Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word. Both classes were both receptive and responsive to the Word of God. Wednesday was an extremely full day for me. My day started with a weekly Pastor's breakfast, where we come together and discuss ministry and sometimes misery. It was an enjoyable time!

After that I went to the office to prepare for our noon day study. Attendance was low, but those that were there were very in tune with the lesson. God be praised!

When class was over, I got a call from the Mayor's office. We have had 7 shootings in the past few days, which has resulted in several deaths of young African American men, and the city government wants to sit down and come up with strategies to combat this violence. I was invited to attend a press conference with the media, the Mayor, the Police Chief, and the Prosecutor. I am anxious to sit at the table and work with them through this problem.

Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to teach our Sunday School lesson. I was at a reception for a group called "The Pact". This is a group of 3 young African American doctors from Newark, New Jersey, who vowed to each other that they would become doctors and make it off of the tough inner city streets. They talked to the youth of South Bend about the importance of staying in school. I had a chance to meet and talk with these men. It was a great experience.

I left there on my way back to church to teach Bible Study. Our lesson was from Romans 2:5-11. Last week, we discovered that God judges the hypocrite according to truth. This week we discovered that God also judges according to deeds. Our works don't save us, but they will condemn us! In these few verses Paul suggests that the hypocrite will be judged according to their actions, attitudes, and advantages. Judgment was promised to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. He says that because unto the Jews were committed the oracles of God. They had the Word! Their judgment was first, but would not be final because it extended itself to the Gentile as well. This was a great lesson that I enjoyed teaching!

My day ended on an extremely troublesome note, but nevertheless, God is faithful and worthy to be praised, so I shout GLORY TO HIS NAME!!!!

Pray for me and my family!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Summary

What a day of worship at BBC! I was not feeling well this morning, so I didn't make Early Morning prayer. When I got to church, I spent the Sunday School time trying to feel better and prepare myself for public worship. I was really anxious to preach even though it seemed like my voice did not want to cooperate.

I've been trying to move the church to more God centered worship instead of just "doing what we do". I must admit, the Music Ministry has really embraced this and it has taken the corporate worship to a whole new level! As the preaching moment approached, I began to feel better. when I stood up, I felt no pain or sickness. God be praised!!

I began a new sermon series today, entitled "Real Worship". I preached a message entitled "Handling the Presence of God, part 1, taken from 1 Chronicles 13:1-10.

Premise: There is a right way and a wrong way to handle the things of God

1. David had noble intentions

David's desire was good, but if we want to properly handle the things of God, we need more than good intentions. We later discover that David's motivation had a secret desire in it as well. He wanted to build God a temple and getting the presence of God (represented by the Ark) back would help to make this happen. Do we want God's presence for our own desires? Can Satan say about you what he accused Job of?

2. David had naughty implementation

A. David's consultation
Nowhere do we read that David consulted the Lord, he asked the people and they wanted it, so David went for it. It might be a good idea, but it might not be God's intent!

B. David's choosing
God commanded that only the Levites could move the ark. David chose Ahio and Uzza to move it. How often do we neglect God's command for our convenience?

C. David's carrying
God commanded that the ark be carried on the shoulders with staves by the priests, not on a new cart. New carts represent the easy way. Many times we forsake the Eternal way for the easy way. There are too many "new carts" in the church today!

3. Negative interaction
Uzza touched the ark because he thought it was going to fall, and God struck him dead! How many ties do we pt our hands in God's business and cause ourselves damage?

God really blessed the exposition today! We ended on a high note as I charged those that recommitted themselves on last week to remember the promise they made to God, and to help one another keep their promise!

This evening, we had our Sunday School Annual Day. Our guest was fellow blogger, Pastor Barney D. Lewis and the New Peter's Rock Baptist Church. We were blessed by their presence and fellowship. I will let him post his own outline, but I benefited from his exposition.

I concluded my day of corporate worship by attending New Hope Full Gospel Church to celebrate with their pastor, Bishop Steven Reed in his 18th year Anniversary. My little brother Elder Brandon Jacobs of New Zion Temple Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana was the guest preacher. He is a very gifted young man, and he let God use him mightily. There was a great spirit of praise in that place! As we say in the Mid- West, "they picked em up and put em down from Dan even unto Ber-sheba and that 139 miles!"

