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!!