Saturday, November 21, 2009


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She then pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity -- boiling water -- but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity? Do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of your life. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle adversity? Are you changed by your surroundings or do you bring life, flavor, to them?

~ Author Unknown ~

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tell Them and Some Will Believe

Let me tell you about a flashlight I found recently. It was in one of my cabinets. It is a large one. I found it the other day after several months of not using it and when I tried to shine it I discovered it did not work. The light did not come on, not even a faint glow, nothing. I knew that I had put new batteries in it, so I figured the batteries had run out of power. I unscrewed the lid and tried to take out the batteries but they would not come out. I started shaking and shaking and shaking. What a mess! I had battery acid all over the place. Those batteries that I put in were new when I put them in, but now they are badly corroded.

Batteries are not designed to be idle. They are designed to be used. I opened up that flashlight and inside it was terribly corroded. There was stuff all over on the inside, the walls, the switches, the springs, the light bulb, were covered with battery acid and corrosion. The flashlight became useless. Isn't that how we are? God has designed us to be the light of the world. We were not created to be in a safe environment, warm and snuggly. We were designed to cast light amid the darkness. - Dave Strem

Saturday, November 14, 2009

6th Year Pastoral Apreciation Celebration

It's been 6 years since I assumed pastorage of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church of South Bend, In. I thank God for every moment. I know now more than ever, that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. GSJ is a great church and it has been my honor to serve her these past years. I strongly believe that eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, neither has it entered into the heart of men, the good things God has in store for us.

The following Pastors and churches will be our guests:

8am - Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon & Bethlehem Baptist Church

11am - Pastor Ray E. Owens & Macedonia Baptist Church

5pm - Pastor Charles L. Emery & Pilgrim Baptist Church, Gary, IN., and Pastor H. Gregory Haygood & Pilgrim Baptist Church, South Bend, IN.

Keep us in your prayers and join us if you can.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Drawing On the Power of God

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils." - Mark 1:35-39 (KJV)

“On January 21, 1930, King George V of England was about to address the opening session of an international arms control conference in London. It was an event of intense interest around the world. The First World War had ended less than a decade and a half earlier, and the people of the world were anxious to prevent another world war. King George's speech was about to be carried around the globe by a relatively new technology called radio, but America almost didn't get to hear it.

Just minutes before the king of England stepped up to the microphones; a technician in the control room of the Columbia Broadcasting System tripped over a cable and severed the connection. The CBS control chief, a man named Harold Vidian, didn't even stop to think about what he was doing. He reached out, grasped the ends of the severed cable with his bare hands, and restored the circuit with his body.

Instantly Vidian was jolted by several hundred volts of electricity. He managed to hang on as King George's message was broadcast across the North American continent. Vidian survived--and the king's voice was heard. That is an electrifying image of what our lives are to be like. We are the channels, the conductors of God's power. When we allow His power to course through us, then the voice of the King will be heard throughout the world.” Ray Stedman (Mark 1:35-39)

Monday, August 31, 2009

"But God Was with Him"

This is one of the many "But Gods" in the Book that spell quite a difference. Joseph's brothers sold him into Egypt, but God was with him. Joseph himself put it this way: "Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good" (Genesis 50:20). What men thought was overruled by what God wrought. "Man proposes but God disposes."

"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Hebrews 13:5,6). No plottings of men, no combinations of circumstances can defeat the man who has God as his helper. Here is the secret of many a life, conspired against by ill health, poverty, evil men, foes in the household, the world, the flesh and the devil, but victorious, anyway—God was with him. The devil and men often overstep themselves, sell Joseph into Egypt, but God makes him Prime Minister! "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
And even in the last dark chapter we need not tremble at our Adversary, but triumph with our Ally—"I will fear no evil, for thou art with me."

But God was with him. What a difference that makes!

