Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday Summary

I want to start this post off by saying happy holidays to everyone. I pray that your Christmas was well. The family and I went back home to Gary and spent time with family. It was very enjoyable for us.

We had a wonderful day of worship at BBC this Lord's Day. Since the start of the cold weather, attendance at Early Morning Prayer Meeting has been low, but that has not stopped the fervency of the prayer warriors at BBC. This prayer service has done tremendous things for our worship service.

As pastor's most of us have special Sunday's that we look forward to. I do need to say this, every opportunity to stand and proclaim my uncompromising convictions about my Christ is a blessing and a privilege, however there are some Sundays that I especially look forward to because of the occasion. The last and first Sunday's of the year are those for me. So it is needless to say that I approached the preaching moment with great anticipation.

I really wanted to minister to the congregation about the importance of moving from one year into a new one as well as seizing the opportunity to do something great for the Lord. The Lord directed me to the book of Haggai. Haggai was a minor prophet with a major message! He preached to Israel about the importance of re building the temple. The people's initial response was that it was not time. Haggai responded by saying, "Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. (1:4-6 ESV)".

God linked their lack of comfort and currency to their lack of concern and care for the things of God. I tell our church all of the time that you need material things. After all, you cannot go to the grocery store, fill your cart with items, proceed to the check out line, and then tell the clerk, "Jesus paid it all". However, personal pursuits should not be our primary purpose. Our main focus should be doing what God would have us to do, after all the Scripture says in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

So they begin the work and there are some people left that saw Solomon's temple and did not think that this one was up to par. Comparisons are extremely dangerous for us to engage in as children of God. This is where we get to the text that I preached. I preached from verses 6-9. The message was entitled, "Building God a House" Here's the basic outline:

1. Prophecy

2. Provision

3. Promise

God blessed the exposition and when the invitation was extended, the Lord blessed us with 2 adult candidates for baptism!! Hallelujah! I think this was a great way to end the year. I believe that God was pleased with our offering of public worship on yesterday!

Pray for us at BBC as we go into our annual 3 day fast for restoration and renewal. This is a 72 hour fast where we abstain from all food until the new year. In case I don't post again before Jan. 1 let me say to all, "HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Summary

The only adjective that I can use to describe today is amazing! I am in constant awe of the Majesty and Might of the Master. Our Early Morning Prayer Service was great this morning. The prayer topic was obedience. The people offered up the petitions to God, and we felt a move of His Power! I could tell that God was preparing the hearts of the people to receive the Word of God.

Today we were blessed with songs from the Male Chorus. I tell you, I'm no sexist, but there's just something about the men being up front and active in the service that carries the worship level to different heights. They took us there and the song selection was in line with the message. This had to be a move of God, because none of this was planned out by us. I was ready and looking forward to the preaching moment. I preached the closing message of our series entitled, "Real Worship" from Romans 12:1-2. The messaged was tagged, "Sacrificial Worship". Here's the basic outline:

1. Reason ( I urge you brothers in view of God's mercy)

2. Requirement (Present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy, acceptable unto God.....)

3. Response (You will prove that God's will is good, acceptable, and complete)

God really blessed the exposition of the text! This was a different preaching experience for me, because I usually close like I like to close (you know what I mean), but today I was not led to. Instead I just continued to minister the Word without a tune and it really seemed to touch the hearts of the people today. I thank God for maturity! I remember as a younger preacher, I would have felt like I didn't preach if I didn't "shut it down", but the message is not in the celebration, but the explanation of the Word!!

This afternoon, we traveled to my hometown of Gary, In to visit the Mt Moriah MBC, where my Moderator, Dr. Marion J. Johnson Jr. is the pastor. Today was their celebration of their Deacon's and Trustees. I have been blessed to preach for this occasion since 2001, and it is always a pleasure to preach at Mt. Moriah. The people are very receptive and responsive to preaching.

Under normal circumstances, I don't usually preach themes. Most of the time they are out of context and in no way coincide. However, Dr. Johnson has a track record for selecting preachable themes, so I try to preach them. Today was no different. The theme scripture was 1 Samuel 12:23-25. The theme was, "Men faithfully serving, God's way". Here's the basic outline:

1. Serve personally (23)

2. Serve passionately (24)

3. Serve persistently (25)

God blessed the exposition. I am grateful to God for allowing me to preach His Word. I also thank Him for allowing me to pastor such a wonderful group of people at BBC. I am still so full that I can preach again even though I am physically spent! I believe and pray that God was pleased with the offerings of worship that were presented to Him on today!!

I can't wait for the next preaching opportunity! Until then, I will be in the preparation place. Hopefully Pastor Owens, Pastor McGhee and I will be going to Baker Book House on Tuesday. Baker Book House is quickly becoming my favorite bookstore and since it's only an hour and a half away, I figure we can gas up my hooptie and roll out !!!

Pray for us this week!! God Bless!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Summary

What a day of worship today! The young people of BBC are in charge of Early Morning Prayer for the month of December. Today's prayer was focused on the youth. We had school teachers, counselors and administrators present as we offered up petitions to God on behalf of our young people.

Our attendance was low due to inclement weather. It has been snowing the past 2 days and has been cold. That's life in the Midwest!! I was excited about the preaching moment and could not wait to preach. Pastor McGhee said something about me that I found to be true. I think that I would die, if the Lord told me not to preach anymore. We continued in our series entitled, "Real Worship". I preached a message from Isaiah 6:1-8, entitled "A view from the pew". Here's the basic outline:

1. Confrontation (1-4)

2. Confession (5)

3. Consecration (6-7)

4. Commission (8)

God blessed the exposition and the message was received well!!

