Stuff

On yesterday, the Lord really showed up and showed out at the First Mount Zion Church. That was even more amazing to me, because Saturday night, I had the most uneasy feeling that I had not experienced in a real long time. It was not born out of some event, it was not really born out of a negative occurance that was monopolizing my thoughts. But this was such a mysterious feeling that I just could not figure out. I told Penny before falling asleep, that this feeling was not recognizable.

But early Sunday morning, I got to the church and made a beeline to the altar for our early morning prayer, and the Lord revealed to me exactly what that uneasy feeling was. All throughout this relocation project, I have allowed my concern for both the project and the church, to consume me to the point that I am constantly worried about each and every aspect of the project and our church. And that uneasy feeling was my ingrained concern for everything, and it was God's way of telling me to focus on ministry, and let the Lord do the rest. When I told the church about my revelation, our Minister of Music, Kadeem Turner, began playing Let Go by Dwayne Woods, and these words really stayed in my spirit: as soon as I stopped worrying, worrying how the story ends, I let go and I let God, let God have his way.

I want to be clear that my exposing this experience to you is only because I want to be as transparent as I can. For too many of our co-laborers in this Gospel ministry, put up fronts like they have it all together and that everything is going well with them, when the truth of the matter is they are catching hell just like anyone else, they are under attack from the enemy, and their situations are not as great as they make it sound like. I want to help somebody deal with the same stuff that I am going through, so that they can know that God is still working it out for his servants. GOD BE PRAISED!!!

We continued our series on the book of Ezra, with an exposition on chapter 7:1-10, but keying in on verse 10, which I tagged the sermon An Anointed Worshipper. It was 60 years since the temple was completed in chapter 6 and Ezra showing up on the scene in chapter 7. This man Ezra the scribe, was commissioned by Artaxerxes King of Persia, to lead 5000 Jews who were in exile in Babylonia, back to Jerusalem. Ezra realized that just walking back into the temple was not enough and they needed to rededicate their lives to the worship of the most high God. Verse 9 tells us that God gave Ezra all of the qualifications that he needed to lead the people back to worship, the good hand of the Lord was on him. God anointed Ezra to be a worshipper and to lead others into a lifestyle of worship. It is the job of the church to understand that God's hands are on us, and we have been anointed to worship God and lead others to the same worship. I will post the outline tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They Finished The Temple

Text: Ezra 6:1-22

Thesis: we rejoice knowing that it is God's awesome power that has brought us to the point of finishing what we have started

Phil. 1:6...he that has begun a good work shall carry it to completion until the day of Jesus Christ

I. God Will Provide For His Work

a. God provided substantiation for the project (v. 1-3)
b. God provided support for the project (v. 4-5, 8)

II. God Will Progress His Work

-God's work will always get done no matter the opposition

a. God will fix our minds (v. 14)
b. God will further our mission (v. 14)

III. God Will Throw A Party to Celebrate His Work

a. Celebrate with a great praise (v. 16)
b. Celebrate with a great presentation (v. 17)
c. Celebrate with a great participation (v. 17) all 12 tribes made this sacrifice

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunday Stuff

As I entered the sanctuary on yesterday to prepare for Sunday School and worship, I had a great sense of appreciation that the Lord chose me to be the Pastor of His people at this branch of Zion. Not because we have a great and large membership, because we do not. Not because we have a plethora of ministries that has our church overflowing with things going on every day of the week, because we do not. But I had this sense of appreciation because God chose me to lead His people, when he could have chosen anyone other than me, because the truth is that I do not deserve to receive any kind of blessings that the Lord provides for me.

I realize that many of us complain about our situations, Lord knows I am guilty of that, but when you really consider all of the evidence, we have no other recourse but to lift up hands of gratitude to a merciful and wonderful Master, who chose us to lead His people in spite of us.

Penny again, did an outstanding job in Sunday School, and what I am loving about it most of all, is the participation that the congregation puts into the class when she is teaching. That tells me that they are engaged and want to grow into great disciples of the Lord. God be praised!!!

We had some special visitors yesterday. One of my armor bearers, Karriem Ali, some years ago, was diagnosed with Leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. He received this transplant from a Christian man who lives in Hartford, CT. As a result of this procedure, the two of them and their families have maintained a wonderful relationship, which culminated in the man coming down from Hartford to worship with Karriem on yesterday. It moved me greatly as we in the church have no problem promoting church fights, pastor troubles and things of the such, but when a person who loves the Lord, gives of himself to save the life of another, and still maintains a relationship with each other, God truly deserves to be praised.

We continued our series on the book of Ezra, with an exposition on the 6th chapter, which I tagged, They Finished the Temple. Here the Jews had just survived an attack by Tattenai, with his letter to King Darius telling him to stop them from rebuilding the temple of God. The Jews did not stop but they finished what they started and rejoiced because they realized that it was the Lord who brought them through this opposition to complete the work that the Lord called them to do. We must realize that whatever we complete as a ministry and as a child of God, we only make it because the Lord will bring us over and bring us through. I can't wait until we can celebrate when we finish our temple that will be built for the Master.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Determination of a Devoted Church

Text: Ezra 5:1-17

Thesis: God's people must commit themselves to the completion of the work of God despite the challenges produced by their enemies

I. A Devoted Church Works Together

- if any church is going to successfully complete the work of the Lord it must be done by people who are willing to work together

a. Priests must be willing to work (v. 1) - Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jews

b. People must be willing to work (v. 2) - Zerubbabel and Jeshua began to work on the building

