Thursday, January 28, 2010

They Had Nothing To Say

Acts 4:14 When they saw the man who had been cured standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.

Whenever you have position, you will always have opposition. -- Dr. Kevin Cosby

It was hard to watch the polarization last night as President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. It was disheartening to see how divided the House was. The collective cheers of Republicans and Democrats were sparse and sporadic. The president’s most profound statement of the night in my opinion was “to vote for party interests only is good politics but bad leadership.” It’s been a year of opposition but now it’s time to move forward in healing for the people of our nation.

When Peter and John healed the man who had been crippled for most of his life, 5,000 people got saved and the religious leaders were “annoyed” because they were teaching the people about the resurrection of Jesus. They were more concerned about the “rightness” of their ideology of a “resurrection” than they were the healthcare of this man that had been cured. How much longer are we going to cripple the healthcare of people in defense of our ideology? Tim Keller was right in his book “counterfeit gods” that we have made gods of our political and religious ideology while ignoring the move of God in our midst.

The man who had been crippled was standing next to Peter and John but all the Pharisees could see was someone who didn’t represent their ideology. If Americans can get healthcare, jobs, and a better way of life then I think that it doesn’t matter what side of the isle we stand on. The Bible says that when they saw the man that was crippled standing beside Peter and John, they had nothing to say in opposition.

Instead of spending time arguing with people who are ‘hell bent’ on opposition let your work speak for you. All of us on some level will experience opposition from people who will oppose us when all we are trying to do is help. Instead of arguing with people who oppose you let God fight your battles and let your work speak for you.

1. Create better solutions

2. Heal the people who need help.

3. Let God speak through you. They told the Apostles to stop preaching about Jesus because that didn’t match the ideology of the religious leaders. Peter said, we can’t help but to speak on the things we’ve seen and heard.

4. Pray for boldness that you can keep on speaking in the face of opposition.

My prayer for America is that God would heal the people in the midst of opposition and out of that healing the Kingdom of God will grow and opposition will be silenced because the move of God will silence all critics. It’s time for us to come together because a house divided against itself cannot stand. God have your way!

In Jesus name,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I've Got Something Better Than Money

Acts 3:6 I have no silver or gold but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.

Money is hard to come by these days. People are hard pressed to find jobs and make ends meet. There are signs that the economy is trying to recover but like the crippled man by the gate called Beautiful, it’s slow to get up.

According to CNN only one-quarter of Americans think the federal stimulus plan has helped the middle class while a majority says it has helped bankers and investors, according to a new national poll. Giving more money to a crippled economy is not going to help it walk, the system needs total restoration.

A crippled man sit by the gate called Beautiful that was in front of the temple begging for alms when Peter and John were going in for prayer. Peter looked at him and said, “I don’t have what you are looking for, I don’t have any money but what I do have I freely give in the Name of Jesus get up and walk!” I have something better than money, in the name of Jesus walk. The bible says immediately his ankles were strengthened and he leaped to his feet.

What’s going to get us back on our feet is the power of Jesus Christ. Our over dependence on money is what crippled us as a nation in the first place, our misuse of money, and our idolatry of money crippled us causing us to be dependent on the alms of oil sheiks, and corrupt dictators. It’s the power of Jesus that is going to get us on our feet and heal our crippled country.

1. Prayer is the starting place. Peter and John were on their way into the temple to pray when they saw the man.

2 Chronicles 7:14
if my people, who are called by my name, will 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.

2. We have to make God’s Kingdom a priority. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

3. Give what you got. Peter didn’t have gold but he gave his gift of healing. He didn’t have Silver but he used his service to the crippled man. Only what you do for Christ will last.

Matthew 6:19-21 (New International Version)
Treasures in Heaven
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Dear God, thank you for giving me something greater than money and that is your Holy Spirit and favor on my life. Your power has taken me further than any stimulus package ever could. I trust you for a full recovery for this crippled economy because I realize that my healing is in you.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Make It Rain

Exodus 16:4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them whether they will follow my instruction or not.”

Give us this day our daily bread. How amazing it is that morning by morning new mercies we see and God is keeping us alive. David said, “I once was young but now I’m old and I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed in the streets begging for bread.” God has provided over and over.