At 4:00, we went to Macedonia MBC in South Bend, to celebrate with fellow blogger, Pastor Owens in the Pastor's Aide Annual Day. We were also blessed to have fellow blogger, Pastor Andre A McGhee and the Greater St. John MBC family. I really appreciate the fellowship of these 2 preaching machines. They are my older brothers and I respect them greatly for being a blessing to me. I thank God for their friendship!

The task of preaching fell on me. I was excited because this was the first time I preached at Macedonia in a service. Several years ago, I preached there at a State Convention Board Meeting. The service was really high! GSJ choir was off the hook and BBC was the same!! I preached a message from 2 Corinthians 4:17, entitled, "The Pleasure of Persecution". Here's the basic outline:

1. Your suffering is not serious (For our light affliction)

2. Your suffering wont stay (which is but for a moment)

3. Your suffering causes success (works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory)

God again showed himself faithful and blessed the exposition! I am grateful to Pastor Owens for allowing me to preach in his pulpit! The experience was immeasurable for me! I would write more, but I am beat and I have a batch of cookies that my Pastor's Aide president fixed for me that seem to be calling my name, and I must answer!

All in all, I believe that God was pleased with my offering of worship! Pray for us this week, as we try and tie up the few loose ends for 2008!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

As I was in my morning meditation moment, I came across one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Now, I know saying that I have a favorite story in the Bible might be taboo to some, so let me explain. I love the Word of God in its entirety! I believe that it has God for it's author, salvation for its end, and truth for its content without ANY mixture of error, however there are some stories that have different meaning for some rather than others. For example, a person who is 6'9 cannot relate to the story of Zaccheus in regards to his physical stature like I can.

As I have been preaching through this series on worship at BBC, God has really put a burden in my heart to go after Him more and more. I seek to be in His presence more now than ever before! I often think about what would happen if God withdrew Himself from me. I must conclude like the hymn writer, "If though withdraw thyself from me, O whether shall I go?"

The story begins located in 1 Samuel 2. There is so much preaching in this story! I will try to limit it to a narrative, so that you may derive your own application from it. Eli, the high priest allowed his sons, Hophni and Phinehas to run rampant with the things of God. They were "abhorring the sacrifices" and alluring the servants in the temple.

Eli was warned about the behavior of his sons and talked to them, but to no avail. Finally a "man of God" came to him and pronounced judgment on Eli and the sign of this would be that his two sons would die in the same day!

It came to pass that the Philistine's came to fight with Israel and as my grandmother would say, "they were in the right field to get their hundred". Israel recognizes that the Ark of the Covenant was not there and sent for it (isn't that just like us, it would behove us to seek him out first). The battle went on and Israel was defeated and Hophni and Phinehas were both killed, just as the man of God said, and the Ark of the Covenant was taken away!

A man from the tribe of Benjamin ran from the battle to Shiloh to tell Eli what happened. He told him about his sons, and the Ark being captured. Look at what happens, "As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy" 1 Samuel 4:18 (ESV).

1 Samuel 4:19-22 (ESV) 19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, "Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son." But she did not answer or pay attention. And she named the child Ichabod, saying, "The glory has departed from Israel!" because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. And she said, "The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured."

Both Eli and his daughter in law were greatly distressed over the Ark of God being taken away, so much that it forever changed them, one in death and one with a reminder of what had taken place. Do people today value the presence of God in this manner? How do we feel about cold, lifeless, mundane, and routine worship services, when the one that we are suppose to worship seems to be conspicuously absent?

I don't know about you, but I have to have His presence!! It really doesn't matter what else is taken away, I must have His presence. I am by no stretch saying that the death of loved ones, or some other tragedy will not have a profound affect on me or anyone else, but just imagine if you had to go through those things without the His Presence!

Every time I read this story, I gain a greater sense of gratitude for who God is in my life. In closing, I will quote the songwriter, "Without God, I would be nothing. Without Him, I would fail. Without Him, my life would be rugged. Just like a ship, without a sail!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday Moments


I pray that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I have finally exited the prayer room, paying my penance for the sin of gluttony over this past weekend. We had wonderful food, fellowship, and family for the holiday. I was not looking forward to Thanksgiving because my Aunt Diana was responsible for most of the cooking at my grandmother's, and with her going to be with the Lord, I thought it would be a sad time for me, but I received moments of joy thinking about her and some of the things she would do during the holidays.

During this season, I am always troubled by the lack of focus on Christ. I've already seen signs that say "Merry Xmas". What is that? We never see X History Month, St. X's Day, 4th of X, X o ween, or have never heard a chorus of "Happy X day to X"!

I have purposed in my heart, especially with my own children, to magnify Christ like never before during this holiday season and from now on. We live in a "Jesus - intolerant" society. Generally speaking, people don't have a problem acknowledging God (or a god), but when it comes to Jesus Christ, people don't want to acknowledge Him. I learned in seminary that if you want to know where anyone is spiritually, just ask them this 3 word question, "Who is Jesus?"

I really did not post today for that reason, but it is what it is. We had a wonderful day of worship at BBC on this past Lord's Day! Attendance was low due to holiday travel and some snow, but the spirit was high.

