Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't Let Them Steal Your Word

Mark 4:15
Some people are like seed along the path, where the Word is sown as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the Word that was sown in them.

Some of us have had enough of God’s Word sown in us to last a lifetime. The problem is not that we haven’t heard the Word of God; the problem is that there are thieves in the Temple.

Not long ago two men robbed my business and stole two flat screens that I purchased for my customers to watch while they were waiting to be serviced. I was outraged by this trifling act of robbery. It bothered me that they had been there before, sat in those seats pretending they were there for service. The most painful part was looking at the tape of the men swiftly snatching down what cost me to put up. The money, the time, the vision, the labor of love that went into putting them in was taken away in a manner of minutes, 9 to be exact.

Those were material things that can be replaced, but imagine how God feels watching us from heaven and seeing His work snatched out after it took Him precious time to put the Word in the preacher to put into you. The cost of sending His Son, the living Word, to die for people who reject Him weekly by not heeding the Word spoken about Him. I wonder how God feels seeing His preacher’s time, sacrifice, labor of love being snatched out by scandalous people who work for Satan. Satan and his imps only come to steal, kill, and destroy.

When somebody steals something from you everybody becomes a suspect when you are still raw but with time I narrowed my suspects down to three people. My biggest suspects were people who weren’t coming in to get serviced but who were just loitering, lingering, and lying.

Watch out for people who:

1. Loiter –to stand idly by to remain in an area for no obvious reason. To Lag behind. Typically when people remain around, not contributing, they are scoping you out to steal from you. If you have people in your life not taking part in service and not contributing they are probably trying to steal your Word. You come home from worship full of the Word, they’ve been chilling at home and you get home for them to steal your Word by arguing or being toxic.

2. Linger—to continue to live or exist although very close to death. If you have people who are just existing and are in close proximity to death around you they have no problem trying to steal your Word. These people rain the Word out of you. The more you teach the more they take but there’s no return because their “deadness” keeps stealing your “living” word. It’s okay for them to linger if your living is influencing them but if not they need to leave and quit lingering.

3. Lying. Ray Charles said, “Scratch a lie, find a thief.” If a person will lie to you they will steal from you. Don’t have anybody around you that you can’t trust.

Dear God, Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you and that people working for Satan might not steal it. I don’t hide it so they can’t hear it, I hide it so they won’t know how to steal it. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power unto salvation. Guard my heart against thieves in the Temple.

In Jesus Name,


PS: To make sure they don't steal your Word make sure you download the New Direction Christian Church Iphone App where you can hear the Word of God for free at the touch of a button. All my sermons and devotionals are on there. Bless you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Dangers of Being Presumptuous

Numbers 14:44 (New International Version)

44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the high hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp.

pre·sume (pr-zm)
v. pre·sumed, pre·sum·ing, pre·sumes

1. To take for granted as being true in the absence of proof to the contrary: We presumed she was innocent.

2. To constitute reasonable evidence for assuming; appear to prove: A signed hotel bill presumes occupancy of a room.

3. To venture without authority or permission; dare: He presumed to invite himself to dinner.

1. To act overconfidently; take liberties.

2. To take unwarranted advantage of something; go beyond the proper limits: Don't presume on their hospitality.

3. To take for granted that something is true or factual; suppose: That's the new assistant, I presume.

We’ve all been presumptuous before. We have gone forward in areas where we were not authorized to go because God did not give us the green light to proceed. Oftentimes, we abuse grace by preceding and asking God to bless our actions after we have gone forward in activities he never sanctioned. There is a danger of advancing where God is not present and where He has not authorized you to be. There is a danger in moving off of yesterdays anointing into areas that call for a new generation. In our disobedience from yesterday we are presuming a lot from God by trying to take territory that we have not been authorized to take. It could be that we are supposed to be investing in the next generation instead of trying to advance in places God has said you will not see because of your disobedience.

The Israelites had grumbled against Moses, Aaron, Caleb and Joshua because they thought that it would be disastrous to fight against the inhabitants of Canaan even though God already promised that He would give them the land. They wanted to raise up a leader to take them back to Egypt. Whenever we are faced with change and challenge there is always an older contingent that wants to take things back to Egypt. God is never about backward movements, He is always about moving forward in the face of opposition but the key is to move when God moves and in the direction God wants to move. Very seldom does He move backward.

