Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Summary

What a day at BBC! As always we start at 8am with prayer service and it was very spirited this morning. This usually sets the tone for morning worship. When I entered the sanctuary, I was expecting a high time in the Lord, but there was a heaviness that just could not be overcome. I found out later that several of our members were worried about family in the Gulf Coast area.

However, I was determined not to let that disrupt the passion that I had for preaching his morning! Especially when I considered the message that the Lord had given me o give to the people. I preached a message from Acts 27:44, entitled, "Making it through the storms of life". I believe that God was pleased with the preaching today, although it did not invoke a rejoicing response. Here's the outline

1. Accept the Storm

2. Anchor your Self

3. Avoid others Skepticism

4. Await your salvation

Paul and the others made it safely on broken pieces. Paul was concerned about getting to Rome as God had promised, not how he looked getting to shore. If we would spend more time on God's assignment instead of our appearance to others, we would do well.

Another busy week ahead, although I do plan to eat well on Labor Day and take in some preaching on Tuesday at Macedonia M.B.C. in South Bend, where Rev. Ray Owens is the pastor. They are having revival Tuesday through Thursday. His guest for revival is Rev E.J. Tyson, pastor of the New Hope M.B.C. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I also plan to go to Bethlehem M.B.C. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Rev. Decarto Draper Jr is pastor. His guest for the week will be Rev. Marvin Wiley, pastor of the Rock of Ages Baptist Church of Maywood, Ill. Be Blessed!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday

I've been watching CNN more than normal this week. I have paid close attention to the Democrats and Republicans as they communicate their concerns about what will happen if the other party is elected. There are at least 10 things that will happen no matter who wins the election.

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word today at BBC! All classes were well attended. The Sunday School lesson was once again right on point! The lesson was entitled, "Prayerful Community" taken from James 5:13-18. James exhorts the believers to be in constant prayer for one another.

An interesting conversation came up about verse 14, dealing with the anointing with oil. I expressed that oil is symbolic of the presence of God, and although I have no problem with anointing people with oil, we must understand that the real power in prayer is not in the symbol, but the Sovereign God that we pray to. I asked a question, "If prayer is our most powerful ally, why is it the one that we use the least?" To quote one of my colleagues,"It's time to stop saying your prayers, and start praying your prayers."

Bible Study went really well. We continued in our series in Romans 1:8-15. Paul was establishing his rapport with the Christians at Rome before laying out the theme of Romans. I was especially taken in by verse 14&15, "I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. "

These verses arrested my attention as I felt Paul's sense of obligation to preach based upon his calling to the ministry. Paul was under orders to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was in debt to this Gospel. Jesus paid a debt for us that he didn't owe because we owed a debt that we couldn't pay. It is this sense of urgency that should drive us to proclaim the Good News of Jesus.

When we look at the moral decline of our communities, the fight over power in the church, corrupt government, schools that under educate our children, racial injustice, violence, and so many other maladies, we should feel an obligation to preach the Gospel. I feel like Paul, I am ready to preach the Gospel because I am a debtor!

I will leave with a quote from one of my favorite preachers, Dr. Adrian Rogers, "We don't need social reform, we need people saved. All social reform will do is make the world a better place to go to hell from."

Pray for me as I have several meetings tomorrow.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Summary

What an exhausting, but exciting Lord's day it was! The worship was at a very high level ! We started an early morning prayer service at 8am, and I believe that has contributed to the flow of the worship. I was excited as I approached the preaching moment, hoping and praying in my mind that God would be pleased with the presentation. I preached a passage from John 6:1-14. The message was entitled, "A miracle from the minimum"

Premise of the message: It is not the greatness of the gift that counts, but the greatness of the God, to whom the gift is given. God’s ability to use a gift is in no way hindered or enhanced by the size of the gift. It is the sacrifice of the giver, not the size of the gift that determines the gifts significance.

Here's the outline:

1. The Crisis

A. No meat
B. Not Enough Money
C. No Mercy

2. The Cure

A. Andrew’s Belief
B. Available Boy
C. Almighty Blessing

3. The Collection

A The Filling
B. The Fragments
C. The Followers

The Lord really showed up in a marvelous way and the people both received the Word and rejoiced because of the Word!

