Friday, January 30, 2009

A Few Good Men

Acts 6:3

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

"Where have all the good men gone?" How many times have we haerd this lament from sisters? It seems to be the mantra of the 21st century as over 2 million men are in prison. According to a Justice Department report released in July 2003, the U.S. prison population surpassed 2 million for the first time—2,166,260 people were incarcerated in prisons or jails at the end of 2002 (the latest statistics available). Since 1990, the U.S. prison population, already the world's largest, has almost doubled.

About 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 was incarcerated, by far the largest racial or ethnic group—by comparison, 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men in that same age group were incarcerated. According to a report by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago. Today, more African-American men are in jail than in college. In 2000, there were 791,600 black men in prison and 603,032 enrolled in college. In 1980, there were 143,000 black men in prison and 463,700 enrolled in college.

Many sisters find it hard to find suitable mates becasue many men are married, gay, or incarcerated. There are some good men still left but we must seek them out in the assembly of the righteouss.

There was a problem with the new church in Jerusalem. The needs of a group of women was being overlooked. The Grecian widows were being overlooked in the distribution of bread. Even the early church had problems. There is no such thing as a "problem free" church. If you find a church make sure you are part of the solution and not part of the problem. Or as Stokley Carmichael said, "If you are not part of the solution you are the problem."

The women who were overlooked complained to the apostles. The apostles said, "we are teaching the word everyday, we don't have the time to stop teaching and wait on tables. Therefore brothers seek out brothers from among you.

Two things here. Pastors/Leaders need help. If we are going to continue to feed the people spiritual food we need other brothers to help us feed the people physical food. Behind every great pastor/leader are other great men.

The second thing is that I never saw this next point in this scripture before. The apostles said Brothers seek out brothers. Women shouldn't have to find good men. Men know a good man when he sees one. When a man recognizes a man of integrity, he will say, "Yeah, he a good Dude!" It's time for brothers in church to start seeking each other out. We need to recruit and mentor each other. Find a brother who has potential and is not active and invite that brother to join the team and help serve the people. Here's the qualifications according to the scripture and highlighted by leadership guru John Maxwell:

1. Known from their sphere of influence. "seek out from among you. There are some good brothers right around you. Stop right now and see their faces. When you see them you say, "that's a good dude. He's good with people. Hard worker, doesn't keep up any mess." They are closer than you think.

2. People who could serve on a team. "Seven men." You don't need a whole army, just a team.

3. Trusted among the people. "of good reputation." It is so important to have a good name. If you want to be a good man have a good name.

4. Empowered for the task. Full of the Holy Spirit. These men can't be carnal. They must have a relationship with God and be under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Read Galatians 6 for the fruits of the Spirit. If they don't have the fruit, then they don't have the root of being connected to the Holy Spirit.

5. Competent and intelligent--"full of wisdom." These men are knowledge seekers and they have common sense. Whether they graduated from Morehouse or studied at "their house." They are intelligent.

6. Responsible-"whom we may appoint over this business. These brothers have to be men of integrity. You feel safe with them watching over the cash register. You feel safe with them wathcing your kids. They are self starters and take intiative. They are Response Able, able to respond when there is a need without being told to do so.

Dear God help me to seek out good men that can help serve your Kingdom agenda. Open my eyes to see there are some good men of all races who love you and can help meet the needs of those being overlooked. Thank you that you saw enough good in my "flawedness" that you gave me a chance to serve you in your Kingdom. Thank you Lord!

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, January 29, 2009

You Ain't Got To Lie To Kick It!

Acts 5:4 Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to Men but to God.

Being a part of a movement, something bigger than yoruself is something we all want to be a part of. Even going back to when we were young teens, we all would brag or lie about our accomplishments just to fit in. You remember the locker room stories from guys lying about how many girls they had been with just to impress the next guy who was just as lame as he was. That's okay when you are little boys to make up stories, but when you are grown still lying just to fit in there's a problem. You ain't got to lie to kick it.

Something my mother always told me when I was younger stuck with me. "Son I'd rather you slap me than lie to me." I loved my mother too much to ever strike her with my hand or hurt her heart with my lying mouth.

How many of us are still lying just to kick it? Saying things that are not true to deceive the people around us that we are really down but withholding something that is vital for the survival of others. You ain't got to lie to kick it!