God was so angry that He struck down all the men who spied out the land except Joshua and Caleb. And God told the assembly that everyone 20 years or older who had seen Him work miracles in their deliverance from Egypt would die in the wilderness.

A group of them decided that they would go up into the Hill country to change God’s mind and fight against the Canaanites and the Amelikites. They presumed that if God said He would give us victory before our disobedience then He will give us victory after our disobedience.

There are dangers in being presumptuous.

1. You waste your resources when you are presumptuous. If God didn’t tell you to do it don’t waste your money, your human resources on initiatives God didn’t tell you to do. Don’t use God-talk to sanction your own fleshly initiatives.

2. You forfeit your anointing. Moses warned them God is not going to go with you. That is enough for me. I’m not going if I’m out of His Holy jurisdiction.

3. You will be defeated. Nobody wants to be defeated. The only way I’m fighting if I know that God is going with me.

How do you avoid the dangers of being presumptuous?

1. Listen to your Leader. The people kept grumbling against Moses but what you need to realize is that when you grumble against the leader God has appointed you are really grumbling against God.

2. If God don’t move, don’t you move.

3. Ask God for forgiveness and accept your punishment. It’s hard to accept when God says,”this is it!” When we are continually disobedien...the Israelites had been in contempt 10 times.... God will eventually stop our movement and give it to someone else. We have to know when it’s time to hand it to the next generation.

Dear God, forgive me for my presumptuousness. If I have moved too far bring me back in alignment before I’m exposed because of the lack of coverage. Help me to be in step with Your will so I can get to where you want me to be in your time not mine.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Too Heavy To Bear Alone

Numbers 13:23
When they reached the valley of Eschol they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes, two of them carried it on a pole between them along with some pomegranates and figs.

Sometimes, God will send you into a place that is overflowing, sometimes with milk and honey and the abundance can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, when we think about not being able to bear something alone we think about bad news, but sometimes God can take you to a place where there is so much fruit that you can’t carry it by yourself. I can imagine that the two men that were carrying the clusters of grapes were Joshua and Caleb. They were the only two that came back with a positive report. Everybody else was punked out by the sight of the Giants. Caleb said that we can take the land, the other ten said, “We are like grasshoppers in our own sight and in their sight as well.”

God wants you to take over the land with the help of a spiritual partner because the load is too heavy to carry by yourself. You got to make sure you choose the right partner. I can imagine Joshua and Caleb walking back with that big cluster of grapes speaking into each other. “Man look at all these grapes! Look at how big they are!” They were not focusing on how big the giants were they were focusing on how big the fruit was. It all depends on who you are walking with in how you see your situation.
God does not call us to be timid against our blessings regardless of the size that it may come in. We must face our giants in order to get our giant fruit.

Five things you need to know when you partner up with the right person to go get your fruit:

1. How you see yourself determines how others see you. You have got to see yourself victorious before you can win.

2. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.

3. Don’t let the majority rule your opinion over what God has already spoken in your spirit.

4. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

5. Two are better than one. If one falls down there will be no one there to pick him up.

Dear God,
Help me to choose the right friend to help me go get all this fruit that you have spoken in my life. You have shown me that the land is ours; now show the right partner to go get this fruit. I’m ready to take everything that you have already promised to us.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Share the Load

Numbers 11:17
I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the sprit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.

Ministry can be overwhelming as a leader. Someone once said it’s loneliest at the top. Sometimes, I think they are right. God has allowed New Direction Christian Church to see over 17 thousand people give their life to Christ and come across the stage of the church. Each person that came across had diverse needs, different backgrounds, divergent expectations and every week they are expecting a tailor made word to speak to those specific areas in their lives. You want to be all things to all people but soon realize you can’t; only God can be God. Humans are not omnipresent.

As a leader, you begin to hear the murmurs of unmet needs, disappointment from unrealistic expectations, disdain for spoiled religious appetites, you hear it. Like Moses, I want to complain to God about the complainers but I hold my peace because there is a fundamental difference between Moses and me. He didn’t ask for all these people. I did. Going into ministry initially I never knew anything about mega-ministry. I accepted my call on the backside of nowhere as a nobody just trying to be obedient while being terrified at the ramifications of a call to ministry. Would I have the same friends? Would I be able to do the same things I did before the call? Would my family understand?