After morning worship, we travelled to the Second Baptist Church of Dowagiac, Michigan to celebrate with them in their church's 141st Anniversary. I was tired, but still excited about the opportunity to preach.

When I arrived at the church, I was warmly welcomed by Pastor Tyrone Pace. We went to his office and shared about the blessings and burdens of pastoral ministry. After this, we along with several other preachers engaged in some interesting conversation about the practices and pitfalls of ministry. It was warm fellowship to say the least.

When we went out into worship, the service was on fire! It truly was a celebration! Their theme was located in Matthew 16:18-19, entitled "The church built on a solid foundation, Jesus Christ; We are still standing. This is what I preached. Here's the skeleton for this one;

1. Confession

2. Condition

3. Cooperation

The Lord blessed this preaching experience as well! I am so grateful to God for empowering me to preach His word!

When I arrived at home, I wanted to catch up on the last part of the Olympics. I watched the USA men's volleyball team win gold as well as the "Redeemed Team". I want to say a congratulatory word to all of the Kobe Bryant fans. Kobe finally proved all of his critics wrong by winning a gold medal without Shaquille O'Neal! Ooops! I almost forgot, he had 11 other of the best players in the NBA to help with this!!!

I am looking forward to watching the historic acceptance speech of Sen. Barack Obama! This will be a monumental occasion for African Americans as well as people everywhere. This will serve as a great beacon light of hope to millions of disenfranchised youth to let them know that they too can achieve greatness. Be Blessed!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word today! Our Sunday School Teachers Meeting went really well. The Sunday School lesson was entitled, "Godly Behavior" taken from James 4:1-12. This is a great lesson. James challenges the mindset that wants to blame everyone else for ungodly behavior. I would love to tell you about the whole lesson, but please allow me to take a quick stab at vs. 1 - 2.

From whence come wars and fighting's among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

James really cuts to the heart of the matter when he declares that the continual feuds (wars) and outbursts of anger (fighting's) come from the inward conflict of the individual. I used this application to illustrate the point. Those who constantly argue against authority in the church do so because they have an inward desire to be in authority themselves.

This served as a refreshing and rewarding reminder that people who oppose you do so because they have opposition inside of them. This helped me to discover that many times I'm not the originator of the opposition, I'm just the object that the opposition opposes. The real problem is with the one doing the opposing.

Verse 2 tells us that the ends DO NOT justify the means. There is a way the Christians should obtain things, and it's not by any means necessary. The way for a child of God to receive is to ask God. We don't have to lie, cheat and steal to get ahead. Nor do we have to step on or scandalize our brother or sister to get the things that we desire. Unchecked desire leads to unexpected disaster!

Bible Study was a joy tonight. We continued in our series in Romans. We are in chapter 1, and we covered verses 2-7. In this introduction, Paul declares that the Gospel he preaches is the Gospel of Christ. He tells us that Christ is the Source, the Sender, and the Substance of the Gospel. It is through Jesus that we receive mercy and mission, and it is our responsibility to obey the mission for which he has called us to. I am reminded of what Paul told Agrippa in Acts 26:19, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision". Be Blessed !!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

Today was a good day! I met with my friend Jack Magruder, who is the director of Life Mission at Grainger Community Church ( He is a wonderful individual who has a zeal and passion for Christ and His Kingdom. We chewed the fat, tossed around some ministry ideas, and drank coffee. It was great for me!

I know that many of you may have already read this book. However, I found this to be a treasure. John MacArthur gives us great insight in the lives of the disciples. As, I was reading this, I was thinking about who I was most like. I have to admit, Peter suits me very well.

I have been inspired by this book and it has served me as a reminder that God can take ordinary people and use them to do extraordinary things. I sometimes get down on myself and feel like I have to be more in order for God to get more out of me. I have come to realize though, that God called me in my "ordinariness" and he wants me and not an image of what I think I should be.

If you don't own this, I would advise you to get it. This work will also help you to understand some of the people that we serve with in ministry and develop an appreciation for the diversity that God uses to accomplish His will.

