Thursday, August 28, 2008

God's Minute

The late Dr. Benjamin Mays, a noted teacher, preacher, dean of Howard University School of Religion, president of Morehouse, and outspoken critic of segregation prior to the modern Civil Rights Movement, penned a short poem which has giving me great inspiration the past few days. It's entitled "God's Minute" and goes like this:

"I have only a minute, only sixty seconds in it, forced upon me, can't refuse it, didn't seek it, didn't choose it. But, it is up to me to use it I must suffer if I lose it. Give account if I abuse it, just a tiny little minute-but eternity is in it."

While reflecting on this morsel of inspiration, against the backdrop of all that's happening in our world, I have to remind myself that time is a precious commodity. We do ourselves a terrible disservice by wasting it on frivolous ideals, instead of focusing on things with eternal consequence.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Awesome Sunday

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of worshipping with two churches within the Kalamazoo, Michigan area. Most of my fellow bloggers are aware that I am in the midst of a long overdue vacation from the rigors of pastoral ministry. However, I could not resist the opportunity to witness two of my pastoral colleagues lead their congregations in worship.

This morning my family and I traveled an hour and a half to worship with Pastor Addis Moore & the Mt. Zion Baptist Church ( during their 7:45am service. Pastor Moore preached a message from a current series entitled "Going for the Gold" using as a foundational text, the gospel of Luke chapter 9 verse 23. During the message, He challenged the congregation to commit themselves totally to following Jesus, taking into consideration the cost. The lost soul and following Jesus was liken to the gold that Olympians aggressively pursue no matter the sacrifice or inconvenience. Pastor Moore is doing a great work and I solicit your prayers on his behalf.

Later, we worshipped with Dr. J. Louis Felton & the Galilee Baptist Church ( during their 10:30am service. It's been a while since I've heard Dr. Felton preach and he did not disappoint. I must admit showing up unannounced was rather risky knowing that he is one of America's most sought after evangelists, and the possibility that he might not be in town, but, the suspense subsided when I saw him enter the sanctuary. He is truly a prolific preacher and visionary pastor.

Dr. Felton preached a sermon entitled "Children of a lesser god" in which he used an assortment of scripture references including John 8:44-47; Exodus 20:1-6 and the theme verse for the year, 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. In the message he says:

" The struggle of our Judeo-Christian set of values is largely played out against the context of the struggle between the concepts of God. We are surrounded by secular influences every day that we live. The vestiges of false gods are around us in every place in life. Therefore in order to understand our pilgrimage of faith, we must understand what it is that God has delivered us from in order for us to realize what God is delivering us through and to."

Furthermore, the message challenged us to rid ourselves of the gods we tend to cling to so that we can serve God faithfully, and without reservation. Continue to pray for Dr. Felton & the Galilee Church, as they strive for excellence in ministry.

Praise God for the privilege of feasting on His word without the burden of preaching, teaching, ministering or any other labor of love associated with pastoral leadership. Besides, I enjoyed spending time in the pew with my family and lending my ear to them as they shared their worship reflections.

Upon leaving church, we shared dinner together and enjoyed a safe ride back to South Bend. Truly, I am grateful for God's faithfulness, loving-kindness and the prayers of my family of bloggers, as I further savor my vacation and family time. Blessings!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Annual Tent Service & Picnic

Each year on the 3rd Sunday of August, the Greater St. John Church Family engages in worship outside under a tent. This affords us an opportunity to evangelize the surrounding neighborhood with the preaching of the gospel, the singing of hymns and spiritual songs and Christian fellowship. The attire was casual thus disarming anyone who had an excuse for not attending.

We began the day with Sunday school at 8am instead of our regularly scheduled early morning service, followed by the tent service at 10am. More than 500 people were able to worship with us and the weather was superb. Various ministries were able to participate including our youth choir and for the first time, The Stepping for Christ Drill Team.

I preached a message entitled "The Secret to My Satisfaction" from Philippians 4:13. The outline is as follows:

I. An Awesome Reality - "I can"

II. An Available Range - "do all things"

III. An Adequate Resource - "through Christ who strengthens me"

Despite some microphone issues and the aroma of meat cooking in the background, which proved to be stiff competition, the Lord blessed the preaching experience. The message was said to be timely as the lives of many were blessed. We were also blessed to welcome 5 new souls to the family.

Following the service, we broke bread together as friendships were developed and old acquaintances renewed.

I have some pictures to share, but unfortunately, I'm experiencing a few technical difficulties, and will have to upload them in the near future.

One more thing, I will be on vacation from my pastoral responsibilities for the next two weeks. This will allow time for reflection, rest and revival. I will not return to the pulpit until the first Sunday in September. Thank God I finally decided to be good to myself. God Be Praised!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Church Website

After several months of hard work and faithful planning, our church website has been launched.

We praise God for allowing this dream to come into fruition, and anticipate the opportunity to bless both saint and sinner alike. Your prayers are encouraged as this avenue of ministry is a work in progress, and is yet to evolve into something great to the praise of His glory.