I did not preach on Sunday. I needed the rest and my voice was really strained. I thought that I was getting the day off until our music director and fellow blogger, Avery Minor started playing the song that I lead. Needless to say, I am more hoarse now than I was previously. One of our Associate Ministers, Rev. Derick Buggs, preached a wonderful message from 1 Cor 9:24=27. I cannot remember the exact title, but it had to do with the Greek word for victory, which is where we get "Nike". He preached a wonderful message and we were encouraged.

I really appreciate all of our Associate Ministers. They are studious and they are very teachable. It is good to have some help when you need it!

Well pray for me this week as I prepare to meet with all of the spiritual leaders on Friday to discuss, what further action steps can be taken to see a continued drop in crime in our community!

I am pleased to report that since the 40 days of fasting and prayer began, there hasn't been one shooting or one homicide!! GOD BE PRAISED!!!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

Greetings, blogosphere!! It's been a little while since I have had opportunity to post. I had to prepare for the end of the church year, but I'm back now!! I have found that blogging has become one of my joys and I have missed it greatly.

So much to say, and I don't know where to begin, so let's start with Saturday. On Saturday, we celebrated the homegoing of Mother Earline Kilgore, our Mother's Board President. She was truly a saint. Her love, loyalty, and legacy will leave a lasting impression on BBC for years to come. I was afforded the privilege of delivering her eulogy. This was very special to me because one of her brothers and a nephew are both pastors who could have done a better job than I. I preached a message from Matthew 25:21, entitled, "The benefits of being a faithful servant". Here's the basic outline:

1. Affirmation (well done good and faithful servant)

2. Elevation (you've been faithful over a few things, now I will make you ruler over many things)

3. Celebration (enter into the joy of your lord)

God blessed the exposition and the family was appreciative of such a spirited homegoing.

When I arrived at BBC Sunday morning for prayer, I noticed that there was a heaviness in the congregation. The same was true during Sunday School and the beginning of morning worship. I did not understand it, until the Lord reminded me that the congregation was grieving over this great loss to our local assembly.

As I approached the preaching moment, I was depending on God to lift the hearts of the people through the preached word. He did not disappoint!! We continued in our series entitled "Real Worship". I preached a message from Job 1:20:22, entitled "Authentic Worship". Here's the basic outline:

1. Authentic worship is voluntary

2. Authentic worship is not vengeful

3. Authentic worship is victorious

God blessed the preaching moment and lifted the spirits of the people and encouraged them to continue to trust God no matter what happens!

As I said earlier, I was finishing my end of the year stuff, which includes my preaching schedule inside and out, vision packet, and next year's 1st and 2nd quarter bible study, among some other things. Today, we had our annual church meeting. I used to have a bad taste in my mouth about church meetings because of some things that I saw growing up, but the people of BBC have really changed my mind about church meetings! We always have wonderful meetings ! I thank God for BBC constantly. They were both receptive and responsive to the vision. I'm excited about the upcoming year of ministry at BBC!!

I want to take this time to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!! God Bless!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Summary

After a day of worship like today, all I can say is WOW!!! God met us at 8 am and stayed with us all day long! Our Early Morning Prayer Service is usually a mixture of prayers and hymns, but on today, the saints at BBC really poured their hearts out and invoked the presence of the Lord. It was a very moving prayer meeting, and from that moment, I knew that it would be a wonderful day of worship!

I want to take this time and thank our Music Ministry for allowing the spirit of God to move on them in the worship service. There has been a gap between devotion and the call to worship that has really stymied worship, but today they stepped in, filled the gap, and really set the tone for worship.

I approached the preaching moment with great excitement. We continued in our series, "Real Worship". I preached a message from Genesis 28:10-22 entitled, "When Jacob got to the House of God". This is a message that I really enjoyed preaching, because I can identify with Jacob, and like him, I have a new name and a new walk!! I'm about to shout!! Here's the basic outline:

When Jacob got to the house of God, he:

1. Saw a vision

2. Heard a voice

3. Made a vow

God really blessed the preaching moment and added a soul to the congregation today! I was elated at that moment because it has been some time since we have received new souls, but this was God's way of telling me what He told Jacob in the text, "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:15 ESV).

After morning worship, the family and I were invited to Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church to eat with my brother and fellow blogger, Pastor McGhee and his family. The food was good and the fellowship was great. I dined to my elegant sufficiency! I ate so much, I was worried about being to full to preach.

I was extremely excited about preaching for my brother. I have the utmost of respect for Pastor McGhee and the ministry that the Lord has given him. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest preacher/pastors that this country has to offer. I am always humbled beyond expression to share in front of him and his great congregation. We were also blessed to have Pastor Ray E. Owens, and the Macedonia family. With all of that preaching prowess in the place, I was flat out scared!!

God allowed me to preach a message from Romans 1:16 entitled "The Gospel". Here's the outline:

1. Emancipated opinion (I'm not ashamed of the gospel)

2. Eternal Origin (Of Christ)

3. Effectual Operation (It is the power of God)

4. Expected Outcome (Unto Salvation)

5. Evangelistic Outreach (To everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek).

God blessed the exposition! After service was over, several members of GSJMBC and MMBC came up to me and said that they were not ashamed either. That blessed me because it showed me that not only were they responsive, they were receptive to the message.

I believe that God was pleased with my offering of worship, and I can't wait to do it all over again!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fellowship

There has been something that has been troubling me for some time now, and I am calling on "The Blogging Bunch" to help me with this struggle.