Day by Day: A Book of Bible Devotions - Vance Havner.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tent Service & Picnic

This past Sunday @ GSJ was awesome in every sense of the word. We had our Annual Tent Service & Picnic on our grounds across the street on the corner of Adams and Orange. Aside from the initial technological hiccups, it was a high time in the Lord. We were blessed to have over 400 people in attendance. The joyful noise of God’s people praising against the aroma of barbeque in the background, was a sight to behold and an enjoyable pleasure. After several songs of praise, I preached a message from Romans 12:1-2 answering the question “What Shall I Render unto the Lord for All His Benefits?” The outline I used was as follows:

I. Request - “ I beseech you therefore in view of God’s mercies”
II. Reason - “ present your bodies as a living sacrifice”
III. Requirement – “ be not conformed to this world…. Be transformed
IV. Result – “that you may prove what is that good…….

Thanks to Rev. Sylvester Williams and the people of WUBS 89.7 FM, we were able to broadcast a good portion of our service over the airwaves. After church we continued to fellowship together while consuming a delicious meal under that very tent. It was a great day. We honestly did not want to leave. Looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. Romans 12:1-2 (Phillips NT)

The following is a piece I received from a faithful participant of our weekly noonday Bible Study. The Lord has so gifted her to give illustrative and inspiration poems and short stories that drive our weekly lessons home. Hope it causes you to take inventory of your life and make the necessary adjustments. Enjoy!!!

· Isn’t it strange how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

· Isn’t it strange how two hours seem so long when you're at church, and how short they seem when you're watching a movie?

· Isn’t it strange that you can't find a word to say when you're praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

· Isn’t it strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel or book?

· Isn’t it strange how everyone wants front-row tickets to concerts or games, but they do whatever is possible to sit in the last row in church?

· Isn’t it strange how we need to know about an event for church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

· Isn’t it strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend, and repeat gossip?

· Isn’t it strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

· Isn’t it strange how everyone wants a place in Heaven, but they don't want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?

· Isn't it strange how you can send jokes in e-mails and they are forwarded right away, but before you send messages about God, you think about it twice before you share it with others?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Week In Review

This week has been busy but special. It all started Sunday with the baptism of our son, Jared, along with five other children and one adult. Jared had shared with his mother and I some time ago that he was ready to be baptized and that he understood what Jesus had done for him. Needless to say, we were excited and proceeded to ask him questions to be on the safe side. Sure enough, he understood fully what this decision entailed, to which we were past elated to notify the family in order for them to share in this monumental moment. Baptizing your child is an indescribable yet humbling experience. If you ever had the privilege then you can attest to my sentiment. Here are a few photos compliments of Brother Richard Armstrong.

That afternoon, after a spiritually charged day of worship, praise and congratulation, we retired home to share a delicious meal with the family before most of them returned to my native, Gary, IN. I recall my son asking me in a private one on one moment if I was proud of him. Choking back tears, I quickly reassured him that I was, and reminded him of my love for him, and that following Jesus was the best decision he will ever make in his life.

The following morning, I got in the car and drove to Indianapolis to attend the 152nd Annual Session of the Indiana Missionary Baptist State Convention & Its Auxiliaries Inc. This convention was co-hosted by our President, Dr. Wayne L. Moore and the Olivet Missionary Baptist Church ( and Pastor Gary Sellars and Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church ( I had already missed a couple of days (Saturday and Sunday) due to a wedding and our son’s baptism, so I wanted to make an appearance the last three days (Monday thru Wednesday) since I serve as 1st Vice President. It was a great session unlike any I’ve attended in recent years. I was pleased to see a strong showing of GSJ members. While there, we were graced with the presence of Dr. R. L. White Jr., Pastor of Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia ( He was in town spending time with his brother who is a member of our convention.

Dr. White addressed our convention and was a blessing to us all. We were able to get a copy of his recent book “Negro-ology”- Understanding Polity in the African American Church. Even though he was not there to promote his book, he secured copies at the request of our president. If you get a chance, grab a copy and add it to your library. It is quite informative and revolutionary.