Please feel free to pay us a visit. There is a link for your convenience (picture) located in the right hand column of this blog. Take a peek, tell me what you think. Blessings!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Newlyweds ( Laughter)

As a pastor, very seldom do I get a chance to really laugh. Just recently, an opportunity was afforded me when I received an email from a pastoral colleague out of town.

Laughter is good, especially when you consider the occupational hazards associated with pastoral life. I sincerely hope that you can use a good laugh, if not, than use this as a good teaching or sermon illustration.

A young couple decided to wed. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other.

The Groom-to-be, overcoming his fear, decided to ask his father for advice. Father, he said, I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage. His father replied, don’t you love this girl? Oh yes, very much, he said, but you see, I have very smelly feet, and I'm afraid that my fiance will be put off by them.

No problem, said dad, all you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed. Well, to him this seemed a workable solution. The bride-to-be, overcoming her fear, decided to take her problem up with her mom. Mom, she said, When I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful.

Honey, her mother consoled, everyone has bad breath in the morning. No, you don't understand, my morning breath is so bad, I'm afraid that my fiance will not want to sleep in the same room with me. Her mother said simply, Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed, and head for the kitchen and make breakfast.

While the family is busy eating, move on to the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you've brushed your teeth. I shouldn't say good morning or anything? The daughter asked. Not a word, her mother affirmed. Well, it's certainly worth a try, she thought.

The loving couple was finally married. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn one morning, the husband awakes startled to find that one of his socks had come off.

Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searches the bed. This, of course, wakes his bride and without thinking, she asks, What on earth are you doing? Oh, my, he replies, you've swallowed my sock!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Preaching Through Trials

Psalm 1:3 (KJV) - And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

I was on the phone earlier talking with a representative from Wordsearch (wordsearchbible), a Bible Software Company with headquarters in Austin, TX. He was giving me pertinent information relative to a new set of digital commentaries by Rod Mattoon.

While reading Mr. Mattoon's treatment of the above verse, I was arrested by his reference to a single page in John Wesley's journal. It reads:

Sunday A.M., May 5—Preached in St. Ann's; was asked not to come back anymore.

Sunday P.M., May 5—Preached at St. John's; deacons said, "Get out and stay out."

Sunday A.M., May 12—Preached at St. Jude's; can't go back there either.

Sunday P.M., May 12—Preached at St. George's; kicked out again.

Sunday A.M., May 19— Preached at St. Somebody Else's; deacons called special meeting and said I couldn't return.

Sunday P.M., May 19—Preached on the street; kicked off the street.

Sunday A.M., May 26—Preached out in a meadow; chased out of meadow when a bull was turned loose during the service.

Sunday A.M., June 2—Preached out at the edge of town; kicked off the highway.

Sunday P.M., June 2—Afternoon service, preached in the pasture; 10,000 people came.

- Mattoon's Treasures from Treasured Psalms, Volume 1

Mr. Mattoon further stated that "there is consistency in the life of the godly man. He is not up and down all the time. Life does not wither away the person of godly character because he draws his strength from the Lord." John Wesley drew his strength from God in difficult trials.

I don't know about you, but it blessed me so, I had to share it with you. The resiliency and rewards of God's people rest in the hands of Almighty God and our faithfulness to His word.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday In Review

Today, the preaching moment during both morning services was simply remarkable. I preached a message from James chapter 2 verses 1-13, entitled "The Danger of Playing Favorites" and the Lord had His way. For the second time in a row, I was able to overcome my recent preaching slump.

The thrust of the message was designed to discourage the sin of partiality that seems to make its way into the congregation of the righteous.

Drawing conclusions about people solely on the basis of superficial standards is strictly prohibited by God and can prove disastrous to the unity of any congregation. We should never determine a person's value or usefulness based on age, appearance or affluence, but rather by their walk before God and man.

I began the message making reference to an excerpt from an old issue of the popular devotional, Our Daily Bread, dated March 6, 1994. It reads:

In His autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during His student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered becoming a Christian. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby Church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. However, when he entered the sanctuary, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested he go worship with his own people. Gandhi left the Church and never returned. He wrote, " If Christians have caste differences also, I might as well remain a Hindu."

I challenged the church to not allow the sin of respect of persons to defy our faith nor defame our fellowship so that it will not determine our future(judgment).

We ended our Sunday with an afternoon service featuring "The World Famous Barrett Sisters" along with a local singing group called "The Davis Trio." This concert is sponsored annually by our Student Aid Ministry of the church and proved to be a very rewarding encounter in praise to God.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Cross Was His Own

While going through my folder marked "Sermon Notes & Illustrations," I was able to gain renewed perspective from a poem I read and placed in my archives some time ago entitled " The Cross Was His Own".

In an age where oftentimes everything is preached instead of Christ and His finished work at Calvary, it pays to be reminded that "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God" -1 Corinthians 1:18.