I am looking forward to Wednesday in the Word at BBC. Pray for us that God be glorified and the people be edified!! Be Blessed!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Summary

We made it home safely from Detroit! Thanks for your prayers! I originally thought this morning that I was going to feel guilty about not being at BBC, but I received some much needed rest. I've come to the understanding that God can get more out of me when I am rested and refreshed instead of fatigued and frustrated.

One of our Associate Ministers, Rev. Terry Tate delivered this morning's message at BBC. I received several favorable comments about his message. To God be the Glory! When we arrived back at home, we had just enough time to change clothes and get to Community Baptist Church in Elkhart, Indiana. It is their Choir's 47th Anniversary and has been an annual fellowship between the 2 churches for over 20 years.

I wanted to encourage the choir to keep on singing for the Lord, in spite of difficult circumstances. As I pondered about what to preach, I was reminded about a message from 1 Samuel 17:32-46. The message was entitled " How to handle your Giant". Here's the outline:

1. Refuse the opinions of people

2. Recall your past

3. Remove what's problematic

4. Rely on God's presence

God gave me power to preach and the people were both receptive and responsive to the Word of God! We had an enjoyable time. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of turnout from our church, but nevertheless we had a high time despite a low turnout! Pray for us this week as I am full of meetings and sermon preparation for 2 preaching opportunities this coming week. Be Blessed !!!

Saturday Synopsis

I usually don't post on Saturday, due to the prayer and preparation for preaching. However, I will not be preaching in the morning because I am in Detroit, Michigan for our Family Reunion. I believe that the institution of family is Godly and sacred and should be preserved. I also believe that many of the problems in the African American community stem from a breakdown in the family unit.

This Family Reunion has been very interesting to say the least. As the priest of the family, I am usually asked to bless the meals and close in prayer which of course, I don't mind. As a general rule, there are 2 conversations that I try to stay away from; politics and religion. I do this because, no one agrees on politics and everyone (even the un-churched) have an opinion about what the church and the preacher should be doing. I also believe that to have an intelligent conversation, we need to be equipped with the same information, so it's useless to argue the bible with someone who only has one in their house and not their heart!

At the banquet on Friday evening, I was asked to give final remarks and prayer, so I did. I expressed the importance of family and asked everyone to join hands in a big circle as a sign of solidarity. All but 3 participated in this. I prayed and we were dismissed. As we were leaving, a family member got to the microphone and asked for every one's attention. I stopped to hear what was going to be said. She said that we were all family, but not all of us believed the same thing. She went on to state that the 3 that did not participate were "Jehovah's Witnesses". She then stated that we should put aside our differences in what she called "the spirit of the occasion" and then proceeded to ask us to sing one of their songs that she had already given the DJ instructions to play.

Maybe I'm confused, because I'm not as intelligent as the rest of you, but if we were putting aside differences for "the spirit of the occasion", why wouldn't they join the Christians, but then demand that we sing one of their songs? I was not going for that!! I got up and walked out and my immediate family got up behind me along with some other saints. I know that's not much, but I believe that believers need to stand for Jesus whenever possible, not just in the big things. Why is it that other religions won't compromise their convictions, but expect Christians to? I would love to hear your feedback!!

At the picnic today, everything was going good. We were all having a good time until one of my relatives started talking about preachers making too much money and that they should donate it to the poor! I was not going to mess with this, because everyone is entitled to their opinion, but then he stated that the bible does not support preachers being taken care of. Now, I have to say something because he is gaining an audience and I could not let him tell untruths about the Word of God and not say anything. I tried to appeal to his better self by way of reason, but to no avail. I turned to the Scripture. It is amazing how God brings things to your remembrance when you need them! When he saw that Scripture was prevailing, he changed his tune!! Worthy is the Lamb!!

This reunion was great for me because I had the chance to defend the faith! I don't know what the outcome will be. I trust God for the results!! Pray for us that we have a safe trip home! I will be leaving in the morning because I have to preach at an evening service in Elkhart, IN. Be Blessed!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday

I have spent the past 6 days watching the Olympics. I marvel at these athletes from all over the world that come together to compete for supremacy in their respective events. One person that has caught my attention, as well as the attention of the rest of the world is the American swimmer Michael Phelps. I just watched him win his 6th gold medal of these games as well as capture his 6th world record.