What do we really mean when we say that we want unity? In my feeble attempt to address this issue, let me say that most of what happens in church to promote "unity" looks more like uniformity. Most church going people have no problem coming together in "unity" as long as the ones coming together all look alike and have similar policies, practices, and preferences.

I'm reminded of Paul addressing an issue between 2 members in Philippi. He told them to be of the same mind in the Lord. Christ should be the common union between believers, not religious preferences. I'm not suggesting that we cannot have religious preferences, but our preferences should not prevail over God's principles!

We, who are believers in and followers of Christ can come together for a common cause regardless of what I have called "The Great Denominational Divide", and then go back to our particular houses of worship and do the things that make us who we are.

God is looking for unity and not uniformity. We can be the same (believers) and work toward the same end (unity), without looking the same (uniformity). We all have a common denominator and that is Jesus Christ!! God in His infinite wisdom could have made us all the same and programmed us with the same likes and dislikes, but He didn't. God made us diverse, so let's appreciate the differences in the body and not automatically regard them as wrong because they are different from us!

I believe as the body of Christ that we can be much more effective if we put down our personal preferences and come together on God's principles!! Paul said that we ought to be endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace.

We don't have to look the same, to live the same, or love the same. I tell BBC all of the time, that if you have on a uniform and your heart is not there, it's really not a uniform, it's a costume! You can put on the pants, the shirt, the shoes, the stripes, the badge, and the gun, but it's not until you take an oath (a matter of heart) to serve and protect, that you become a police officer. The same is true with any Christian. Be Blessed!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word on today! The day started off with the weekly ministers breakfast. This was especially difficult for me today as I am engaged in a 40 day fast. Thank God, I was able to endure!

Our Sunday School lesson was really exciting today. The lesson was taken from Philippians 3:17 - 4:9, entitled, Joy in the Community. This was a very helpful lesson as Paul demonstrates several elements to help us maintain joy in the Christian Community. He first lets us know to follow Godly examples of Christian living. Paul wanted them to imitate him. He did not mean that they should imitate every single area of his life, for he had just stated that he was not perfect. But in the matter of relentlessly pursuing after Christ likeness, he did set himself up as an example. Many times when we imitate others, we pick up the bad traits and leave the good ones behind. Paul told the church at Corinth, "Follow me as I follow Christ".

Paul then goes on to talk about the characteristics of the enemies of the Cross of Christ. There were those in the church that tried to add the works of the Law as a requirement of salvation. If keeping the Law was able to save, then Jesus Christ's death on Calvary's cross was the biggest mistake in human history!

This lesson ends with one of my favorite passages in Scripture. It teaches to worry about nothing, but to pray about everything. When we do this, the peace of God, will transcend our understanding!! I get joy out of this because our understanding leads to depression, sickness, worry, confusion, and hopelessness, but God's peace literally rises above our understanding and then guards our head and our heart so we don't mess up with our hands! Finally, it gives us the things that ought to occupy our minds. I believe that many people in the body think about the wrong things and as a result they live beneath what God has intended.

Our Bible Study was very thought provoking on today. We continued our series in Romans. Today we looked at Romans 2:12-16, from the thought "How God handles hypocrites". He judges the actor (hypocrite) according to 3 divine standards: truth, deeds, and the gospel. Today we looked at the last of these 3. One verse that really stuck out was V. 13. This verse tells us that the doers of the law will be justified and not just the hearers only. James tell us this same truth in his epistle.

Many church goers believe that because they sit in the church, they are secure with Christ. This is no more true than going in the garage makes you a car! I likened this to a person being ill, going to the doctor, getting the prescription, getting it filled, going home, sitting the medicine on the dresser, and then going on to complain about their condition. The medicine wont have any affect on you until it gets inside. The same is true with the Word of God. Many people know the Word of God, but how many know the God of the Word?

God Bless and as always keep us in your prayers!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Summary

We had a wonderful day of worship at BBC! Our Early Morning Prayer Service is still being geared toward and end to the violence in our community. Attendance was low, but the spirit was high and the prayers were fervent.

I announced to the church that we are starting 40 days of fasting and praying with churches from all over the area. We start tomorrow and end on December 21. I am looking forward to the great benefits of this spiritual discipline.

On 2nd Sunday's we are blessed to have our Male Chorus sing. God really used them to set the atmosphere for the preached word. I approached the preaching moment with a sense of urgency, ready to offer God worship through the preaching of His Word! We continued in our series entitled "Real Worship". Today I preached from Genesis 22:1-14. The message was entitled, "Tips for True Worship". Here's the basic outline:

1. True worship must be constant.

2. True worship must be compliant.

3. True worship must be costly.

4. True worship must be confident.

God blessed the exposition and the presentation! When I was finished, I felt like I had poured all of myself out to the Lord. I was spent and ready to call it a day. I thank God for giving me this series to preach. It's really beginning to change the climate at BBC!

As, I stated earlier, I was extremely tired and ready to go home, but we had an afternoon service. Today was our Male Chorus Anniversary. We were blessed with several Male Choirs from the area, as well as our own. It was a good service! I am a little sad because the Bears lost today. Well that's about it for tonight. I am already excited and nervous about preaching next week. I have the awesome task of preaching the close-out message for the 5th year Anniversary celebration for my brother, Pastor Andre A. McGhee. Pray my strength!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Synopsis

I know that I have been M.I.A. for the past few days, but there has bee a real burden on my heart to do something about the recent increase in violence in our community, so I have been busy trying to organize and assemble the local pastors together to address this issue.