There have been times when it looked like God wasn’t going to show up but when we cry out to God, He is quick to answer our cries. Some of the Haitian people are in the streets begging for bread right now, but God is making it rain bread because the people of God are pouring out their resources to make sure that they have bread to eat. That is daily bread. The Children of Israel knew what it felt like to be in a place where you didn’t know where your bread was coming from. God had just delivered the Israelites out of Egypt but when they got on the other side of their deliverance there was no water or bread. It’s amazing how we can get to a place of deliverance and it looks like we are lacking. Could it be that God brings us to these places on purpose?

The wilderness is part of your deliverance. This place where you are right now was part of God’s navigational plans for your life. God told Moses, I’m about to make it rain bread up in here and I don’t mean cloudy with a chance of meat balls, He said, “when I make it rain bread from heaven, you are to go out and gather enough for each day.” That is the test. Gather enough for each day. I was talking with my CFO about how I grew up poor and I always try to have enough money in my bank account to leave a cushion in case anything goes wrong. I get a little anxious when my bank account gets below a certain point. It’s financially prudent to have 3 months of your salary saved up in case of an emergency. Well, for many of us that emergency has happened, it’s called a Recession and it has come and gone. Now we are in something called a wilderness experience, but God is about to make it rain.

God says the reason I bought you here is to test you to see if you are going to follow my instruction or not. God wants to see if you are going to trust him in this place. He told Moses and the Children of Israel to stand still and see the Lord work on their behalf. Just be still and know that the Lord, He is God and He will provide. God’s about ready to make it rain.

God is still making it rain in the New Testament when He told the disciples don’t leave Jerusalem until you receive your power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t leave until you get your power. From the time Jesus ascended into heaven and the time he poured out the Holy Spirit was ten days. After ten days, Jesus went to heaven and made it rain. He told them don’t leave Jerusalem until I make it rain. Yes, you are to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the world but don’t leave until God makes it rain.

Before God could make it rain he had to get his bread back. Jesus said in John 6, 32Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34"Sir," they said, "from now on give us this bread."
35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and He who believes in me will never be thirsty.

Peter said on the day of Pentecost, “being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit; He has poured out this that you both see and hear! God made it rain.

Dear God, rain down on us this morning. We are in a place of need. We need daily bread, but we also need your power. We need that which fills our bellies but more than that we need that which fills our spirit. Man cannot live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Lord make it Rain!

In Jesus Name,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Can I Get A Witness?

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

During this time of fasting for 21 days, our church has been seeking the face of God for our lives and ministry. One of the things we have been praying for is power. We receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. God doesn’t give us the Holy Spirit just to make us feel warm and fuzzy, or to shout on Sunday, or to get goose bumps in service but he gives us power to be a witness to his resurrection, to heal the sick, to give sight to the blind, to set the captives free, that’s why he gives us Power!

It’s interesting that the word “witness” means to be a martyr. A Martyr is one who gives his/her life for their faith. Jesus said, you shall give your life for what you believe in after you have received the Holy Spirit. I believe there would be a lot less people asking for the Holy Spirit if they really knew what it meant to be a witness.

After you receive power you are to be a witness in:

1. Jerusalem. This city was home base for the Apostles. It was their comfort zone. It was easier being a witness there because people were familiar with what just happened with Jesus, plus they shared the same culture. Every local church should start with their community in being a witness. If the people around your church haven’t heard from you then you have failed as a witness. Have you evangelized the homes, apartments, and schools around your church? On a micro level do you know your neighbors? Do your neighbors know Jesus as a result of you?

2. Judea was a place similar, but different. It was close enough physically and shared some of the same cultural nuances. What are the surrounding areas that need to hear about Jesus and requires you to step out of your comfort zone?

3. Samaria was close, but culturally different. God will send you places to a people who might disagree theologically and culturally but still need Jesus. Can you get over your bias, racism, and sexism in order to give them Jesus?

4. Uttermost parts of the world. This is global missions where every believer should eventually be a part of. With the crisis in Haiti, the world has had an overwhelming response in sending aid to this hurting part of the world. Through the World Wide Web, the world has become smaller and makes it easier for all of us to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s time for all of us to be a witness and to tell the world about the goodness of Jesus Christ!