I was looking at a segment about Mr. Phelps and it described a normal day. One thing I noticed about him is that all that he does is in preparation of him being the best swimmer. The things he eats, the way he trains, the amount of rest that he gets is all in preparation of him being the best.

Not only Michael Phelps, but all of the Olympians go through so much to get a medal and to be called the best at what they do, and in another couple of years, someone younger, stronger and faster comes along and erases all of their records. My mind started wondering about how hard do believers work to become the best Christian that they can. Paul says in, 1 Cor 9:24-25, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible."

We should work hard at being our best selves and being the best child of God that we can be. The prize that we obtain from winning this race is eternal and unchangeable. Many times we wont get the earthly accolades that many desire, but we will receive everlasting accolades from the Master when He says, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" So I encourage you child of God to "Fight the good fight of faith". The last part of the above passage says, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." Be Blessed!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

Today at BBC, we had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word. Sunday School Teachers Meeting was a real treat to teach on tonight. The lesson was entitled, "Wise Speakers" taken from James 3:1-10 ; 13-18. This passage warns us about the danger of idle conversation. My grandmother echoed this passage to me when I was younger when she said,"Baby, if you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all". The text talked about taming animals and controlling ships, all which are noteworthy achievements, but then it says that we cannot tame the tongue.

I particularly liked the verse that suggests that if we can control our conversation, then we are spiritually mature. What a change in our thought process! Most believers think that if they are deep, super spiritual, carry big bibles, quote the latest christian cliches, get them some "edumacation" and go to the correct church, they are mature, but the text clearly indicates that maturity is measured by our ability to muzzle our mouth! I tell our church all of the time that just because you have a right to say something doesn't mean that it is right to say!

We began our study in the book of Romans. When I passed out the outline and study questions for the 1st chapter, everyone was excited to begin the walk on the Romans Road! We looked at verse 1 on today. This was such an exhaustive passage. Paul said that he was a servant of Jesus Christ. This word servant means a bond-slave. One who is purchased and possessed by another. One whose will is to do his master's will. One whose sole purpose in life is to serve his master. Many times when we think of slavery, it gives a negative connotation, but I cant think of a higher honor than to be a slave of Christ.

Next, it says that he was called to be an apostle. I explained to the class that the motivating factor of Paul's work was God's call on his life! What moves us to do what we do should not be the applause, approval, or the appreciation of our audience, but the assignment of the Almighty! I tried to avoid it and just explain what it meant to be an apostle in Paul's day, but in my morning class, I have a student with a neo-pentecostal background, that was just at a service where someone was lifted to be an apostle. This was done she says by one who already is an apostle putting his knees in the back of the other one and conferring the apostleship on him. This made for a very interesting discussion!

Lastly, Paul said that he was separated unto the gospel. This is very interesting in the original language. Paul was separated, not segregated. He was not separated from people, but separated to the gospel. He was set apart to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not social justice, prosperity, or opinion, but the Good News of Jesus Christ! God literally changed Paul's horizon. In order to change your horizon, you must change your elevation!

I was at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. I was exhausted after 5 nights of revival and ready to go home. When I arrived at the ticket counter, the attendant had a very nasty attitude. I tried to overlook her, but she really angered me. When I boarded the plane, I was still frustrated. As the plane began to take off, I heard a still small voice say,"Watch". I started watching. When the plane took off, we had to turn around to head toward Chicago. When we turned, I could see the airport again. This humongous airport looked so small to me. It was at that moment that I was reminded that that same lady who frustrated me was inside of the airport that looked so small. Now if the airport appeared this small, how tiny was the lady that was inside. She was not tiny because she shrunk, but because I changed elevations!!! Be Blessed!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

Today started off with more hustle and bustle than normal! I was awakened at about 6:15am to the sounds of bacon sizzling, and children trying to get ready. It was the 1st day of school! Hip Hip Hoo-ray!! I am excited to see my children go back to school, so that now my schedule can return to some normalcy. I got some much needed work done at the office and it felt good to be back in the office at an early hour.