I was also scheduled to preach on Tuesday, the same day as my wedding anniversary and my wife and I were in different cities. While it was difficult for us to be apart due to my convention obligations, we more than made up for it when I returned home. I thank God everyday for a supportive wife who continues to make sacrifices for my ministry. We mutually agreed that we will watch our schedules a little more closely to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.

Well, I must leave you now. Thanks for allowing me to share a brief synopsis of my week. Thanks for your indulgence. God Bless!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Higher Expectations

"The treacherous enemy facing the church of Jesus Christ today is the dictatorship of the routine, when the routine becomes "lord" in the life of the church. Programs are organized and the prevailing conditions are accepted as normal. Anyone can predict next Sunday's service and what will happen. This seems to be the most deadly threat in the church today. When we come to the place where everything can be predicted and nobody expects anything unusual from God, we are in a rut. The routine dictates, and we can tell not only what will happen next Sunday, but what will occur next month and, if things do not improve, what will take place next year. Then we have reached the place where what has been determines what is, and what is determines what will be.

That would be perfectly all right and proper for a cemetery. Nobody expects a cemetery to do anything but conform.... But the church is not a cemetery and we should expect much from it, because what has been should not be lord to tell us what is, and what is should not be ruler to tell us what will be. God's people are supposed to grow."

Tozer on Christian Leadership: A 366-Day Devotional.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Driving Through the Storm

The following story was shared with me by a resourceful member of GSJ:

One day a young lady was driving along with her father when they came upon a storm. The young lady asked her father what should she do, he said "keep driving." Cars began to pull over to the side; the storm was getting worse. What should I do the young lady asked, "keep driving" her father replied. On up a few feet she noticed eighteen wheelers were pulling over also. She told her dad, "I must pull over, I can barely see ahead. It is terrible out here everyone is pulling over." Her father told her not to give up just keep driving. Now the storm was terrible, but she never stopped driving and soon she could see a little more clearly. After a couple of miles she was on dry land and the sun was out. Her father said now pull over and get out. She said "but why now?" He said "get out and look back at all the people that gave up and are still in the storm." You never gave up and now the storm is over.

I'm so glad that trouble don't last always. Storms will come but thank God the Father wills us to keep on driving. Hallelujah!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sunday Briefs

Yesterday was a great day of worship and praise at GSJ. During both services, one of our associate ministers, Rev. Fred Brown, preached a message entitled “Be Strong” from Ephesians 6:10-11. It was a message greatly needed to encourage the believer in reliance upon God’s strength to combat satanic opposition. Incidentally, this passage was also the center of our study during the Sunday school period. Every 5th Sunday, I teach the mass adult classes of our Sunday school and it was a joy for me to uncover the richness of this passage despite its familiarity. There are three things I believe Paul wanted to stress as he gives a final charge to the believers at Ephesus. If we are to amass any type of success as we war against diabolical devices and stand strong in the evil day, we must practice the following:

1. We must remember that Satan is primarily God’s enemy.
2. We must use spiritual equipment to combat him.
3. We must fight with God’s energy, not our own.

I had so much fun sharing the word of God and am convinced that eyes were opened and lives transformed to the glory of God.

After church one of our members treated us to a delicious meal at Angles, a local eating establishment which opened the first week of May. During our visit, I was asked by the owners to offer a word of prayer asking God’s blessings upon there success and strength in this new enterprise. Thank God for genuine fellowships!

At 7pm, I participated in a 5th Sunday evening fellowship at Bethlehem Baptist Church. This service is sponsored by The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (IMA), with Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon as President and Host Pastor. It was a great fellowship and I am a fan of Pastor Witherspoon’s leadership and look forward to what God has in store for this region.