Last night, about 40 pastors of various color, creed, culture, and church congregated at BBC on last night. The meeting was for all of us to express our concerns and then engage our congregations in 40 days of prayer and fasting. I believe that there were those in attendance who were very excited about this effort, and looking to move forward.

I told the group that this was a starting point and that God would move on our behalf and do something great in our community. It is my sincere belief that if we are consistent with this first effort, we will be consistent in future endeavors. Often times we are passionate starters, but poor finishers.

I have so much to say. My heart is full and my mind is racing 100 miles a minute. I just believe that God is starting revival in our area, and I am so humbled and honored that He is allowing me to participate.

I am also very happy about our new President Elect, Barack Obama! I was so overwhelmed with emotions when the announcement was made, I could not contain myself. I spoke with my grandfather, who has told me stories about him being in World War II, being stationed in France and actually being treated like a human. He told me of his hesitance about coming home to the states to deal with hatred and oppression. He then told me, that this was the happiest day of his life.

I am also happy because our nation is beginning to grow up. I am extremely pleased to say that no longer can we use race as an excuse not to succeed! If a black man can make it to the President, anything is possible. I pray that this election will energize the black community in a way far greater than we have ever seen before. I told a group of people that Barack Obama doesn't just represent blacks, he represents Hope!! My only concern is that our new President does not become for some a synonym for Jesus Christ.

I have so much more to say, but I have to come off of this mountain and go back into the valley. I'm about to get ready to attend the funeral of another one of our young black men who has been senselessly murdered. Please pray for Pastor Andre McGhee as he has the task of preaching this funeral. Be Blessed!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Summary

This was a great Lord's Day at BBC! Due to the recent violence in our community, I summoned the entire church to prayer this morning. The response was great as people offered their petitions to God concerning our community. I walked away from Prayer Meeting really feeling like God wants to use the ministry as a catalyst for change in this community. God be praised!!

I have been excited about preaching all week. Sometimes when I'm down, I know that public worship, praise and preaching will lift me up, so I could not wait until the preaching moment. The Lord really blessed the preaching this morning. I continued in our series on worship by preaching a message from 1 Chronicles 15:12 - 15; 27-29, entitled,"Handling the Presence of God, part 2". The opening theme of the message kind of changed the title for me to, "This time, I'm gonna do it God's way". Here's the basic outline:

1. Sanctify

The word "sanctify" means to set apart. David gathered the "set apart" people, (Levites) and told them to sanctify themselves. This was a timely process, this wasn't a quick fix. I stressed to the congregation the importance of properly preparing themselves for public worship.

2. Serve

The presence of God never would have made it to the city of David if the Levites did not serve. Not only did the Levites serve, but there were others serving in different capacities, but for a common cause. I stressed to the congregation about the importance of serving. Some only want to serve if they feel like it or if they are not mad at whatever. Our service is to God, the people we serve are the recipients.

3. Shout

As the ark was retuning to the people of God, the text records that the people shouted. God's presence among us calls for celebration from us.

God really blessed the preaching moment and when the altar call was extended, there was an out pour of people repenting admitting that they had been trying to do God's things their way. I believe that the message was clear that,"This time, I'm gonna do it God's way!"

Our day concluded with the 13th year Pastoral Appreciation service for pastor Larry Davidson, who is a son of BBC. Our choir really sang praises to God! The preacher of the hour was Pastor Andre Wells, of the Second Baptist Church of South Bend. He preached a relevant message about putting your trust in the Lord.

All in all, I believe that God was pleased with our offering of worship on today! Pray for us as I have an urgent matter to discuss with our congregation on tomorrow!

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!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wedneday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word! We did not have our noon day class because I had a press conference with CURE and it's sponsors. We presented 31 sponsors with a plaque that contained a piece of melted down metal from 257 guns that were turned in by the citizens of South Bend and Mishawaka. Many of these were illegal guns, and none of them will ever claim anyone's life! To God be the Glory!!

I was excited about Teacher's Meeting as we have not mt in 2 weeks. We had an exciting lesson, entitled, "Serving Others", taken from Matthew 20:17-28. This was a very relevant lesson as we consider what we are really called to be. In our time of titles and entitlement, most people do not want to be servants. I was vexed the other day when I heard a song on Christian radio, by a famous preacher that said"I lay down the title bishop, and pick up the title servant", as though servanthood can be picked up and put down like the daily newspaper. We are commissioned to be servants constantly, not at our convenience!

Jesus said in verse 28,"Even as the Son of man did not come to have servants, but to be a servant, and to give his life for the salvation of men." The Son of God came to serve, the children of God come to be served? I told the class that many of us have a "drive thru" mentality about church. We come place our order (good singing and a quick sermon), pay for the order (although some tip instead of tithe), and then leave with a good feeling. We should come in with a mind to serve the congregation in whatever way we can and the leave with a mind to serve the community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Bible Study was really thought provoking. We discussed Romans 1:18-23. We talked about how God's wrath is revealed in all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. We talked God's divinity versus man's depravity. One point among many is that God hates sin, but He loves the sinner and desires his salvation!

We also talked about how man chooses not to know God. Romans 1:20 says, "For from the first making of the world, those things of God which the eye is unable to see, that is, his eternal power and existence, are fully made clear, he having given the knowledge of them through the things which he has made, so that men have no reason for wrongdoing" The noted theologian Charles Hodge testified, "God therefore has never left himself without a witness. His existence and perfections have ever been so manifested that his rational creatures are bound to acknowledge and worship him as the true and only God".