I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my children from their 1st day. My 2 boys, Derryll and Deonne were in new schools. Derryll is in his 1st year of high school and Deonne goes to a fine arts academy and is in the 5th grade. My little princess Erynne, started 3rd grade on today. All of them came home with glowing reports on how their 1st day was. I was glad to hear that they all had a good day.

This evening I had a class with the Associate Ministers of BBC. I am blessed to have 6 Associate Ministers, however only 3 of them showed up. This class is designed for them to gain a better understanding of what preaching is and is not. Don't get me wrong, I make no claims to be an expert on the matter, but I have been blessed to sit at the feet and learn from some of the greatest theological minds of our day, who instilled in me what it means to be a preacher in and out of the pulpit.

We started with talking about the different types of sermons; Topical, Textual, and Expository and listed the pros and cons of each, as well as my view on the value and necessity of Expository preaching. I spent the rest of class today on discovering the biblical context as well as the beginning steps of how to properly exegete a text. I gave them an assignment to exegete John 3:16 and be prepared to give a 15 minute presentation on their findings. I am anxious to see the results! All in all, the class went well and the Ministers were excited that we were coming together for such worthwhile things!

I am now watching the Olympics and just viewed Michael Phelps win his 4th gold medal as well break his 4th world record in these Olympics. I also saw the "Redeemed Team" win today, although Kobe Bryant gave a repeat performance of Game 6 of the NBA Finals!

I am ready to get to my studies. Tomorrow is Wednesday in the Word at BBC and we will start a new Bible Study lesson through the book of Romans. I felt that this would be fitting seeing that we just finished Galatians and they have similar themes. Pray for us that all goes well!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Summary

What a weekend! I think that is an understatement. On Saturday, I was at a concert that starred Vickie Winans at South Bend's Washington High School. Avery Minor II (music director at BBC) and the Temples of Praise were one of the opening groups. I am privileged to serve as the spiritual advisor for this group. I need to tell you they really sang unto the power of the Lord came down. I was really impressed with not only their ability, but their level of spirituality. This was their debut outing and I believe that it was a great success!! Worthy is the Lamb!!!

When they were finished, Vickie Winans took the stage. She was inspirational and very humorous!! After the concert, she came out and worked at her booth, greeting people, signing autographs and taking pictures. I thought that was commendable because there are some that when they reach a certain "status" they forget about the people who actually support them, so all in all it was a good Saturday!

This was a very exciting Lord's Day at BBC! We had our very 1st Scholarship recipient. My predecessor, the Rev. Hardy N. Petty had a passion for young people to go to school and get an education. I thought that a proper way to honor and pay tribute to his legacy would be to set up a memorial scholarship in his name. A remarkable young man named Randy Macon was awarded this scholarship. He has a remarkable testimony and is a role model for young men to follow. Pictured here from left to right are; Sis Emma Jean Petty, Randy Macon, and yours truly. We look forward to awarding 2 scholarships on next year!!

As the moment of preaching approached, I was excited and ready to share what the Lord had given me! I must admit, that I was not at my best today, to say the least. Have you ever been on a baseball team and everyone has done their part to win the game and now it's your turn to bat? This is not a time where you need a home run to win, you just need to get the ball in play, only to swing as hard as you can several times and end up with a couple of foul tips!! I feel as thought I let the Lord down. Nicole assured me that the message was good, but I think that she was just being supportive. I preached a sermon from Mark 2:1-12, entitled "A faith that sends you through the roof". Here's the outline;

Premise of the message: A faith that produces extraordinary methods, will yield extraordinary results

1. Condition of the carried
A. Feeble
B. Faith

2. Commitment of the carriers
A. Belief in Christ
B. Beyond what’s comfortable

3. Cure of Christ
A. Forgave his sin
B. Fixed his situation

4. Criticizers in the camp
A. Their reasoning
B. The Masters response

5. Celebration of the crowd
A. Perplexed
B. Praised

This will be an interesting week. The children start school on Tuesday and my oldest is a freshman this year. Pray for us that all goes well