I can’t wait until the Finals begin because it was tough coming home to no game. The Lakers are the favorite to win the NBA title but anybody that knows me know that I have a soft spot for the underdog. Oh well, pray for me because I have a busy week ahead. Take care!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Make Me A Blessing

"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee,and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" Genesis 12:2

While reading through my resources, I came across the lyrics of a song penned by Ira B. Wilson that speaks to how we can be a blessing to others. Here it is. Hope you enjoy.

Out on the highways and byways of life,
Many are the weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
Tell of His pow'r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
True every moment you live.

Give as 'twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.

Make me a blessing,
make me a blessing;
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, O Saviour I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jesus Is The Door

I found great comfort in my morning meditation. Sometimes our perspective on the things we experience need adjustment and this is just what the doctor ordered. I pray you will find it helpful as I have.

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.”—John 10:9

As Christians, we talk about God “opening doors” to us as a means of His revealing His will. What we are asking God to do is engineer our circumstances to match what we think would be best. The problem is that we misunderstand what the door is. Jesus said He is the door. Circumstances are irrelevant, for no one can shut the door that Jesus opens (Rev.3:8). If you have substituted activity for your relationship with Christ, then circumstances can disrupt your activity. When the activity is hindered, you may assume the door has been closed. Yet, if Christ is the door in your life, He will guide you into every experience of Him that He wants, and there will be nothing that people can do to stop Him.

When Paul and Silas were thrown into prison at Philippi, it appeared that the door to their ministry in Greece had been violently and firmly closed (Acts 16:22-24). The reality of their situation, however, was that their Lord had opened a door of ministry to a previously unreached group of men in prison. The Philippian jailer and his household would become a significant nucleus of the new church in Philippi. From a human perspective, a door had been closed; from God's perspective, Paul and Silas continued to minister exactly where God wanted them to.

When people oppose us, we can become discouraged or worry about what others are doing to us. We may even try to take matters into our own hands to accomplish what we think God wants. This reveals that we do not really believe Jesus is the door for our lives. If we did, we would be assured that through Christ we have access to everything He wants to do in and through us.

Experiencing God Day by Day: A Devotional and Journal.
By Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Blogger

Hello blog family! I just wanted to inform you that we have a new addition to the family. Thats right, my wife, Jennifer McGhee, the first lady of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church is now one of us. Please feel free to give her a word of encouragement as she hones her own gift of expression. The title of her blog is “Oh My Joy" ( Enjoy!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gary Simultaneous Revival

Sunday evening, I had the blessed privilege of attending the kickoff for the 49th Annual Simultaneous Revival Services, sponsored by the Baptist Ministers Conference of Gary and Vicinity, Inc., Pastor Isaac Culver, Jr., President. This service was held at New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church where Dr. W.N. Reed is pastor. The late Dr. Floyd E. Dumas, a native of Oklahoma City, who served the Metropolitan Baptist Church of Gary for a number of years, is responsible for bringing this idea to my hometown 49 years ago. Since its inception, this revival like the one held in Oklahoma City, has been a coveted venue for pastors and preachers across this nation. Pastors and churches coming together for the express purpose and specific intent of prayer, praise and preaching is a sight to behold. Even those who were not scheduled would attend just for the fellowship. Many would take vacations from their job just to pack out every church, morning, noon and night to hear the preached word.

Ever since I was a boy, growing up in Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Charles L. Emery, I have attended these services. Like a kid in the candy store, I have made it a priority to be a part of this great gathering and to this day I have cherished every moment. To fellowship with pastors across this nation has truly been my honor. As fellow bloggers Pastor Owens and Pastor Witherspoon have already expressed, our love for preaching took shape during experiences such as what these settings bring.

On last night the following preachers set our souls ablaze as they preached with power, persuasion and purpose:

· Pastor Harold Cadwell, Jr., Mt Olive Baptist Church, Detroit, MI.
· Pastor Alphonso Jackson, Sr., Second Baptist Church, Miami, Fl.
· Pastor Keith G. Tyler, Antioch Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky.
· Pastor Edward L. McCree, Israel Baptist Church, Detroit, MI.