After wrapping my mind around my call I set out to do what God told me to do: feed his lambs and go after the lost sheep. After getting a taste of what successful ministry looked like. I believed God anointed me to reach thousands but I didn’t know that they would come with so many needs.

Moses helped deliver some 600K people out of bondage who seemed to have selective retention. They always remembered things to be better in Egypt when it got rough in the desert. The people started complaining about not having meat. They were getting bread but wanted meat. Their complaints were not about sustenance but about substance. When you travel with the same people for a period of time there will always be a craving for more substance. People always want more than what they are getting. It’s human nature.

When people lose sight of the vision it’s easy for them to start focusing on what’s missing in their lives. When you are a leader you can become so inundated with leading the people that you forget the joy of seeing them delivered. Moses told God, I cannot carry all these people by myself. The burden is too heavy for me.
We were not designed to carry the burdens of other people by ourselves. You can’t have a shepherd mindset once God puts you in a mega-situation. A shepherd can watch 200 sheep, know them by name, attend to their every distress but it becomes tricky at 2000. It’s not that you become callous it’s that you become overwhelmed.

The only cure is that you have to empower your other leaders with the same sprit that is on you. Capable leaders of integrity can help you share the load. Moses was instructed to get 70 leaders so that God could take the spirit on Moses and put it on them and they would help him carry the load.

Sunday was awesome at New Direction because other leaders stepped up to do ministry that God had burdened their hearts with. We call them “heart bursts.” I saw something in our young church that I had failed to do. I had failed to share the load. There were people sitting out in the congregation waiting to share the load they just needed to be asked. As a Christian, this is how you can help your pastor share the load:

1. Find out what your spiritual gift is. You can go to and take the spiritual gifts assessment.

2. Use your S.H.A.P.E. to find out where you fit. Got to and print out the S.H.A.P.E. Lenten brochure and follow the weekly devotions for the next 40 days.

3. Purchase your copy of U-Turn to listen to God everyday and journal what he speaks to you in the scripture. Go to to get your copy.

4. Grow as you go. Sign up for a ministry so that you can help share the load in your local church.

Dear God, help me to share the load. Show us how to empower people to minister to your people from their “heart bursts.” I pray they will be successful in meeting the needs of your people so they can get to the Promised Land of purpose. Send me the right leaders so that they can catch my spirit.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Listen For Yourself

Acts 25:22
Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he said, “you will hear him.”

It’s amazing how quick we can condemn another off of hearsay. We get caught up in “tabloid truth,” the “barbershop gospel,” and read the “blog bibles” to put together sketchy accounts of what actually happened. What is most surprising is how educated, mature, Christian people still allow a “mob mentality” to take over their reasoning process when determining the guilt or innocence of a person.

African-Americans are all too painfully familiar with this “Lynch Mob” mentality. In the early 50’s hundreds of blacks were lynched because of speculation of some offense. Emmitt Till a teenager from up North was visiting his family in Mississippi and made the deadly mistake of flirting with a white woman. A group of white men came to his relatives house dragged him out the house threw him in a truck, beat him, murdered him, and threw him in the river with a “cotton gin” barb-wired around his neck. I wonder if they talked to him before they killed him or is all they needed was confirmation of their own insecurities, 'a young black man trying to take what belonged to them?'

How many more innocent people have to die because you chose to assassinate their character on hearsay?

The Apostle Paul was in danger of a “lynch mob” of religious leaders who wanted to ambush him to kill him all because of jealousy. He was preaching about Jesus and large crowds would come to hear him and they got jealous. They were trying to say Paul was heretical in his teaching but the fact was they were jealous and wanted to kill him because this young man was taking away what they were insecure of losing, power.

Paul appealed to a higher court and he asked to go see Caesar because he was a Roman Citizen. God was using his attack as an opportunity to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. The persecution was for a greater good but it was the misguided hate of these haters that propelled Paul to a greater audience.

While he was awaiting trial and departure in Rome, King Agrippa heard about Paul’s case. He heard some good things and some bad things about Paul. He said, “Let me hear him for myself.” Whenever there is a buzz of controversy about someone and there is a mixture of good and bad, do yourself a favor and listen for yourself. You may be missing out on being enlightened because of the hype of insecure people.

Listen for yourself. For example, when you’re watching the ideological chess games of opinions between CNN and Fox News about Pres. Obama learn how to listen for yourself. Read the plans of the President before you get caught up in a Tea Party that is fueled by hate and insecurity.