Friday, August 8, 2008

Back to the Basics

In Richard Smallwood's song," Center of My Joy" there is a line that says, "You are why I find pleasure in the simple things in life." A life grounded in a relationship with Christ should allow us to appreciate the simple things. Being a full time pastor, parent, and partner (husband), I rarely find the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Normally the things I should enjoy, I find them to be burdensome and too time consuming thinking that I could be doing something else. In my quest for Godly rest, I cleared my schedule of all appointments for the day and took the time to do some needed things around the house. I worked all day in the yard. Normally this would frustrate me because I would be thinking of a million other things that I could be doing. However today was different. I really enjoyed being in the great outdoors. Being out there gave me a fresh appreciation for God's creation. I watched my kids play with the frogs and help me in the yard and that brought moments of spiritual renewal.

I was enjoying these "simple things" so much that I decided to wash my car. Normally I would just run the car through the wash, but the time I spent washing the car myself, I was reminded of when I was pastoring and did not own a vehicle and started reflecting on how far God has brought me and I had church right there!! In the busyness our handling our business, I think that we forget about life's simple pleasures.

My day concluded with Nicole and I taking a walk in the night air enjoying each others company and conversation. Today served me as a reminder that I need to get back to the basics of life. One of our seasoned Saints at BBC always tells me to slow down and enjoy life because if you don't one day you will wake up and look in the mirror and see the old man staring back at you and then wish that you would've taken the time to enjoy the "simple things" of life.

I encourage you today to take time to enjoy life. The work you didn't get done today will be there for you on tomorrow, but if you are sick, burned out, or pass away, you are no good to the undone work or the people that care about you! Be Blessed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wednesday Wrap up

Today was a good day! It started off with me traveling to the neighboring city of Elkhart, to be in a Town Hall meeting with presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama. I was impressed not only by his policies, but also by his ability as an orator. This was an informative meeting, and I left with a better understanding about his energy policy.

Unfortunately, I was not able to stay for the duration of the meeting because I had to get to my noon day Bible Class.

Our Sunday School Lesson was a really needed lesson for the Body of Christ. It was taken out of James 2:1-13. The lesson was entitled "Impartial Disciples". This was a thrilling lesson that challenges us not to fall into the temptation of treating people different based upon appearance or to give preferential treatment to those that are well off.

This is something that I am very familiar with. I have several tattoos, and some of them are visible. These are scars from my past. If I go somewhere and they are uncovered, I am treated differently than when I have on a shirt that covers them. I don't mind this in the world, but it troubles me when I come inside of the house of God. I get looks like "You don't belong here, thug" or "Don't take my purse!!" I usually reply to comments about them (which is often) like this, "All of us have scars, some of mine are just visible!"

The lesson suggests that we give those who abuse their power over us preferential treatment. I posed a hypothetical situation to the class. I asked how would we treat the CEO of Exxon-Mobil if he were to walk in our church and sit next to one of the ladies. I said that we would probably scoot over and be very polite and make sure that he was comfortable. On the other hand, what if someone who was drunk, homeless, and smelly sat next to us? It was suggested that the 1st thing the same woman would do is grab her purse real tight and pull it close to her for fear that this man would take all that she had, and forgetting about the fact that this CEO is already taking all that she has by making billions of dollars in windfall profits by charging her $4.00 + for a gallon of gas! The lesson ended on a high note about treating everyone the same! Worthy is the Lamb!!

Bible Study was a pleasure to teach! We concluded our Study in the Book of Galatians, by finishing our exposition on verses 11-18. The concentration of these verses was about God getting the Glory out of the things that we do vs. being people pleasers. In my feeble opinion, motives need to be constantly checked to make sure that the work is being done for the right reason. Paul intimates that the only thing that we have to glory in is the Cross of Christ. Acceptance and approval by God is based solely in the atoning work of Jesus Christ and since we all come to a saving faith the same way, there is nothing to glory in, except for what He's done! AT THE CROSS, AT THE CROSS, WHERE I 1st SAW THE LIGHT, AND THE BURDENS OF MY HEART ROLLED AWAY, IT WAS THERE BY FAITH, I RECEIVED MY SIGHT, AND NOW I AM HAPPY ALL THE DAY!!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

At BBC, we are in the process of revamping our New Members Class. It used to be a expositional walk through the Church Covenant, however it proved to be a bit more than new converts could handle. So, I developed a new curriculum and have spent the past 2 weeks teaching it to the teachers. Contained in this is a Membership Covenant as well as a Leadership Covenant. One of the points that really stood out on tonight was in the Membership Covenant. It says, "I will protect the spiritual unity of our church by expressing an attitude of humility, love, grace, and forgiveness in non-essential issues of personal preference".