All in all, I believe that God was pleased today with my offering of worship on today! I'm looking forward to tomorrow as Pastor McGhee and I will heed the call of Pastor HB Charles and "bring the books!" as we are going to the bookstore. Be Blessed!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word! This was a very inspiring day for me! Our noon day class went very well. After our noon day service, I attended a lunch meeting with Pastor McGhee and Pastor Owens. I enjoyed the fellowship with these men of God!

Our Sunday School teacher's meeting went very well. Our lesson was taken from Acts 13:1-12. the lesson was entitled " Set apart for Service". This lesson focused on the call of Barnabas and Saul being sent out to do a work for the Lord. Paul had already been commissioned to preach to the Gentiles, and now God was calling Barnabas to minister with him. The church confirmed their calling, commissioned the men, and sent them forth. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit, working through the local church, to equip and enlist believers to go forth and serve

As they went about preaching there was an Openness to the Word. It's a tragic thing but in life, just like in this text, openness to the Word is usually followed by Opposition to the Word. Elymas, who was a sorcerer did his best to try and stop the deputy from hearing the Word of God!! Elymas blasphemy led to his blindness. However I'm so glad the opposition to the Word, does not stop Obedience to the Word. The end result was the deputy saw what was done, was shocked at the doctrine, and was saved from damnation!!

In our Bible Study, we continued in our study of Romans. We looked at Romans 2:1-4. In chapter 1:18-32, Paul deals with the judgment of the heathen. In chapter 2:1-16, he deals with the judgment of the hypocrite. A hypocrite by definition is a play actor. In these days, actors wore masks to express the emotion that they were portraying. Hmmm, does this sound like anyone that we may know? Whether we will admit it or not, all of us have the potential if not the practice of being hypocritical. God judges the hypocrite according to truth. God's judgment is fair because it is according to the truth.

When we judge (criticize, find fault, condemn), we measure ourselves by the actions of others. However God's standard is the truth. When we find fault and constantly criticize others, the text suggests that we condemn ourselves because we are guilty of the same things. I likened this to dirt calling other dirt dirty! Grandma had real really good theology on this subject when she said, "It takes one to know one"! All in all, I believe that the people were blessed and left with a better understanding of what it means to be so critical of others. We would have better communities, culture, and churches if we were in the business of building people instead of condemning them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

There is something that has been troubling me for some time now. I've been wondering about how much effective outreach can be done in the church, when so much of the time is spent doing in-reach?

I hate to say this but, if we truly are soldiers in the army of the Lord, one of two things has happened. 1. We are being wounded and almost killed by "friendly fire", or 2. The enemy has invaded our camp and wreaking havoc on every hand. Help me with this!!!

There are so many things that we as the body of Christ can fight for, but instead of fighting the good fight of faith, we are fighting over antiquated practices and abject positions. Instead of earnestly contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints, we are fighting over budgets and buildings!

When World War I broke out, the War Ministry in London dispatched a coded message to one of the British outposts in the inaccessible areas of Africa. The message read: “War declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district.”

The War Ministry received his prompt reply: “Have arrested ten Germans, six Belgians, four Frenchman, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately who we're at war with!"

Let's stop warring with and wounding each other and take the fight where it should be!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday Summary

What a delightful day of worship on this Lord's day! I woke up with great anticipation! This was my first Sunday back from vacation and I couldn't wait to return to BBC!

The Lord met us as soon as we arrived! Our early morning prayer meeting was very spirited as the saints poured out their hearts to God and expressed their appreciation to God for His faithfulness. The attendance at prayer meeting is not what I would like it to be, but those who come are very faithful and fervent prayer warriors!

Sunday School was also very insightful and inspirational! At this point I could hardly wait to get into public worship. I was expecting the Lord to do something great! He did not disappoint! Everything just seemed to click (if you know what I mean) Sunday. When the preaching moment approached, I felt an unusual urge to sing. The tradition at BBC has been to sing "Amazing Grace" before the preaching moment. When this was over, I led the congregation in singing "Near the Cross". To put it like Grandma would say, "The Holy Ghost fell!" I preached a message from Philippians 3:14 entitled, "The Amazing Race". Here's the basic outline.