How do you listen for yourself?

1. Read their books/plans. You can learn a lot about a person by following their train of thought. You may not agree totally but at least give them a read before you lynch them.

2. Listen to their story. There are always two sides to a story...well maybe three. His Story, Her Story, and the Truth.

3. Watch the whole movie, not an edited clip. Look at the totality of their career and life before you take a sound bite to prove your opinion correct. Jeremiah Wright will be known for one sound bite, “GD America!” when he spent his whole life doing ministry, helping people, and fighting for Social Justice. He has been lynched.

4. Listen to their heart. If you were to listen to them in person, the Holy Spirit will let you know if they are who they say they are. Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice and will not listen to a voice of a stranger.”

Dear God, give me the ability to listen for myself and form my own informed truth. We’ve lost some great minds because of “lynch mobs,” Dr. King, Malcolm X, Dietrich Bonheoffer, John F. Kennedy…Don’t let me get caught up in the mob and don’t let me be a victim of the mob but let me discern between truth and hype.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Keep A Clear Conscience

Acts 24:16
Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience toward God and all people.

It is so important to live in such a way that you know you’ve done everything right. There is a peace and a confidence you have when you know you’ve done the right things for the right reasons.

In the old Disney movie, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket tells Pinocchio to let his Conscience be his guide. By saying so, Jiminy Cricket assumes that Pinocchio has a conscience to be led by but as we all know Pinocchio has a lying problem that sabotages his conscience and gets him in a lot of trouble. His inability to let his conscience be his guide takes him away from his Father and gets him in trouble with people.

Before we talk about keeping a clear conscience we need to make sure we understand what a “conscience” is.

Conscience is defined as the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one’s conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong. 2. The part of the superego in psychoanalysis that judges the ethical nature of one’s actions and thoughts and then transmits such determinations to the ego for consideration.

There should be a process daily going on in our minds whereby we are weighing our motives against our actions to see if they line up with what is right according to the will of God.

The two areas where we should have a clear conscience are with:

1. God. When David said in Psalm 51 “I have sinned against you and you alone.” He was talking to God about his adultery and murder. David had sinned against Bathsheba for having sex with her, he sinned against her husband by having sex with his wife and then setting him up for murder, he sinned against Joab for using one of his loyal soldiers to die a needless death to cover up his mess, he sinned against his wives and children by bringing innocent blood upon his future generations. I don’t think he was in denial but he knew that primarily he had not obeyed God. When God is our primary source of morality we know that He is a priority for a clear conscience. Before we hurt anybody else we’ve already hurt God first and foremost.
We keep a clear conscience with God by obeying His commandments.

2. With Hu(man)s. It is secondarily important that we have a clear conscience with people. You want to be able to look every person in the eye and be able to honestly say, “I’ve done right by you.” This dual relationship between divinity and humanity with our conscience was best summarized by Jesus when He said in Matthew 5:23-25 (New International Version)

23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

In other words God is not trying to hear you if you do not have a clear conscience with other people.

Dear God, help me to keep a clear conscience, just as I try to keep good records financially to avoid an audit so also let me keep good spiritual books so that when the Holy Spirit audits my life, He will find everything as it should be. I want to live with a clear conscience that I have not hurt anyone or owe any man anything. Lord, guide me today so that I can keep a clear conscience with you and all those that I encounter.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Obedience Yields Fruit

Leviticus 26:9
I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you.

Many of us are working really hard to make ends meet. Every morning we get up in hopes that our labor will yield the fruit we need to feed our families and pay the bills. we pursue higher education to give us an advantage over others in hopes of leveraging a better job, but often times there is something we neglect that is a crucial factor in our success. It’s our obedience to God’s Word. When we are obedient to the Word of God, we can be certain that His obligation toward our well being will work in concert with our efforts and yield a greater harvest than we could have gotten on our own.

God promised a few things for us when we obey him. He promised some blessings for following, keeping and observing God’s law and commandments.

1. Fertility of the land. Leviticus 26:4 I will send you rain in its season and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. God will allow it to rain in our season and yield growth. In contrast to that, when we are disobedient God will make the sky like iron and the earth like bronze. We will sow seed but not see and see our enemies eat it. Our obedience is what makes us fruitful.