This brought about much discussion. So many times churches cease to be what Christ has declared that we are because of non-essential issues of personal preference. I wanted to include this because we "fall out" over these things. Attitudes develop over these things. Meaningless drama is a direct result of non essential issues of personal preference having top billing in the church. A colleague of mine who pastored in Michigan told me of such an example. The time had come in that part of Michigan where the city was no longer going to pick up the garbage from churches. This meant that they had to find waste service as well as trash receptacles. He told me that for the next few hours, the board argued over whether to purchase plastic trash receptacles or galvanized steel trash receptacles. I said. "wow, how silly", but then began to think about other non essentials that consume so much of our time.

I am a firm believer that the principles of God ought to rule over the preferences of people. I told the class that everyone has preferences, but our preferences take 2nd place to God's principles. I remember the old song that said, "Only what you for Christ will last". Class ended with everyone on the page of the Psalmist when he said, " It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man!" To God be the Glory!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Meditation

I have spent part of my day reading the entries of my fellow bloggers, and the entries made me both glad and sad at the same time. I was glad because I've discovered that I'm not alone in my struggles. I was sad because I hate to see fellow brothers going through similar struggles. I don't know how you feel about it, but I need a vacation ASAP!!

As I was in my meditation moment this morning, I was crying out to the Lord for some rest and relief. While in prayer, the Lord reminded me of a passage found in Matthew 11:28-30, where it says, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

When I was done praying, I immediately started investigating this word rest. I found great comfort in these definitions in their context. This 1st "rest" suggests salvation from what has you burdened. In the context it suggest those who are burdened by sin or the heavy demands that the mosaic Law placed upon them. This is great because the demands that some of our congregants and the ministry can place upon us can be over-bearing at times. Jesus is saying that if we come to Him, He can deliver us from that! I needed that reminder because I tend to think that I can handle any of life's burdens on my own!! I think Oswald Chambers said it best when he said, “Our Lord’s words are not, ‘Do this, or don’t do that,’ but – ‘Come to me."

This 2nd rest gives us the picture of an oasis in the middle of a desert. This rest will be found as a result of being yoked up with Christ. I think as I sought the Lord this morning, this is exactly what I found (I'm still going on vacation though)! This served me as another reminder that I need to constantly depend upon the Lord, and not try and function on my own faculties. I believe that this will help reduce our stress level I hope that this has helped you the way that it has helped me!

On the lighter side, I was reading some email, and came across one that I thought was stereotypical of different ethnic groups regarding church, but nevertheless it was funny to me. I have a sense of humor and I want to share it with you. I hope that you do not take offence to this. It's entitled, " The Average Caucasian Church vs. The Average African American Church. Again I hope you don't take offence to this.

The Average Caucasian Church:
1. Service and Sunday School are over by 10:30a.m.
2. All cars in the parking lot are either new or three years old.
3. The Pastor delegates his preaching and does not preach every Sunday or every service.
4. When the Pastor retires, they don't have a problem retiring.
5. No one leaves the choir during the entire service.
6. There is only one choir.
7. Choir rehearsal is only once a month, not every week.
8. There is children's church every Sunday, not once every six months.
9. There are 52-inch flat screen TVs posted in the sanctuary, which is where announcements are posted and not read audibly.
10. No afternoon and night service.
11. You can't tell the pastor's car because everyone drives a nice car.
12. Women wear less jewelry because they know less means more.
13. Communion takes 30 minutes, not two hours.
14. Communion is packaged together and not served in four gold trays.
15. Babies are not passed around in church; they sit only with their parents.
17. Scriptures and bible verses are posted on the FLAT SCREENS IN THE SANCTUARY.
18. Caucasians know the difference between winter white and summer white.
19. Mothers feed their kids FRUIT, GRAINS, AND ANIMAL CRACKERS before service.
20. 80% of the congregation wears real furs in the winter and don't walk in service late to show them off.
21. IT TAKES TWO DEACONS TO COUNT $10,000+ in offering.
22. There's only one offering.
23. 95% of the congregation is married.