Needless to say, I had a blast and am looking forward to attending as many services as my schedule will allow. Special thanks to Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon, my beloved brother, for allowing his son in the ministry, Rev. Derrick Buggs, to drive us to Gary last evening. Much obliged “Mr. Mayor.” God Bless!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Preaching @ Mount Olive - Indy

Last evening, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana sharing with Dr. Carl Z. Liggins, Sr., and the wonderful people of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church during their 2009 Dunamis Conference.

Dr. Carl Z. Liggins, Sr., and I have known each other ever since his days as an associate minister of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, East Chicago, Indiana, under the leadership of Dr. J.C. Wade, Jr. Since then, he has been privileged to pastor in Mississippi and Georgia and now he is in Indianapolis, and has been there since September of 2008. He is doing a magnanimous job leading the people of Mount Olive Church and I could not be more proud of how the Lord has blessed.

Upon arriving at this great church, my wife and I were overwhelmed by the unmistakable hospitality and warm reception of both pastor and people. I was also pleasantly surprised to see members of GSJ in attendance as well as those from my hometown of Gary, Indiana, who currently reside in Indianapolis.

During the preaching moment, I preached a message from Romans 9:1-3, entitled “The Heart of a Soul Winner.” The objective of the message was to challenge God’s people to have the honesty, heaviness and hunger to see souls saved as Paul did. It was well received beyond my expectation judging by the testimonies I received at the conclusion of worship.

After worship, we continued to fellowship over a meal as we tried to bring each other up to speed concerning God’s work in our ministries. I was truly blessed as a result of this fellowship and am the better for it. Please continue to pray for the ministry of Dr. Liggins to the Mount Olive Church family.

Special thanks to Deacon King for your attendance and the complimentary photo. God Bless!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Passion of Christ "R" Rating

Earlier today, I received this piece from one of GSJ's faithful members and thought I would share it with you. The author is unknown. Enjoy!

He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

The "R" of course is because of the violence — the gore of the scourging and the cruelty of the Cross.

In movie terms "R" usually stands for RESTRICTED. In The Passion, "R" stands for RELEVANT, for REALISTIC, for it REALLY happened for a REASON because we were REBELLIOUS we needed a REDEEMER. Yes, we needed to be RECONCILED and we needed to be RECOVERED. We needed to be REGENERATED. Jesus needed to be REJECTED so that we could have a RELATIONSHIP with God, not just a RELIGION about God.

The "R" is to REMIND us to REMEMBER what Jesus did to REMOVE our sin and to RENDER Satan powerless to our RESCUE from eternity in hell.

The "R" rating is to show that Jesus was RESPONSIBLE for giving you REST. As a RESULT of his death, Jesus RETIRED your debt and RETURNED you to God.

The "R" rating means that some will be REPULSED, some will REFUSE to believe, some will be RELUCTANT, and some will think you are RIDICULOUS in believing that a death was REQUIRED.

The "R" rating means that the RESULT of sin has been REVERSED and that now through faith in Christ, you can be REBORN and your REWARD is eternity because you are now RIGHTEOUS before God. You have RECEIVED him as the RULER of your soul and you have been RESTORED in your walk with God. What a REVOLUTIONARY and RADICAL solution to REDEEM humankind! He is RISEN!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Preaching at Gospel Expo

Tonight, I had the privilege of preaching for Jan Kimbrough & Blessed Gospel Magazine during their annual Gospel Expo.

