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!