Dear God, I pray that I can be a witness for Jesus. I believe you’ve called us to reach one more for Jesus glocally, that is locally and globally. Give us wisdom how to spread your Gospel to all four quadrants and be your witness everyday and everywhere.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Surely This Thing Is Known

Exodus 2:14 Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptians? Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.”

As I was at the airport yesterday waiting on my plane at DFW, reports of Tiger Woods at an addiction facility kept popping up with the announcer saying, “Tiger Woods is at an addiction Treatment facility in Hattiesburg, MS…sources there say that they cannot confirm or deny that Mr. Woods is in treatment there.” My thoughts were, ‘leave this man alone, and give him his space to deal with his demons and his disgrace.’

Being in the spotlight over this last decade has caused Tiger to sacrifice his anonymity which consequently bought him major endorsements, but with his affairs, cost him just as much as he gained. Just as fast as his career shot up it has come crashing down just as swift because, “surely this thing is known.”

Moses had a favored life like Tiger Woods, raised by a Hebrew mother but trained in an Egyptian household. He had the best of both worlds. He was finally becoming comfortable with who he was as both an Egyptian and a Hebrew but his duality of identity caused him to act out in anger when he saw a fellow Hebrew slave being abused by an Egyptian task master. Moses killed the Egyptian and thought he buried him in secret.

How often is it in life when we are torn between two identities? We are torn between our public selves and our private self, our perceived identity and our real identity. We are tortured over the fact that if anybody ever really knew this about me I’d probably lose some major endorsements. What threatens our identity and our endorsements are our secrets.

Anytime you ‘act out” whether it be your anger or your sexuality or any kind of bad decisions you run the risk of the thing being known. Even though you thought you killed it and buried it this thing can still be known because what you do in the dark will come to the light, somebody is always watching or somebody is always going to talk.

But wasn’t Moses just trying to help? Yes, but there is never a wrong way to do the right thing. As a result of doing the wrong thing Moses had to run for his life. Moses ran to his Purpose because of his pain. For forty years, he was raised to be a champion with a dual identity of having family members still enslaved. For the next 40 years, God would purge him of Egypt to send him back better than he was before. After this thing about you is uncovered you have the choice of running and hiding or running and having an encounter with God.

Jesus knows all about our struggles. There is nothing hidden that will not be known. It’s time to run back to God so he can send us back better than before. Because God knows you better than you know yourself it’s time to run to him because whether you know it or not ‘this thing that you are hiding, he already knows what it is.”

Dear God, you know me and yet you still love me. Reconcile my public self with my real self and make me whole. Restore me after this secret sin can be contained no longer and send me back to accomplish a higher purpose for my life.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Count the Cost

Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?

As many of us are still recovering from the recession there are plenty of mistakes we can all learn from in 2009. Adjustable rates vs. Fixed Rates. Purchasing a home we can afford vs. one we can’t. Living below our means vs. living beyond our means. Making sure we have 3 months of our wages saved up in case of an emergency. Getting rid of all debt.

Not only financially but morally we learned some lessons that cost people money, endorsements, and careers. Politicians that had affairs or took money. R&B singers involved in Domestic Abuse. Rappers carrying illegal guns. Iconic athletes committing several acts of adultery. If each of these people would have counted the costs they probably would have reconsidered their actions.

Not only financially, or morally but spiritually we must count the cost of being a follower of Christ. You must give up something in order to be a disciple of Jesus. In order to follow Jesus, you may have to give up certain social alliances, land, relationships, or even career paths. There is a radical allegiance in following Jesus that most folks don’t consider.

During this prosperity gospel era, we have over emphasized what we get and de-emphasized what we have to give up. R. Kelly wrote a powerful song called, “trade in my Life for Jesus” but like many of us he sang more than he could do.

Jesus said, “no one builds a tower without first sitting down to estimate how much it’s going to cost because you don’t want to get in the middle of a building project and not have enough money to finish it.” This is a powerful principle for life. Before you initiate anything you’ve got to ask “how much is this going to cost me?

1. Before you build or buy a house. How much is it going to cost to own a house? Repairs? Mortgage? Light bill? Cutting the grass? Furniture? Security? Insurance?