Jan Kimbrough, a member of GSJ, works untiringly every year to put on this program which has proven to be an invaluable means of fostering unity among churches regardless of denominational affiliation. This event was hosted by Pastor James E. Atterberry and the Brotherhood of All Nations Church of God in Christ, located in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Our theme for the occasion was taken from Psalm 133. I preach a message that was preached late last year at GSJ. The title of the message was “The Church That Advances God’s Kingdom” using Matthew 28:16-20 as a foundational passage. The church that advances God’s Kingdom is one that (1)Functions Under the Authority of Christ,(2)is Faithful to the Assignments of Christ, and(3) is Fortified by the Assurance of Christ. The message was well received and I was able to renew old friendships and build new ones. Please pray for the continued fellowship of churches as we win the region for Christ.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

IMA City Wide Revival Conclusion

The past few days have truly been rich, rewarding and refreshing. Our City Wide Revival concluded last evening on a high note. Dr. James Boyd was greatly used of God to bless this region with messages of hope, trust and faith in God, who always come through for His people. The last two messages were entitled:

· Thursday - What Makes Jesus Weep – Luke 19:41-44
· Friday - A Fresh Encounter With God – Isaiah 6:1-8

We were so blessed to have such a preaching presence in our city this week. Our President, Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon has really demonstrated the he is the one whom God has sanctioned to lead the alliance pastors to higher heights and deeper depths. I solicit your prayers on his behalf as he is faced with many challenges. Thankfully, there are pastors and people who are willing to work in the trenches alongside him as together we glorify God. Here are a few additional photos compliments of Richard Armstrong. Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IMA City Wide Revival

We are in the midst of revival at GSJ. The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of St. Joseph County annually sponsors a City Wide Revival which we are privileged to host each year. Under the leadership of our new President, Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, we are off to a great start and even greater things yet await us.

For the second year in a row, we are graced with the preaching presence of Dr. James A. Boyd, Pastor of Zion Gate Missionary Baptist Church of Columbus, Mississippi. Each evening features an alliance pastor giving the lecture, their choirs rendering music, followed by a soul stirring message from our evangelist. The past two nights Dr. Boyd has shared with us the following messages:

· Tuesday - Can God Trust You With Trouble? - Job 1: 6-12
· Wednesday- The Blessed Man - Psalm 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:58

We are anxiously anticipating what the Lord will continue to say through this Man of God. Please include this revival in your prayers and enjoy the following photos courtesy of our own, Bro. Richard Armstrong. God Bless!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday Recap at GSJ

Sunday worship experience was truly one for the ages. We were blessed to engage our entire Youth Department to take a more active role. Aside from our Youth Choir and Junior Ushers, who usually play a role, we also featured our Stepping for Christ Drill Team, our Praise Dancers as well as our Boys & Cub Scouts. Both services were truly a joy to be a part of and we praise God for the work He is doing in the lives of our youth. The Lord has abundantly blessed GSJ with gifted young people.

During the preaching moment at both services, I deviated from my series in 1 Corinthians to preach on a subject that normally does not find its way to pulpits today. Due to the increased number of murder-suicides that has gripped our nation in recent weeks and the increased curiosity that is so pervasive among Christians, I thought it feasible to search the scriptures to find God’s take on the subject of suicide. Because of the economic downturn that we are currently facing and the apparent hopelessness it brings, many people are searching frantically for an anchor that holds and grips the Solid Rock.

The title of the message was “The Truth About Suicide.” Several passages were used throughout the message but my foundational passage was Deuteronomy 30:19-20 which says “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” The following is a brief synopsis of the message:

The Truth About Suicide

I. The Facts Concerning Suicide

A) Statistical Evidence
B) Scriptural Examples - Judges 9:54; 1 Samuel 31:4-5; 2 Samuel 17:23; 1Kings 16:18; Matthew 27:5

II. The Fables Confusing Suicide

a) Suicide is the unpardonable sin
b) The tendency to commit suicide is inherited
c) Everyone who commits suicide is mentally ill
d) People who talk about killing themselves never do
e) Christians who commit suicide lose their salvation

III. The Feelings Characterizing Suicide

a) Depression
b) Distress
c) Death
d) Dismal Outlook

IV. The Faith to Conquer Suicide

A) The power of God
B) The promise of God
C) The providence of God

This was the first time in my entire ministry that I attempted such a huge undertaking. Thankfully the membership shared with me that it was a timely message and that it really blessed them in so many ways. God be praised!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Present Suffering; Future Glory

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (NKJV)

As we continue our journey through the book of Romans, we find joy in studying chapter 8, which, many scholars agree, to be the crown jewel of the entire epistle. While reading this great chapter the above verse leaped from the page and has not let me go since. It’s hard for me to express succinctly my enthusiasm concerning the content of the chapter and how it blessed me and members of our congregation on Wednesday evening. Please allow the following summation of John MacArthur’s treatment of the text to suffice.