The early church was a group of believers who were persecuted and economically challenged for the single fact that they loved Jesus. In the first century, being a Christian was dangerous. The Jews were already oppressed by the Roman government, overtaxed and underpaid, but to be a Christian made you a doulbe threat. Sounds a lot like America right now. This recession is putting the squeeze on us and being a Christian is not as popular as it once was. But the thing about these early Christ followers was that they took care of one another. Acts 4:34 says, Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostle's feet and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

The church has always been a place where people come in time of crisis for help. At New D, we believe we are not just a Church but a movement. But each and every person who is a part of the movement must contribute so we can help those in need.

Ananias was a part of the movement of new Christians. He saw how everybody was pitching in to help through this recession. That wasn't the bad part. The sin was not how much he gave. The sin was that he lied about how much he gave. He and his wife agreed to lie about how much they were giving. They sold some land and pretended to give all the money but in their heart they knew they had more to give. They lied so they could look like they were a part, but really they were looking out for themselves. He was not operating out of faith, but fear, greed not generosity.

when Peter asked him was this everything? He lied, because he wanted to kick it. Because he lied, he died.

When you lie it does four things:

1. You corrupt your heart. It all starts with the heart. Peter said why have you conceived this in your heart? He impregnated his heart with deceit.

2. You deceive people, but you lose fellowship with God. Peter said, "you have not lied to men but to God.

3. You experience death.

4. You put your family in Peril. After Ananias died, his wife walked in not knowing that her husband was dead. She had a chance to tell the truth but she didn't know that her partner had already died, she lied and then suffered the same fate.

You ain't got to lie to kick it. What i liked about President Obama's movement is that he gave everyone an opportunity to get involved. Whether it was $25 or $2,500, we all helped him because we felt like it was something bigger than us.

There is still a movment that we can help with. It's the movement of relieving the poor, missions overseas, the fight for social justice, the preaching of the good news, community transformation, education of our children, ministry to teenagers, whatever it is, each of us should give what God tells you whether it's to a church or a charity, just don't lie about it.

Dear God search our hearts and see if we are real about what we can do to help others in this recession. Let God be true and every man a lie, we believe your word and we will give it to you and your movement. For it says in your word that if we give it will be given back to us, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. It will be poured into our laps. For with the same measure we use, it will be measured back to us.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Get Down and Then Come Up!

Exodus 20:24

Then the Lord said to him, away! Get down and then come up, you and Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.

Have you ever wondered how you can be up one day and down the next? Our life kind of resembles the stock market, every mornng the bell rings on the floor, and the reporter says, the Dow is down again today; then a couple of days later, it's up. My finances are up and down. My emotions are up and down. What's going on in my life?

Sometimes in life we can seemingly make it up to the top only to have to come down to get somethng together at the bottom. Sometimes it's something you thought you already took care of but you have got to give attention to it again. It's humbling and frustrating to have been at the top only to have to ocme back down.

Moses knew this all too well. God had given him instructions on how to apporach his Holy Mountain where he would give him the ten commandments. He told Moses and all the people to wash themselves, consecrate themselves, to get ready to approach the Holy mountain. Married folks were not even supposed to have sex the night before they approached the mountain of God's presence. They were instructed not to come near the base of the mountain. God is Holy and we can't just approach him any old kind of way. It's true that if we are dirty that we can approach him for forgiveness but when we are believers and we know we are going into his presence then we should be consecrated, cleansed of wordly filth through the washing of his word and the cleansing of repentance.

Moses climbs up the montain in a great cloud of darkness, thundering, and lightning. The whole mountain is covered in what looks like a storm. The bible says the people stayed back but Moses went toward the great darkness where God was. Isn't that paradoxical, the great darkness where God was. Sometimes God is operating in what other people are afraid to approach.

The people are so intiimidated that they don't even go near it. When Moses gets to the top, God tells Moses to go tell the people not to come up here. Tell them not to break through or I will breakout. You cannot force a breakthrough if God ain't ready for you. When we force a breakthrough it can cause a breakout. God had ordained Moses to come into his presence. He was the only one at that time who could breakthrough. Everybody else had to remain at the base. Don't take people with you into God's presence that he hasn't consecrated to come with you.

Moses had climbed all the way to the top. God told him to go back down.

When I went to Israel, we rode camels half way up Mount Sinai and walked the rest of the way. I thought I'd never get to the top but it was worth it because we got to see the sunrise over the Promised Land.