When we think of the cross as it relates to the purchase of our salvation and sanctification, Christ did it all, and we did nothing. He did it with His own Cross. The poem reads:

They borrowed a bed to lay His head
When Christ the Lord came down;
They borrowed the ass in the mountain pass
For Him to ride to town;
But the Crown that He wore
And the Cross that He bore
Were His own-
The Cross was His own.

He borrowed the bread when the crowd He fed
On the grassy mountain side;
He borrowed the dish of broken fish
With which He satisfied;
But the Crown that He wore
And the Cross that He bore
Were His own -
The Cross was His own.

He borrowed the ship in which to sit
To teach the multitude;
He borrowed a nest in which to rest,
He had never a home so crude;
But the Crown that He wore
And the Cross that He bore
Were His own -
The Cross was His own.

He borrowed a room on His way to the tomb,
The Passover Lamb to eat;
They borrowed a cave for Him a grave;
They borrowed a winding sheet;
But the Crown that He wore
And the Cross that He bore
Were His own -
The Cross was His own

- Author Unknown

Friday, August 8, 2008

Convention Highlights

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting for the first time, Pastor Leroy R. Armstrong, Jr., who was a special guest of our out-going president Dr. Robert A. Lee during our Thursday session. He is Pastor of The House of Hope Church thohchurch, Cedar Hill, TX., Conference Director of the International Conference on Expository Preaching sponsored by E.K. Bailey Ministries and also a Field Sales Representative for Logos Bible Software.

Pastor Armstrong set our hearts ablaze as he shared many exciting features of this awesome technology. I have been a user of this software since the late 90's but it never ceases to amaze me what this personal research assistant can do.

Many of the pastors had never heard of this treasure but Pastor Armstrong changed their minds instantly and now they are users. While we realize this technology can not make one a better preacher, it can assist in preparation.

We ended the day with a challenging message from our out-going president to keep our convention strong as we meet the demands of ministry ahead.

Although unexpected, I was elected 1st Vice President of the Convention serving on the leadership team with Pastor Wayne L. Moore of Olivet Missionary Baptist Church olivetmbc of Indianapolis, Indiana, who now serves as President.
Please keep us in your prayers as we strive to do the work God has entrusted to us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tuesday's Test

We are in the midst of our State Convention in Kokomo, Indiana.

I had the priviledge of bringing the message last evening entitled "God At Work" taken from Philippians 1:6;2:13. The thrust of the message was to encourage the convention of churches to remain vigilant in the work of the ministry while being assured that God is at work in us. I was concerned initially with the presentation of the message seeing that I was coming off a prior moment of ministerial burnout, but, God saw us through. Members of our church showed up in record numbers so, that allowed me to approach the preaching period much more relaxed. People have a way of encouraging you regardless to what your apprehensions may be. God be praised. I appreciate the prayers of my fellow bloggers. The Lord heard you loud and clear. Thanks.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday Reflections

This afternoon I had every intention of attending the Opening Musical of the 151st Annual Session of The Indiana Missionary Baptist State Convention & Its Auxiliaries Inc., but my mind and body is tired.

We are convening this week, August 3-8, with The Second Missionary Baptist Church of Kokomo, In., where, Dr. Robert A. Lee is pastor and sitting president. I am scheduled to preach during the Tuesday evening session, so, pray that I'm refreshed.

The Lord blessed us this morning during both services even though I was not completely satisfied with my sermon presentation. Some of the members could tell that I was not my normal self even though they appreciated the messages.

We shared a message from James chapter 1 verses 21-25 entitled "Responding To The Truth of God's Word." I'm pleased to report that despite my issues, the Lord added 5 souls to the church and several others renewed their commitment to Jesus Christ. To God be the glory!

I solicit your prayers as I seek the closest opportunity to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate my mind, body and soul. May I suggest the same of you, servant of God, before you run yourself down.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Loving Favor

According to an article I read online earlier today, S. Truett Cathy, an 87 year old businessman, known as a great human being, a devout Southern Baptist, a former Sunday School Teacher, and founder of Chick-fil-A, a chicken fast food chain which boasts of over 1300 stores nationwide, had his faith tested recently.

Two pre-teen girls broke into his Florida home and caused an estimated $30,000 in damage by throwing eggs, spraying fire extinguishers and flooding the kitchen.

Motivated by God's grace, and a desire to glorify Him by being a faithful steward, He opted not to prosecute them. Instead, he wanted them to learn the error of their ways by writing, "I will not vandalize other people's property" 1,000 times, and read a good book, rather than watching TV, or playing video games.

Of course, many, who learned of this story, thought Mr. Cathy was somehow too lenient and felt these girls should have been taken behind the proverbial woodshed. However, he wanted to remain true to a passage of scripture that is close to his heart. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold." -Proverbs 22:1.

This story is a classic illustration of faith in action, love on display and undeserved favor. It reminds me of the amazing grace God demonstrates to us daily. How refreshing to see people of faith live what they believe, regardless of position, power or pedigree, to the praise of His glory.