“Those who do not know Christ have no hope when they suffer. Whatever the reason for their affliction, it does not come upon them for Christ's sake, or righteousness's sake, and therefore cannot produce for them any spiritual blessing or glory. Those who live only for this life cannot look forward to any resolution of wrongs or to any comfort for their souls. Their pain, loneliness, and afflictions serve no divine purpose and bring no divine reward.

Christians, on the other hand, have great hope, not only that their afflictions eventually will end but that those afflictions actually will add to their eternal glory. Long before the incarnation of Christ, the prophet Daniel spoke of believers' glory as "the brightness of the expanse of heaven," and as being "like the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).

As followers of Christ, our suffering comes from men, whereas our glory comes from God. Our suffering is earthly, whereas our glory is heavenly. Our suffering is short, whereas our glory is forever. Our suffering is trivial, whereas our glory is limitless. Our suffering is in our mortal and corrupted bodies, whereas our glory will be in our perfected and imperishable bodies.”

MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Romans 1-8, pp. 450

Monday, February 23, 2009

Afrocentric Sunday

This past Sunday at GSJ, we culminated the month of February with a remarkable day celebrating our heritage as a people. Led by the wonderful people of our Gospel Chorus, the congregation was encouraged to wear Afro-centric attire during our services and invited to take part in a feast called “Taste of Soul” following the 11am service. Despite the snow we received over the weekend, our attendance was reasonable and we had a joyous time in worship, praise and fellowship. During both worship experiences, the choir once again favored us with several hymns and spirituals that were rendered during a recent concert. It was a great day. Thanks to Richard Armstrong, here are some photos that captured the day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Wife's Birthday

Today, we celebrate the birthday of my beloved wife, Jennifer. There are no words available in the English language that can adequately describe what she means to me. I owe much of my success as a pastor, preacher, person to her undying love and unwavering commitment towards me over the years. It is my prayer that this day will provide her much satisfaction as she grows another year “younger.”

Happy Birthday Sweetness!!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

God's Promises Are Yes

For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in Him. Therefore the “Amen” is also through Him for God’s glory through us.—2 Corinthians 1:20

God keeps every promise He makes. When we walk in intimate fellowship with Christ, we have the assurance that every promise God has made in Scripture is available to us. This truth should motivate us to search the Scriptures for each promise in order to meditate upon its potential for our life.

Jesus promised that when you ask for something in His will, He will give you what you ask (John 16:23b). This promise is available to every Christian. If you ask God if this promise applies to your life, His answer is yes. If you are not now experiencing this promise, it does not change the fact that God has said it. You may need to seek God's answer for why His promise has not yet reached maturity in you.

Paul claimed he had tested each of these promises in his own life and found them all to be abundantly true. That's why he could speak of the “exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7b) and the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8b). Paul had found a wealth of God's promises and enjoyed them all in abundance.

Don't become discouraged or impatient if you are not experiencing to the fullest all of God's promises in your life. God may want to prepare you to receive some of the great truths He has made available to you. Walk closely with your Lord and, in time, you will see Him bring His promises to fruition in your life.

By Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
Experiencing God Day by Day: A Devotional and Journal

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday Recap at GSJ

Sunday was an absolutely fabulous day of worship and praise to a deserving God. Despite the additional two inches of snow to add to the roughly 58 inches we’ve already received so far this winter, the attendance at all three services was simply wonderful. During our 8 & 11 am services, we were led by our youth which is usually the case on third Sunday, and as usual we were blessed. Truly God is doing a great work in the lives of His little ones.