2. Security in the land. Leviticus 26:6 And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid. When we are disobedient, we will lose sleep because our hedge of protection is removed and we will be afraid even when nobody is pursuing us. Obedience gives a security that ADT or Brinks can’t even give.

3. Triumph over our enemies. Leviticus 26:7-8 you will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

4. Prosperous offspring. Leviticus 26:9-10 'I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.

Dear God, thank you for blessing us when our hearts were obedient to your Word. Forgive us for our disobedience as we turn back to you. Please make us fruitful again without cutting us off. We are your people turning back to you; please heal our land and our hearts.

In Jesus Name,


Monday, February 15, 2010

Let God Do It!

Psalm 25:1
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity.

The only thing a man has is his word. You must do what you say you are going to do or else people will come to the conclusion that you are not who you say you are. In the streets, they call it protecting your “Rep” or your reputation. In the movie Malcolm X, based upon the autobiography of Malcolm X, the street-wise hustler and numbers runner Archie never used paper when he made a gambling transaction. He always carried the numbers in his head. Detroit Red, later to become Malcolm X, decided he was going to hustle Archie by telling Archie he was wrong about a number. Archie warned Red if he was trying to hustle him he would kill him. “Don’t mess with my “Rep” all a man has is his Rep.

When you have a reputation you will always have to defend it in the flesh and you will always be paranoid, frustrated, and defensive of people trying to tarnish your reputation but when you have integrity you have the confidence that God will vindicate me!

What does it mean to have integrity?

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. For believers it is keeping the commandments of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. When you have kept God’s Word it’s not up to you to prove yourself innocent, God will do that.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

When you know you’ve done right by God and your motives are pure you can cry out to God when your character is in question. David was under attack by his enemies and even his own people turned against him. At one point, David was being attacked from the outside and the inside. The Philistines didn’t trust him and Saul, his king, was jealous and wanted to kill him. David cried out to God to vindicate him. When you walk in God’s law and your ways are pleasing to Him, you don’t have to fight people to protect your “rep” God will vindicate you while you are under attack. When I looked up the word vindicate, it was so powerful I had to write it down:

1. To clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting arguments or proof. When you walk in integrity you can let ignorant people talk about you knowing that God will show your heart and prove your innocence.

2. To provide justification or support for. When we are believers, we are already justified through the Blood of Jesus. Justification means “just as if I didn’t do it.” David was not perfect but he was a man after God’s own heart. As a friend of mine said, “you are not perfect but you got sense enough to cry out to God when you’ve gotten off track.”

3. To justify or prove the worth of, especially in light of later developments. The old folks said, “it all comes out in the wash,” meaning that your true intentions will come forth after all the dirt of accusation are processed in the water of truth.

4. To defend, maintain or insist on the recognition of one’s rights.

5. To exact revenge or avenge. Revenge is mine, says the Lord. God is our vindicator when we walk in his will.

Dear God, vindicate me from every attack and ever critic that has put their mouth on me. You know my heart and you know my intentions. I will keep my feet on solid ground and await your deliverance. Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Speak and Do Not Be Silent

Acts 18:9-10
One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.

It can be frustrating at times when you’ve been called to preach and you run into resistance over and over again. When people are lying and wishing bad against you sometimes you just want to stop talking. Jeremiah felt it as God’s prophet when other false prophets came against him, city officials came against him, Jeremiah told God, ‘I’m not saying anything else, but when he tried to keep silent God’s Word was like fire shut up in his bones. You can’t shut up when there is fire shut up in your bones!

Paul was no stranger to antagonism in the field of ministry. The Bible says when he was in Corinth the people opposed and reviled him. Paul must have gotten discouraged and disappointed because God shows up with a pep talk, “Do not be afraid but speak and do not be silent.” When God gives you something to say you can’t shut up no matter what the people say I can’t let go. I know in whom I have believed and I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the Power unto salvation!”

This is why I can’t shut up:

1. For I am with you says the Lord. As a messenger of God I have the comfort of knowing that he is with me and greater is he that in me than he that is in the world.