Moses made it to the top and God said, "Go back down and tell the people not to breakthrough". Moses tried to argue that he already told them. His legs were burning from the climb. He was winded from going up. He started calculating how long it took him to get up there, but God didn't want to hear it. God said, "Go back down. Moses tried to argue that he already told them and God said:

1. Away. Get down and then come up. No matter how settled you are, don't get comfortable because God might send you back down.

2. God knows people better than you do. There are some folk in your life that you think are doing one thing but when you are gone they are doing another.

3. God's vantage point is better than yours. He sees things you can't.

4. Lean not to your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge God and he will make your path straight. God's ways are not your way.

5. Humble yourself and he will exalt you.

Dear God, thank you for calling me up and at times bringing me back down. You did it for my good and for the good of the people with me. Your timing is perfect even though it might inconvenience me. I trust you even when I can't understand. I know that when you bring me up, you will keep me up when it's time. Thank you for letting me come in your presence.

In Jesus name,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Know Their Hearts

You Know Their Hearts

Acts 1:24

And they prayed and said, “You O, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two you have chosen.

It’s so hard to tell who people really are. You can be in relationship for years with someone and not get a true revelation on who they are. Many times because we are stuck on outer appearance or outer accomplishments we miss the heart. God told Samuel when he was looking for Israel’s next king, he was looking the wrong way. He went to all the tall and handsome sons of Jesse but it was a short, ruddy David that God wanted to anoint. Samuel said, “Man looks at the outside but God looks at the heart.”

Jesus was able to discern a person for who they were by listening to their words because out of the heart the mouth speaks. People are not going to be able to hide around you because eventually their mouth will tell you who they are.

Peter and the apostles were trying to replace Judas with a new apostle but with a different spirit. We need to be careful replacing people with the same people. Systems theory says that when you remove an “aggressive rat” from a pack of rats another “aggressive rat” will take his place. That’s why so many people in bad relationships end up marrying the same abusive person because they don’t take the time to look at the heart.

Peter prayed to God to look at the two prospects and examine their hearts so God could pick the right one.

This past week President Obama’s cabinet selections were going through intense committee hearings to be asked tough questions about their character. One committee chairman Senator Max Baucus said “I am disappointed in the errors found in Tim Geithner's tax returns and other information, but I am satisfied that Mr Geithner has taken the steps necessary to fix these problems. The president needs a Treasury secretary on day one. We have to roll up our sleeves and get this economy moving again for the American people, and Tim Geithner has the right combination of experience and skill for these difficult economic times."

Senior Democrat Chuck Schumer also defended Mr Geithner: "Tim came to the committee, admitted he had made some mistakes and was very contrite." One Senator said, “I find it implausible that you did not stop to think that, “I’m doing this the wrong way.” He said I want to understand your mindset. “ In other words he wanted to know what kind of person are you really? Let me look at your heart. Can we trust you to lead this country or will you jeopardize the President and this country?

Before you select your cabinet you need to :

1. Pray. God will reveal to you in your quiet time who to trust and who not to trust.

2. Vet them, do your research into their background. People can lie about their resume.

3. Get some wise people to cross examine the people you are thinking about bringing in your life.

Dear God please search the hearts of the people closest to me. Don’t let me be in relationship with anybody who’s heart isn’t right. Don’t let me be hoodwinked by smooth talk and fake smiles. Search my heart and if you find anything deceptive or defective, take it out. Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.

In Jesus Name.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Sit Still Till I Make Your Enemies Your Footstool

Exodus 14:13

Do not be afraid. Stand Still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will accomplish for you today. For the enemies (Egyptians) whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you , and you shall hold your peace.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's Your Excuse?

Exodus 3:6

And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God.

Everyday God wants to get closer to us so that he can use us to accomplish his will in the world. It is hard for us to be aware of this because we move at a frenetic pace. Sometimes we are busy because subconsciously we are trying to avoid God. If we get too still and too quiet God might catch up with us.

When God caught up with Moses it was on the backside of nowhere. He was watching sheep out in a remote area running from his past. He had taken a job that had nothing to do with his destiny, but it had prepared him for his purpose.

When God showed up, Moses hid his face from God, because he was afraid. When God shows up, it is overwhelming because his Holiness makes you painfully aware of how Unholy you are. But God is able to look beyond your faults and see your potential, but what's your excuse for him not to use you?

Moses had about five excuses or questions as to why God could not use him:

1. Who am I to tell Pharoah to let the Israelites go? Exodus 3:11 Who was Moses not to go tell Pharoah? He was in Pharoah's palace for 40 years, raised as a son of Pharoah. He was a Hebrew raised in Pharoah's court. He could identify with the elite and the oppressed. When God calls you to do something he's already exposed you to do what needs to be done.