I did not preach the 8am service, however during the 11am service I preached a message emphasizing the importance of training our youth to love God, live and labor for Him. The sermon was based on Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 13:24; Deuteronomy 6:6-8; and Ephesians 6:4 just to name a few. The message was well received and God added two people to the church including one as a candidate for baptism. God be praised for making His presence known, and for the rich fellowship we share through Christ Jesus.

That afternoon at 4pm, we hosted the 19th Ecumenical Service remembering the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This service is sponsored annually by The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of St. Joseph County (IMA), led by our out-going president, Pastor Timothy Rouse of First A. M. E. Zion Church. This was his last charge as president as the mantle will be passed to our new president, my brother and fellow blogger, Pastor Keith D. Witherspoon of Bethlehem Baptist Church. We were graced with the presence of Mayor Lueke, members of his staff, elected officials from every corner of the city, Pastors, ministers and a host of others from all walks of life.

Our featured guest for this occasion was Dr. Addis Moore, Pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church (, in Kalamazoo, MI. Many from his congregation traveled the snow covered roads to support their pastor in the preaching moment. Both he and the choir set the place ablaze as the atmosphere was one of jubilant praise throughout. The sermon he preached was entitled “Deliverance is in the Power of the Church taken from 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” The Lord used him in a masterful way and we were blessed immeasurably. I am not at liberty to share his outline but take my word for it, he came to preach and that he did. We left the place more determined to bridge the gap between church and community with The Church leading the way. Although we have much cause for celebration in lieu of Dr. King’s dream and looking ahead to the Inauguration of our nation’s first African-American President, the church remains accountable to make our God ordained stamp on society in order that we may experience real healing. What a Day!!!!! Today, many events are scheduled to continue our observance of Dr. Martin L. King's life and work. I sincerely hope you will take the time to praise God for how far we've come and continue to press on. See you soon.

Dr. Moore, Pastor McGhee, Dr. Dennis D. Engbrecht of Bethel College (

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Most People Who Have A Problem With God

Most people who have a problem with God handle Him in one of two ways:

· They pretend He does not exist:

Which solves the problem of accountability. If He doesn't exist, we are free to live our lives as we please. There remains, however, the thorny problem of explaining how we all got here. The trick is to concoct a fairy tale to the effect that everything around us just "happened." "Chance." TALK ABOUT LIVING BY FAITH!

Currently evolutionists are telling us it all started with amino acids. But where did they come from? Tough to explain away the gnarly issue of "First Cause."

Perhaps this is why God states "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1).

· They re-invent Him:

Let's face it, His demand on us for all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is pretty steep, given the fact that we'd rather play than carry a cross. So we cope by:

Reducing God to a manageable size:

"Knowing God, they refused to honor Him as God… hence all their thinking ended in futility, and their misguided minds are plunged into darkness. They boast of their wisdom, but they have made fools of themselves… because they have bartered away the true God for a false one." (Romans 1:21, 22, 25 – neb)

Collecting around us religious leaders who tell us what we want to hear about God:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers according to their own desires." (2 Timothy 4:2)

Romans 11:22 speaks about the kindness and severity of God. To those who acknowledge Him for who He is: Kindness. To the rest: Severity. As always, the choice is ours.

Facts of the Matter: Daily Devotionals by Dwight Hill

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

We take this opportunity to wish every one a safe and prosperous New Year. Philippians 3:12-14 gives us at least 3 helpful hints to ensure a greater result this time around. They are:

I. Realize Your Present Situation

- Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.

II. Release Your Past Successes

- Forgetting (to no longer be influenced or affected by) those things which are behind.

III. Reach for the Prize Steadily

- Reaching forth unto the things ahead; Press toward the mark....

May God's richest blessings be upon you all.