2. Before you use your credit card and accrue compound interest. How many times would you have paid for the purchase by the time you pay off the interest?

3. Before you have sex with someone? What if the condom breaks? What if my spouse and kids find out? What if I get pregnant? What if I get an incurable disease?

4. Before you open up a business? What if I don’t make a profit for a year? Do I have enough startup capital? What if my partner bails out on me? How much are all my taxes going to be? Payroll? Inventory tax? Property tax? State tax? City tax?

5. Before you get in any relationship? Will this take away or strengthen my relationship with Christ? Is this person crazy? Are they a stepping stone or a stumbling block? Are they headed in the same direction I am? Are we equally yoked?

6. Before you head in a New Direction? Is this where God is leading me? What will I have to give up? What will I gain?

7. Before you walk away from God. Where will I spend eternity? Where is my source of Joy? Who can I turn to?

The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.

Dear God, what I have given up does not compare to what you’ve given me. Whatever else I need to give up I am willing to follow you. Nothing else matters. I surrender all to you my blessed Savior.

In Jesus Name.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Boss Is Tripping!

Genesis 31:7 your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times but God did not permit him to harm me.

There has been so much instability in the workforce this past year and a half. There have been lay-offs, downsizing, and wage changes. Many business owners and CEO’s have had to make adjustments for their business to survive but there are some who have taken advantage of the shifting economy and the desperation of the people and have manipulated their employees. Many people are not being paid what they are worth but they are grateful to have a job. When you are faithful to do your job and God’s favor is on your life it is not your job to focus on the mistreatment of your boss. It’s God’s and he will see you through!

Jacob discovered this working for Laban, his father-in-law, for 20 years. Jacob told Rachael his wife, “You know that I have served your father with all my strength, yet he has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me.” Ten times! Talk about an unstable market, he changed his wages ten times! Ten times Jacob had to realign his budget. Ten Times he had to move his family around to a different location. Ten Times he had to figure out how to increase his income. But each time God kept him. How many times has your wages changed? How many times has God kept you?

God sent an Angel to Jacob to let him know that God was the one that gave him increase with his flock. When Laban said Jacob could only have the spotted sheep, God birthed more spotted sheep. When Laban said he could only have the striped sheep, God birthed more striped sheep. Whenever Laban changed God provided.

What you need to know is when your Boss is tripping God is still tipping! God will be your tipping point to get you over when your Boss is trying to get over. In the meantime, here’s what you need to do:

1. Be faithful. Verse 6 “You know that I have served your father with all my strength.” Keep doing what you are supposed to do regardless of how your boss is acting.

2. Treat his business like you would your own. Verse 38 “These twenty years, I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams of your flocks.” Jacob took care of Laban’s flock like they were his and he didn’t steal any inventory.

3. Absorb the cost. Verse 39 “That which was torn by wild beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it myself; of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night.” There will be some things that go wrong on the job and you will have to take the blame even though it was out of your control but God knows and he will settle it.

4. Work hard regardless of conditions. Verse 40 “It was like this with me: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.” Your hard work today will pay off for you tomorrow. Keep pushing.

5. Leave when God says leave. Verse 13 God told Jacob, “I am the god of Bethel where you anointed a pillar and made a vow to me. Now leave this land at once and return to the land of your birth.” When you have acquired enough money and you are strong enough to go, God will release you to your own land.

Dar God, thank you for keeping me in unstable conditions. In 2010, I know you will keep me again no matter how the market changes. My faith is in you! Thank you for making me prosperous even with spotted sheep, people trying to cheat me, and changing wages. In spite of it all, I’m still blessed!

In Jesus name,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

These Signs Shall Follow

Mark 16:17-18

When we are connected to the Lord Jesus Christ there ought to be some evidence that we belong to him. The old saints use to say, “If you have been born again you ought to show some sign!” More than ever people need to see some distinguishing traits that separate us from everybody else in the world. Even Moses told the Israelites when they were getting ready to cross over into the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 12:30 take care that you are not snared into imitating them (unbelievers), after they have been destroyed before you.