2. Who's backing me? Exodus 3:13 Moses asks, "Who shall I say sent me?" God tells Moses, tell them I AM Who I Am sent you. In the new testament Jesus says, Greater is he that is in you than he who is in the world. When God sends you out he sends you out with his authority.

3. What if they don't believe me? Exodus 4:1 Moses needed a sign that God was with him. God gave him a staff and the ability to work signs and wonders with it. When God sends you on a mission he will bless you with a staff to work wonders. He will give you a team that will be able to accomplish his will.

4. I'm not a good speaker. Exodus 4:10 The fear of public speaking is one of the greatest phobias of most human beings. It has even been said that Moses had a speech impediment, that he had a studdering problem. I like what God told him. " I will be with your mouth and I will give you what to say." Jesus told the disciples that when they bring you before officials do not worry about what you are going to say, for God will give you what to say.

5. Please send someobdoy else. Exodus 4:13. The bible says God got angry with Moses at this point. After all the assurance that God had given him he's still making excuses. So God told him that he would send him a helper in the person of his brother Aaron. Jesus has sent us a helper as well. Before he ascended into heaven he said I will send you the Holy Spirit, the helper, who will give you power and bring back to remembrance everything I have spoken or taught you. We are never alone.

You are the change you've been looking for. Stop making excuses and follow God's lead. Take on that adversity and watch God deliver you and your people.

Dear God, you are always calling, but we are not always listening. Remove every excuse that is blocking me from my destiny. I am ready to do all that you have called me to do. I love you Lord and I am confident that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

In Jesus Name.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Inauguration

Luke 21:34 - But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkeness and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly.

We witnessed a great day yesterday! One that we thought we would never see; an African-American president who it seems the whole world is hopeful will bring about peace and restoration so that America will once again lead the World.

As Joyful as I am and proud of my new President, I am also soberly aware that there is one more inaugaration. in fact this event is really a pre-lude to the Real one. The book of Revelation speaks of a time when there will be a sense of world peace, one currency and turbulent times. All these things point to the return of Jesus. Natural Disasters, Wars, famines, and Global warming. Our Planet is in Peril. Yesterday I had a sene that God sent us Barack Obama as a leader to get it right before he comes back. Both Preachers that prayed yesterday, Rick Warren and Joseph Lowery, asked God for forgiveness for our negligence for righteousness and justice for all. They both alluded to the fact that we will one day have to stand before God to give an account for how we treated our fellow humans. We have one more inauguration.

Jesus told the disciples he would return one day as the King of Kings to judge the world. Luke 21:28 Now when these things begin to happen look up and lift up your heads because your redemption is near.I talked to a young man yesterday in the Barbershop who slept throughthe entire inaugaration, he said, "I woke up and heard the commentators say, 'Nice Speech." To his credit he had been working all night at Fed Ex. What is it that will cause you to miss THE INAUGURATION OF JEUSUS?!Jesus gives us three things that could cause us to miss his return:1. Carousing. ca·rouser n.Word History: The origin of the word carouse can be found in a German interjection that meant time to leave the bar. German garaus, which is derived from the phrase gar (all) aus (out), meaning all out, then came to mean drink up, bottoms up, and a last drink before closing time. The English borrowed this noun, with the meaning the practice of sitting around drinking until closing time, be careful that you are not sitting around drinking when Jesus comes to close the bar/nightclub. The only problem is nobody knows what time he's coming.

The message version puts it like this: Luke 21:34 (The Message)34-36 But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it's going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don't go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that's coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man. 2. Drunkeness. When you are intoxicated or high you lose all real sense of time and quite frankly you don't care what time it is.3. cares of this life. 2 Timothy 2:4 (New Living Translation)4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.Dear God, Give me a sober perspective for this historic moment in time. Do not allow us to Deify nor Villify our President and forget to Glorify you. Use your servant Barack Obama to lead your people back to you. Help us to get our homes in order for that last great inaugaration where every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. As we work thorugh tis winter of discontent and rebuild this country, let us also seek your kingdom first. Give us a good sense of balance to seek first your kingdom even as we take care of earthly affairs, for thine is the kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever. Lord Jesus we eagerly await and anticipate your return in the meantime we are rolling up our sleeves to make this one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

In Jesus Name!