God is so real. Nature points to Him. Man's soul feels Him. The Bible declares Him! There are some things, I may not know. There are some places, I cannot go. But I am sure, of this one thing, my God is real for I can feel Him in my soul!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

As I approach my 2nd year Anniversary, I always take time to reflect on the previous year of ministry. Looking back, I can truly say that this has been a whirlwind of a year!

This past year of ministry started off with my family and I moving to South Bend. We were commuting from Merrillville, In, which is about 70 miles from South Bend. We were very grateful that we were able to be closer to the congregation and Nicole's new career. Then on the day of closing, my brother in law was murdered. This really sent all of us for a loop.

We celebrated the Church's 58th Anniversary in November, with a revival that resulted in 9 candidates for baptism, including my daughter Erynne! To God be the Glory!!

We were really excited about having Christmas in our new home. Only one problem, all of us were not there to share. On Dec. 23, I became ill and was hospitalized and had to stay until Dec. 29! My family came to my room and we exchanged presents there. It wasn't too bad, although the hospital food was terrible!

New Year's was special as we ended a 3 day fast for restoration and renewal. Our watch night service was off the chain! We didn't have a traditional Watch Service, we had a celebratory service, that included singing, praise dancing, mime ministry, and gospel rap. Everyone enjoyed the service as we thanked God for bringing us into 2008!

2008 started off with a bang! The Lord was adding to the church every time the invitation was extended. We had our 1st Friends and Family Day on the 4th Sunday in January and as a result 10 new souls were added on that day!

It hasn't been all peaches and cream though. We've had our share of challenges as well. My Aunt, Diana Witherspoon moved from labor to reward. This shook my world. I've counseled others but now I had to take my own medicine.

One thing I have learned this year through challenge and celebration is that God is Consistent! I have a new meaning to the scripture that says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble!"

Well, let me close this post by saying, God Is Awesome! I am on my way to choir rehearsal. I am leading a song that is very fitting for me in this past year and all of my existence. The song is entitled,"God is my everything", by Chicago Mass Choir.

"I've had many tears and sorrows, I've had questions for tomorrow, there's been times when I've felt so all alone. But in every situation, God gave me blessed consolation, that my trials only come to make me strong!"

I thank God for my mountains, I thank Him for my valleys. I thank Him for the storms, He's brought me through. If I never had a problem, I wouldn't know that God could solve them. I wouldn't know what faith in God could do."

Through it ALL, Through it ALL, I've learned to trust in Jesus, Ive' learned to trust in God. I've learned to depend upon His word!! Be Blessed!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday Summary

Senior Day was something special at BBC! This was a great day of celebration! I look forward to this every year. This is a day, where we try and bridge the gap between the young and seasoned members. At the end of the day, the younger saints served our seasoned saints dinner menu-style. They really enjoyed it!

During our morning worship, Dr Foster really preached! His message was from Psalm 37:25, entitled, "I've been around long enough to see what God can do". This was an awesome message that really encouraged some of us younger people to just hold on and don't worry about the current state of affairs, because God is so sovereign that things will work out. I was truly blessed by this sermon.

I am looking forward to this week. I am a co-chair for an organization called CURE (CommUnity Religious Effort). Last year along with HCI (Healthy Communities Initiative), and the police departments of South Bend and Mishawaka, we hosted a Gun Buy Back. During this day, we collected 257 guns from off of the street! Many of which were illegal. Various organizations from the community really helped us out. We are having a appreciation reception to thank the community for their support. Also, the collected guns were melted down and we are presenting each sponsor with a plaque that contains a piece of the melted metal from the guns!

Also my 2nd year Pastoral Appreciation begins Thursday, I am really looking forward to hearing all of the preaching that will take place! Pray for us that all goes well!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Revival Night 3

What a week of revival! The Lord really blessed us this week at the Rock! I thank God for His sustaining grace. I am grateful to Pastor Lewis for allowing me to share with his congregation! I preached from Philippians 4:4-7. The Lord really blessed the exposition!

I am excited about this upcoming Sunday. This Sunday is our 2nd Annual Senior Day! This is a day where we honor our senior members. Everyone over 62, sits down on that day and just enjoys worship. Our special guest is Dr. William H. Foster from Chicago, affectionately known as "the Tree". He really blessed us on last year and I am looking forward to the same! After morning worship, we take our seniors to the fellowship hall and serve them dinner. We are blessed at BBC to have several members over 90! I call them our "Super Seniors" , they sit at the head table and I personally serve them.

This also serves as a break from preaching on this Sunday. I am looking forward to enjoying worship and being fed myself. As pastors, we pour out so much that often times we don't take the time to get fed ourselves. I had to realize that faith comes by me hearing as well, not just the people I serve. Pray for us that all goes well!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Revival Night 2

The Lord really showed up in the Rock on tonight! I don't know how the pastor and people feel, but this revival has been a real blessing to me! Again the worship was timely and terrific!