1. Personal Race "I"

2. Passionate Race "press toward the mark"

3. Purposeful Race "for the prize"

4. Pleasurable Race "of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"

The Lord really blessed the exposition! We did not have anyone join our fellowship, but we did have several come to the altar to re-commit themselves to a more worthy walk! God be praised!

Our day ended with our Mass Choir in their annual fall musical "In everything give thanks". I was bubbling over with joy as our choir sang beautifully to the Glory of the Lord!

All in all, I really believe that God was pleased with the offering of corporate worship that we presented to Him on yesterday! Pray for us this week !

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word! It was really good for me to be back in the saddle. I didn't realize how much I had missed the congregation. We both were glad to be in other's presence!

Our Sunday School Teacher's Meeting was really good. I always get tremendous feedback from the students, which makes for a good class. Our lesson was entitled " A new beginning for Saul", taken from Acts 9:1-19a.

This lesson was packed with points for us to ponder. I will lift just 2 that really caught my eye and excited our class. The first is the the Protest of Ananias. Acts 9:13 (NIV) "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem." How many times have we protested what God has said based upon someones past? I have some scars from my past. Most people call them tattoos. I have been excluded from so many things in church because of what someone has heard or assumed about my past. I do believe that we need to make wise decisions about people, however we can miss out on something beneficial if we only look at a person's past.

Next, look at the Providence of God, Acts 9:15-16 (NIV) But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Unknown to Ananias was the fact that God had already had an encounter with Saul. God can work on both ends at the same time! When God commissioned Ananias, He had already converted Paul! We must be careful not to let our protest outshine God's providence!

In Bible Class, we continued our study in the book of Romans. Today, we looked at Romans 1:24-32. In these verses, Paul gives us the results of God's condemnation of the heathen. These verses suggest that God condemned the heathen for his own willful rejection of the Truth of God manifested in them and in Creation. God dealt with them, not by sending down fire, but by giving them over to their thoughts, imaginations, and affections. I often tell the congregation that God does not have to knock your eye out. He can stop holding it in!

Romans 1:25-27 (NIV) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. This passage deals with the often taboo church subject of sexual immorality. I went at it head on! Fornication, adultery, and homosexuality was, is, and always morally, physically, and spiritually wrong. We must not compromise our Christian convictions because of our current culture.

I could go on and on about this, but I will stop here. God Bless!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

I received this in an email and thought it would make for interesting conversation.

Just Because He's Black

A white man asked his black friend, 'Are you voting for Barack Obama just because he's black?'The black man responded by saying, 'Why not? In this country men are pulled over everyday just cause they're black; passed over for promotions just cause they're black; considered to be criminals just cause they're black; and there are going to be thousands of you who won't be voting for him just because he's black! However, you do not seem to have a problem with that!

This country was built with the sweat and whip off the black slaves' back, and now a descendant of those same slaves has a chance to lead the same country, where we weren't even considered to be people, where we weren't allowed to be educated, drink from the same water fountains, eat in the same restaurants, or even vote. So yes! I'm going to vote for him! But it's not just because he's black, but because he is hope, he is change, and he now allows me to understand when my grandson says that he wants to be president when he grows up, it is not a fairy tale but a short term goal. He now sees,understands and knows that he can achieve, withstand and do ANYTHING just because he's black!'

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Meditation

Over the past several weeks, I have talked to pastors and ministry leaders of various color, creed, and culture from all over the country. This is the one truth that I have extracted from all of these conversations. All of us are trying to "get it done" in some fashion.

The "it" we're trying to get done includes such things as:* We're all trying to bring Kingdom from Heaven to Earth.* All trying to reach out to the lost, the hurting, the poverty-stricken, the sick, the weak, the lonely, and those who cannot defend themselves or provide for themselves.* We are all, in our various ways, attempting to be the people of God in our current generation. And we are all attempting to figure out the best way to accomplish that objective.

The problem as I see it is that many of us, however, aren't really sure "how far" we are supposed to go to straddle the increasing gap between what appears to be our culture and the faith that we hold. And we think that if we just "add a new program, a new staff, a new look, or a new service", that such will keep us current with our culture, but not require us to really change any fundamental paradigms around which we operate. We say, with great conviction (and consolation to ourselves), that "we're willing to change the method, but not the Message", and we charge ahead with making minor changes here and there that we think will keep us "in the game" with the world around us.