II. A Devoted Church Withstands Turbulence

-after 15 years of inactivity between chapters 4 & 5, the Jews began working on the temple once again
-while they were inactive there was no opposition, but as soon as the work began again, opposition arose

-verses 3-4 Tattenai asks them who gave them permission to work on the temple and what are the names of them that are working

a. church that keeps working will endure trouble from their enemies
b. church with confidence in the watchful eye of the Lord will endure trouble

III. A Devoted Church Wants to Triumph

-verses 6-10 Tattenai writes a letter of rebuke to King Darius complaining about the work
-the Jews responded in verses 11-15 to their letter with their own letter with explaining that they are under orders by God through King Cyrus
-verse 16 they realize that they cannot celebrate until they complete the temple

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday Stuff

Wow, what a day in worship at the First Mount Zion Church had this past Sunday. God is truly faithful for the atmospheric change in houses that are determined to worship and work for Him. Our early morning prayer was great, our Sunday School class was outstanding, which sparked a new emphasis for our bible class. For in days such as these, when the ills of society have begun to make people think more and more about their own mortality, there is a great need to study intently in a classroom setting, the great book of Revelation. So beginning in March, we will do an exhaustive and extensive study as a congregation on Revelation. Please pray for our church and this effort to grow stronger in the knowledge of the Lord.

We continued our exposition on the book of Ezra entitled Restoration and Rededication, with our study of Ezra chapter 5:1-17 which I tagged the Determination of a Devoted Church. Here in chapter 5, the children of Israel had just experienced severe opposition to their work on the temple in chapter 4, and 15 years of inactivity had just passed, where the Jews focused on making their own houses look nice at the expense of the House of God. It was then after 15 years, they decided to get back to work on rebuilding the temple for the Lord. they became determined to never let their opposition keep them from doing the Lord's work. God is looking for a people that is willing to stand firm against their enemies and complete the Lord's work no matter the cost. I will post the outline on tomorrow.

Our church has also taken a hit this week with extended members of our church family going home to be with the Lord. One was a senior who lived a long and fulfilling life, and the other was the tragic death of a 24 year old woman at her office. We have two homegoing services back to back this week, our church and myself really needs your prayers to assist us in making it through this tough time.

I have not opined about sports lately in my posts, but after an extremely difficult 6 game road trip out east, which began with the horrific injury to my New Jersey brother, Andrew Bynum, and finishing the trip with games against the Celtics and the Cavaliers, mixed with a 61 point game in Madison Square Garden by Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have made the statement that even withouth Bynum, they are the BEST TEAM in the NBA bar none! This is the most exciting year in basketball since the glory days of Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls. And with Alex Rodriguez' admission of steroids and the end of football season, we all had better begin appreciating the greatness of this NBA season. Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dealing With Distractions

This past Lord's Day, was really a good day at the First Mount Zion Church. I have noticed the mood and atmosphere of the church change for the better, ever since I began our time in early morning prayer. It makes a statement to our church, when they walk into church before Sunday School, the first thing they saw was my wife Penny and I on our knees at the altar. I believe with everything in my heart, this is going to be the very thing that will jump-start our ministry as we head towards our new location.

Penny did her usually outstanding job teaching our Sunday School class on evangelism. I am amazed at her ability to take the scholarly aspects of the Word and make it palatable to people who have never been students of the scriptures. I am grateful to have such a partner in ministry like her. The truth is that she really wants to only be the First Lady, but because of need, she has to wear other hats. What I am truly thankful for is her spirit of cooperation to get our church moving in the right direction.

We continued our series on the book of Ezra, entitled Restoration and Rededication, with an exposition on chapter 4:1-5, which I tagged the message, Dealing With Distractions. The children of Israel came back into Jerusalem to rebuild the temple of God in his name, and they were faced with opposition from the inhabitants of the city in an attempt to distract them from the work.

Every church that belongs to Jesus Christ will face an attempt to distract them from doing the Lord's work by our common enemy, Satan. The church succeeds in doing the Lord's work is dependent upon standing up to the devil and finishing what we have started. Here is the sermon outline:

Text: Ezra 4:1-5

Thesis: we handle satanic distractions by our willingness to stand tall in the face of our enemy and finish what we started

I. Recognize Your Enemy's Description

-verse when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin
-no way to effectively do the Lord's work until we recognize who our enemies are

II. Recognize Your Enemy's Deception

-verse 2...they approached Zerubbabel and the head of fathers' houses and said to them; let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do
-their offer of help was kind, but their motive was demonic
-must recognize that Satan is cunning in his attempts to gain our confidence only to hinder our ability to do God's work

III. Respond to Your Enemy With Strong Denial

-verse 3...but Zerubbabel, Jeshua and the heads of the fathers' houses said to them, you have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God
-when the enemy tries to deceive you, you must come back at him with a powerful rebuke
-God is looking for his people to fight off the advances of the devil with the power provided by the Holy Spirit

III. Recognize Your Enemy's Determination

-verses 4-5 says that even though the enemy was rebuked, they kept coming back to hinder the work
-we must realize that our enemies will not limit their attempts to just one...but they will keep trying to stop the agents of the Lord
-but the more determination they have, the more determined we must be because we have something they don't have...Jesus long as we have Jesus he's more than enough