I approached the preaching moment with great passion! The Lord allowed me to preach tonight. I preached from 2 Chronicles 20:12-17, entitled "How to win the battle without fighting". The Lord blessed the information, gave me inspiration, the people were filled with expectation, received the Word with jubilation, which resulted in all of our celebration!! Worthy is the Lamb!! Here's the outline:"

1. Look to God

A. Hope

B. Help

2. Trust in God

A. Speak concerning your situation

B. Fight your battles

3. Wait on God

A. Place you in position to watch him work

B. Bring you victory

The Lord really blessed as 2 more people came forward! Pray for us as we finish tomorrow! I do want to send a special thank you to my brother and fellow blogger Pastor McGhee, who graced us with his presence on tonight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Revival Night 1

I want to start off tonight by thanking Pastor Barney Lewis for inviting me to be the evangelist for his revival! I am always humbled and honored when people are hospitable and have me at their house!

The first night of revival always prove to be tough for me as it seems as both preacher and pew are trying to feel each other out. However, this was not the case tonight! We churched from the very beginning! I was anxious in anticipation of the preaching moment. God really blessed us on tonight by way of the Word. The people were receptive, responsive, and rejoicing over the preached Word of God. I preached from Philippians 3:14, and God really blessed the exposition! When the invitation was extended, 2 souls came up!! Worthy is the Lamb!!!

I am still on a spiritual high. I can't wait for tomorrow! I am asking all of you to join in with myself and the New Peter's Rock family as we will go in prayer for the revival, wherever we are at 12 noon. Be Blessed!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

This has been a tumultuous, turbulent, and tremendously trying Tuesday! I have been trying to prepare myself for revival this week and one frustrating circumstance after another keeps popping up. I am approaching my 2nd Year Appreciation and it seems like everything is unravelling at the seams!!

Personally, I had to realize that I am dealing with a lot of grief. It's approaching a year since my brother in law was senselessly murdered and 3 months since my only aunt passed away. I have to be honest, I miss them both beyond measure! However, I do thank God for giving me strong support systems such as family, friends, and this fraternity to help me deal with this difficult transition.

As far as the church goes, well Pastor's you understand (you to Momma V!)!! Sometimes I really wonder what are we doing in church. There are so many in the body, including pastors that have been wounded and almost killed by "friendly fire"! We spend so much effort and energy evangelizing those within that we cannot equip, edify, or encourage those on the outside, and as a result one can become exhausted!

In spite of it all, I thank God for counting me faithful and allowing me the privilege to pastor His people! Pray for me. I must echo the sentiments of one of our fellow bloggers, "Some days I may rant, some days I may rave, but everyday I will rejoice!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Summary

Today was a great Lord's Day at BBC! Our early morning prayer meeting was on fire. Our topic of prayer was peace this morning. We were few in number. but mighty in spirit! The Lord met us in the place on today. Sunday morning prayer meeting has done wonderful things for the spiritual health of our church! To God be the Glory!!

Morning worship was great today and I believed that we offered God an excellent sacrifice of praise! Our Male Chorus blessed us with songs of Zion. As the preaching moment drew near, I was anxious to proclaim God's Word! The Lord really blessed the preaching moment and the people were both receptive and responsive to the Word of God. After service was over, 2 of our new members who had been missing in action came up to me and re-committed themselves to the Lord and to the service of BBC. To God be the Glory!! I preached a sermon from James 1:2-3 entitled, "Mastering your Misery" here's the outline:

!. Attitude during trials (Count it all joy)

2. Assurance of trials (When you fall into manifold temptations)

3. Advantage of trials (Knowing that the trying of your faith works patience)

After worship, we went downstairs for fellowship and food. Today was our Usher 49th Anniversary. Our guests for the evening were Pastor Tyrone Pace and Second Baptist Church of Dowagiac, Michigan. We had a spirited time and our usher's got an opportunity to be appreciated for their dedicated service. This has been an annual fellowship for years and the two congregations look forward to coming together.

Pray for me this week, as I will attempt to be more regular in my posts. Also, I need your prayers because I will be in revival at the New Peter's Rock Missionary Baptist Church in South Bend, where Rev. Barney Lewis, a son of our church is the pastor!! Be Blessed!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

National Baptist Convention

This week has been a tremendous blessing in my life! I was privileged to attend the 128th Annual Session of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc.! The theme of the Convention was "The Heavenly Vision and the Morals of the Church", taken from Proverbs 6:16-19, Micah 6:8, and Matthew 25:31-46.

I heard many expositions on this theme this past week and I came to the conclusion that the decline of the practice of morality by the church has been because of a deterioration in the proclamation of the message of the church! The practice of "watering down" the message by some to be more "seeker friendly" has crippled the morals of the church. We have more unwed mothers and divorcees than any other religious group! We must get back to sound, solid biblical preaching to change the moral climate of the church! Here's an equation for you to consider: A lack of preaching to the world, results in a lack of power in the world. In other words, when we don't preach sound sermons, we lose our ability to influence others!

Some of the major highlights for me was when Pastor Frederick Haynes gave a fitting tribute to the late Dr. C.A.W. Clark. This was concluded by the playing one of Dr. Clark's famous sermons "Is there a preacher in the house?" I was in awe seeing all of the people responding and rejoicing as we listened to the king of preachers do his thing! We were also blessed by the presence and a presentation by Michele Obama. Both parties were invited, and we thanked her for accepting the invitation.

I also contributed to Home and Foreign Missions and went to their sessions. I know that attending conventions is not popular among pastors and preacher my age, and I do understand the concern about the relevance, but I do believe in them, especially in the area of missions. These district, state, and national meetings not only offer fellowship and opportunities for exposure, but they give us an opportunity to do together what we could not do apart. NBCUSA Inc, built a new hospital in Africa! The progress of the Housing Commission in the last 19 years includes: 30 housing sites in 27 cities and 15 states totaling 1036 units representing over $150,000,000.00 in funding!