But it's starting to look a lot to me like what I'm now calling "Pimping the Buggy". Let me preface this by saying that there is an enormous Amish population close to our area. What would you say if you were sitting at a stop-light, and you heard the clip-clop of horses' hooves beside you. You look over and see a tricked out Amish buggy sitting there, complete with brand-new fiberglass "butterfly" doors, curb-feelers, ground-effects, a huge "whale tail" spoiler on the back, deeply tinted windows, 36" alloy rims and racing slick tires. The horses are decked out with titanium yoke and bridle systems, and each has blinders and accoutrement's that match the fluorescent pink fuselage of the buggy itself. The guy driving the buggy bats the pair of green fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror once as he looks over at you, smiles, and then nods courteously to you. When the light turns green, he takes off like a shot from the lane, achieving a blistering 25 mph in a little over 8 seconds, leaving you to contemplate his vanity plate (it reads "HORSPWR") as you sit there awe-struck.

The Question is this, "When we say that we want to be "relevant" and "innovative" in our culture, what really do we mean?" Do we mean that really, we're willing to trick out what is fundamentally at its core an outdated, outmoded means of conveying Good News, or are we really willing to think and explore deeply about what it might mean to completely adopt a whole new model. I think we're all committed to the notion of "transportation" (i.e. Gospel, Jesus, personal transformation, etc), but it seems to me that as I engage people in our culture that much of what the Church attempts to do to gain audience to talk about things that are deeply spiritual looks little more to them than just an attempt to "pimp the buggy". We're scared to buy a car, but we're willing to try to look as much as we can like we have one. At what point are we better off either just acknowledging that we like buggies, and we have no intention of either pimping ours or buying a car, and if that means that we lose our relevance, so be it, or buy a car, with all of its frightening access to speed, freedom and the potential for much more lethal accidents? I think the way we answer that question will have a lot to do with "what the Church looks like" for the next generation in our culture.

Of course, this is a much bigger question than can be explored here, but I'm pleased that I at least feel like we're trying to aggressively pursue the answer

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vacating Vacation

Wow!! It's been a great vacation! I've been away from the "Blogging Bunch" for too long. In the words of LL Cool J, "Don't call it a comeback!"

So much has transpired since the last time we have talked. I'll start with my appreciation. The one thing that I hoped and prayed for this appreciation was some great preaching. I was not disappointed! Pastors Miller, Owens, McGhee and Culver really preached out of their souls!! I was really appreciative of all that took place.

I was really excited because the end of my appreciation meant the beginning of my vacation. This was the 1st vacation I've had since the beginning of my ministry. Nicole and I got a chance to get away from everything for a week. This was some much needed time for us!! This last week, I spent at home doing some reading. I got a chance to read some books that have been on my shelf for a while.

The thought of staying home for the 2 Sunday's that I was not at BBC was very tempting, but something in me just would not let me stay away from the Lord's house on the Lord's day. Last Sunday, I went to New Zion Temple M.B.C. in Hammond, Indiana, where Rev. Brandon Jacobs is the pastor. This is a fairly new church plant, but I had a great time. The worship was very spirited ans Pastor Jacobs is some preacher! Today, I visited the Rock of Ages Baptist Church of Maywood, Illinois, where Rev. Marvin E. Wiley is the pastor. I was blessed by this worship experience as well! I am grateful to God for the opportunity to worship at other churches to get a "view from the pew." I am presently seeking God on ways to make our worship more efficient and effective and it was good to see what goes on at other churches.

Well Tuesday it all starts back! I must admit that I am excited about my return to the church! I miss preaching and teaching and fellowshipping with the Saints at BBC. I am grateful for this time away, but I am also grateful to return. I am relaxed, refreshed, and ready to pursue the things of God with more passion and power! God really ministered to me during my time away and I can see clearly the direction that He wants us to take!

I have so much more to say, but I will conclude by saying that it's good to be back and I'm looking forward to reading all of the posts and comments that I missed these past weeks! God Bless!!