Instead, we are to remember God’s commandments and put His word in our hearts and teach them to our children, and write them on the door frames of our homes. When we have relationship with Jesus there are some signs that follow us as believers. When we use the name of Jesus, there is authority in the use of that name but it doesn’t mean anything if you are not under His authority. You must be connected to Jesus in order to use His name. When you use His name these signs shall follow:

1. Demons will be cast out. Unclean spirits have to flee when you use Jesus name to expel them. We want to make sure though that we are in relationship with Jesus or else we will be embarrassed like the seven sons of sceva who tried to cast out demons like they saw Paul. They told the man possessed with demons, “come out in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.” The man with demons said, “I know who Paul is and I know who Jesus is but who are you?” The demon possessed man beat them and tore their clothes off. Don’t play with demons if you don’t know who Jesus is.

2. You will speak in new tongues. Some call it a prayer language or a tongue given straight from heaven that requires an interpreter when used in public. I personally like the functional use of tongues as it is presented in Acts on the day of Pentecost. When they were filled with the Holy Spirit each person heard the gospel being preached in their own native tongue. Tongues should always benefit the people who hear them.

3. They will pick up snakes in their hands. This happened to Paul when he was on the Island of Malta and was bitten by a viper. Everyone expected him to die but nothing happened because he was covered by the blood of Jesus. Now this doesn’t mean that you become a snake handler to prove you are anointed, it just means that you are covered by the blood of Jesus if a snake ever crosses your path.

4. If they drink anything poisonous, it will not harm them. Again, this is not intentional; this is if anybody tries to poison a believer it will not work. No weapon formed against you will prosper.

5. They will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. Every believer. Every believer has the power to lay hands on the sick and they will recover.

These signs are not just for professional clergy; these signs shall follow all believers. It’s time for the body of Christ to walk in all of its power and anointing. We have been sitting back for too long spectating when God is calling us off the bench to get in the game. There is so much untapped power in you as a believer and now is the time to get connected so these signs may follow you. If you don’t go anywhere then the signs can’t follow. You must be going somewhere and doing something for God for these signs to follow.

Dear God, thank you for miracles, signs, and wonders that have followed our ministry. It’s not any goodness of my own but it’s because of my Savior, Jesus. Father, continue to heal, set free, and deliver those who need the power of Jesus in their lives. God, we love you and adore you.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Counterfeit gods

Deuteronomy 8:19
If you do forget the Lord your God and follow other gods to serve and worship them I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish

In His book, Counterfeit gods, Timothy Keller talks about how we as Americans have ascribed ultimate value to things that cannot sustain us in place of God. Whenever we make something or someone else a god, who is not God, we set ourselves up for disappointment. False gods always disappoint and leave you devastated because once you ascribe ultimate value to something that can’t sustain you once it is removed you have nothing left to give you hope. Idolatry is taking some incomplete joy of this world and building your entire life on it.

Sometimes when God blesses us with some earthly joy we forget who it was that blessed us with what we have whether it be money, success, family, lovers, or even our religion. There is devastating danger in forgetting who God is. God is the source and the strength of my life, he moves all pain, misery and strife, I promised to go with him when he comes back, I’ve come too far and I can never turn back, God is!

When I put little gods in His place, they will disappoint me every time. Moses reminded the children of Israel that when they crossed over into the Promised land, it was not because of their Right-ness but because of God’s Good-ness. God gave them the ability to get wealth. They were not a great people because of their number but because they were a chosen people. He didn’t allow their clothes or their shoes to wear out the 40 years they were in the desert. For that reason Moses reminded them not to forget who God was. Just like us they did forget and built an idol god of gold and were worshipping it while Moses was fasting 40 days and 40 nights without food or water! When God saw them worshipping the idol god, he wanted to kill them all but Moses interceded for them in prayer and God spared them.

During this time of fasting and prayer, we need to ask God to forgive us for our idol worship. What idol god have you been worshipping? Your lover? Your money? Your ministry success? Your way of thinking? Your denomination? What have you ascribed ultimate value to that cannot sustain you? Don’t make the things God blesses you with your god or else you will perish.

Dear God, help me to keep you as top priority in my life. You alone get the Glory. You are God and God all by yourself. Thank you for what your hand has provided. I will be sure to worship the creator and not what you created.

In Jesus Name,