All in all, it was a blessed week!! Pray for us as we settle back in and get back to work serving this present age!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday Summary

It was a great day at BBC on today! We had a great Early Morning Prayer Service! The service was real high. It spilled over into Sunday School and then into Morning Worship! It was one of those Sunday's that everything went perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised to see my mother and my grandmother's best friend in attendance! The choir sang beautifully, alter prayer was great and everything was on point! I was excited about the preaching moment and the Lord really showed up in a marvelous way! I preached the text from Mark 5:25-34. The message was entitled, " How to handle the issues of life". Here's the outline:

1 The presence she sought
A. Heard
B. Healed

2. The position she stated
A. Determination
B. Declaration

3. The panacea of the Savior
A. Mystery
B. Mercy

The Lord really blessed the preaching moment! I think this may be a stick! When church was over, the family came over to eat dinner and then I left to attend the Annual Session of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. I made it safely! Praise God!! I am looking forward to the week of fellowship and friendship.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Saturday Synopsis

It feels like I've been a bit out of touch with the "Blogging bunch". The past few days have been very enjoyable. My grandparents have been visiting with us this week and it has been a pleasure to be with them. They recently celebrated 61 years of marriage! They are going back to Gary on tomorrow and I must admit, I wish that I could convince them to stay. When the family and I moved here it was a definite change for all of us. My family and I have been lifelong residents of Gary, and moving away from all that is familiar has been a faith walk to say the least. Having them here reminds me of what I love about home!

I normally don't post on Saturday, but since I've gone "the last mile of the way" in my preparation for tomorrow, I figured no harm would be done by posting tonight. I believe that I am still on a spiritual high from Thursday night. Pastor McGhee and I traveled to BBC of Grand Rapids, Michigan to hear Dr. Clifton Rhodes Jr. and Rev. Marvin E. Wiley

They were both awesome!!! Dr. Rhodes lectured about conducting a spiritual evaluation on yourself. He was intellectual as well as inspirational! I definitely was challenged to take a look into my own spiritual life and make the needed and necessary changes. I am getting full all over again just thinking about it!!

When he was finished, some guest choirs sang and then Pastor Wiley to up to preach. I was real excited because Rev. Wiley is one of my favorite preachers to listen to. He preached from Psalm 119:71 which says, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." The message was entitled, "It's all Good". It was an enlightening exposition the edified and encouraged everyone present. His outline was the good of affliction and the goal of affliction. If he gave a third point, I missed it because I was shouting!! Afterward, he gave his testimony and set us ablaze again. We were also privileged to be in his company for dinner that evening to glean more wisdom and insight from Pastor Wiley and Dr. Rhodes. After all of this, I feel like going on just a little further!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday in the Word

We had a wonderful Wednesday in the Word! I believe that God was pleased with all that took place on today. The people turned out in good numbers and they came ready to learn the Word of God. I have found that it makes it better for preacher and pupil when the pupil comes ready to learn.

Our Sunday School lesson was entitled, Repentance leads to community" taken from Mark 1:1-8 and Matthew 3:1-3. This was a very interesting lesson and I was inspired by John the Baptist's constant commitment to point toward Christ. When it came to his preaching, he always put the focus on Christ. This brought me to ask the question about how much of our service is actually directed toward Christ?

People work in the church for a myriad of reasons, fame, acceptance, and habit just to name a few. but all we do should be in an effort to point others to Christ. I really liked the verse that described John's clothing. I said that John wore clothing that was normal for the environment that he was in. This was an opportunity to address the "come as you are crowd" and I was not going to let it pass.

At BBC, we don't have a prescribed dress code per se, but I'm a firm believer that your apparel should reflect the atmosphere that you are in. It amazes me how our young people go to clubs and dress however the club tells them to and then think that they can come into the house of God and look like anything. I concluded by saying when we come to worship, we are to do all we can (including what we wear) to make sure that the attention is focused on Christ and not on us.

I was really fired up for Bible Study. We are still in our series on Romans. Today, we looked at chapter 1:16-17. This was a power packed lesson that was received well by the class. Paul said that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ! In a day when it was not popular, nor well received, Paul boldly proclaimed that he was not ashamed. The fact that the gospel had been given by God Himself made Paul unashamed of the gospel. No man should ever be ashamed of anything concerning the Sovereign Majesty of the universe. Not only was he not ashamed of it, but he did not bring shame to it!

Next, he says that he is not ashamed because it is the Power of God unto salvation! If I were preacher enough, I would say, "I feel my help coming on!" Out of all of the things that God could have done with His unlimited and unparalleled power, He used it to save us!! HALLELUJAH!!! God changed Himself into Himself, called Himself Jesus, sent Himself into a world that He made, into a woman that He made, to die on a cross that He made, placed in a tomb that He made and then early Sunday morning, He got up with this same Power in His hands!!!

This power is for one reason only: to save everyone that believes! Verse 17 suggests that it is in the Gospel that God's righteousness is revealed. The New Century version says it this way,"The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself--that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, But those who are right with God will live by trusting in him." This was an awesome verse that I really enjoyed expounding upon.

I am excited about tomorrow as Pastor McGhee and I are traveling to Grand Rapids, Michigan to hear Rev. Marvin E. Wiley. Pray for us that we have a safe trip!!

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!!