The Average African-American Church:
1. Service starts at 11 a.m., but 50% of the members arrive at 12:45 p.m.
2. All the cars in the parking lot have been freshly washed.
3. The pastor doesn't come out until 45 minutes after service has started.
4. Only 30% of the choir is on time.
5. The choir discusses ten minutes over which song to sing.
6. The choir sings the song, but the musician doesn't know how to play it.
7. The parents whip the kids during worship.
8. The audience has to help the announcement clerk pronounce the words on the church bulletin.
9. Two of the church deacons have gold teeth or NO teeth!!!!!
10. The members socialize and speak during the tithes and offering.
11. When church is over, no one discusses the pastor's message: they just compliment each other's outfits and hair.
12. Members pay $20, but stand there waiting for$18 in change back.
13. The single women give each other signals when a handsome guest minister is invited.
14. You find notes after church that say: 'That's not her hair,' 'Who is that baby daddy?' 'He need to sit down,' 'What you fix for dinner?' 'I know she ain't got that on,' 'Let me borrow $1 for offering'
15. It takes eight deacons two hours to count $400.
16. There is a slot on the tithe envelope marked 'Building Fund.'
17. That afternoon service is either: Choir Day,Usher Day, Or Men and Women's Day (don't forget Youth Day, Education Day, Pastor's Aide Day, Hospitality Day, New Member Day, Church Anniversary Day, Pastor's Anniversary Day, and Revival).
18. The Pastor's car has either a rag top or rims.
19. The women have on expensive heels, but have house shoes in their bags.
20. You see more than five people pass someone gum or a peppermint.
21. Someone will feed a baby Cheetos, sugar cookies, crackers, or vanilla wafers in the sanctuary.
22. Men will have on suits in the color of bright yellow, lime green, hot pink, sky blue, and candy apple red with shoes to match.
23. People will have a $80 bible, but will have to lookin the table of contents to find the text of the pastor's message.

The great thing is that if you are familiar with any of these examples, then at least you are in church. God Bless!!!

P.S. I did no editing to the email, just copy and paste.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Summary

Wow! Not blogging for a few days floods your mind with all kinds of thoughts. My family and I had a wonderful weekend! We spent Friday with fellow blogger and my brother Pastor Andre A. McGhee, his mother, and son Jared. I got a chance to show my skills on the grill! We had a wonderful fellowship and laughed at "Media goes to Jail". The fellowship was great for me as I have been in the dumps about some things going on at our church. Please keep me in your prayers, as I have been struggling with some external issues that are causing me chaos internally!

Saturday was a pretty full day for me with meetings, marriage counselings, hospital visits, and birthday parties. My Saturday concluded with me traveling to my hometown of Gary, In to attend the CD release of a colleague of mine, Minister Reginald Hogan and One Nation under God. I had a really good time hearing Zion songs from all of the artists.

When I got to BBC on today, I was on an emotional low. I was uplifted by the worship and as I approached the preaching moment, I felt better and regained my enthusiasm and fervor to preach. I finished our sermon series entitled, "The Church as the Lord sees it". The sermon was entitled, The Church that made the Lord sick, from Revelation 3:14-22. Here's my outline.

1. Christ’s Assessment

A. The Lord’s Person

B. The Laodicean’s Problem

2. Christ’s Admonishment

A. Purchase

B. Punishment

3. Christ’s Announcement

A. His Presence

B. His Promise

The Lord really blessed us today at BBC! We closed out today with a "Go Down Moses" celebration that was sponsored by our Mother's and Deaconess. Our special guests was the Macedonia Baptist Church of South Bend and their pastor, Pastor Ray Owens. It was a historical look through poetry and song at what God has brought us through. I was amazed again at how blacks have overcome adversity. We truly have something to shout about!! There were 30,000,000 Africans that died in the Middle Passage, and we still rise!! Worthy is the Lamb!