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