2. No one will lay a hand on you or harm you. The bible says, “touch not my anointed do my prophet no harm.”

3. For there are many in this city who are my people. Greater are those that are with us than are with them. On one occasion, Elisha was surrounded by an Army because he had been revealing the secrets of the enemy king. What he spoke in the bedroom Elisha would tell to the King of Israel. When they came to surround the house of Elisha his servant freaked out. But Elisha said in 2 Kings 6:16-17 (New International Version)

16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Dear God, give me the boldness to speak all the more even in the face of opposition. Let me hear you above everyone else. Stay close to me so I can have the confidence to speak through opposition. I will not shut up or give up until I go up.

In Jesus name,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Unknown God

Acts 17:23
For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “to an Unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown I proclaim to you.

How do you worship that which you do not know? It is amazing how a stadium of screaming teenagers will pledge their unyielding allegiance for some idol that they love. If these teens were to get to know some of these idols they probably would realize that they were in love with an image and really didn’t know the person. Some of the people I have admired from a distance have changed my mind once I got to know them up close and personal.

Could it be that some of us that are in churches shouting every Sunday are in love with an image of an unknown God, but we have failed to really get to know who God is? Could it be that we are more in love with our tradition and have made a god out of our denomination, idolized our pastor, but failed to get to know God?

Our cities are full of idols. There is a smorgasbord of things that people worship and idolize money, sex, power, material goods, etc. Then, there are temples, synagogues, mosques, and churches full of people who are worshipping unknown Gods. Some of these places of worship might as well have a sign that says, “Welcome to the house of the Unknown God” because often we are worshipping what we have failed to get to know.

Paul was in Athens where he was walking through a city full of idols and he discovered a monument to an “unknown god.” Often times people erected monuments to unknown gods just in case they forgot one and they didn’t want to offend any. I think many times we attend our houses of worship to the unknown god just in case there is a God and we don’t want to offend him by not attending. Yes, God is Real but do we know him? The word “Know” implies intimacy. Whenever you see “know” in the Old Testament it implies the sexual union between a husband and a wife. There is a deep connection between a husband and a wife that ought to be reflected between God (the husband) and the church (the bride). Often we worship the idea of God without going deeper into the person of God.

It is only through Jesus, the bridegroom, that we really get to know God. God revealed himself through his Son, Jesus. When we accept Jesus Christ as Savior we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the mind of God, if you want to know what’s on the mind of God, you must have His Spirit. When Jesus was debating with the Samaritan woman at the well about the right place to worship, He told her, “You worship what you do not must worship God in truth and in spirit.”

We know God through:
1. His Word. In verse 23, Paul proclaims the Word of God to the people of Athens. The preached word is the only way we can know more about God. Romans 10:14
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

2. Seeking him. Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

3. Jesus Christ. Luke 10:21

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

Dear God, make yourself known to your people. Give us the ability to proclaim your “unknown-ness’ to those that don’t know you because of their sins. I want to know you more so I can proclaim you to a people that are lost in a city of idols. In you, we move live and have our being. Show us how to find ourselves, our salvation in you.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Dangers of Being Anointed

Leviticus 10:7
You shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting, or you will die, for the anointing oil of the Lord is on you.

One of the most overused terms in the church is the word, “anointed.” When we use the word “anointed’ it is usually used to denote an individual who has extra-ordinary abilities that are directly attributed as being gifted by the Holy Spirit to minister. In other words, they couldn’t do what they do if God didn’t empower them to do it. A lot of times people that are anointed don’t even look like they can do what they do until they do it. It is awesome, rewarding, and a blessing to be used of God but it is also dangerous, draining, and lonely.

There is a price to being anointed. People see you but they just don’t know! There is a different kind of standard for those of us who have been anointed for leadership. If you are anointed, it is never for your personal benefit. You are anointed for the service of God and to God’s people. The anointing is never about you or for you.

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu offered “unholy fire” before the Lord such as he had not commanded them and fire came out from the presence of the Lord and they died before the Lord. They died because they offered “unauthorized fire.” The Hebrew word for “unauthorized fire” is Zar which is used to denote some person or thing found where it should not be. How many times have you been guilty of being anointed and being where you should not be? Ain’t you glad God didn’t kill you? Thank God for grace!

These were Aaron’s sons. They carried them out by their tunics because they didn’t want to defile themselves by touching them. These were relatives, but they couldn’t touch them because it would have messed up their anointing to touch the dead bodies of disobedient relatives. Moses told Aaron and his other sons that they couldn’t even mourn for them. They couldn’t even cry. When you are anointed there are times when you have to serve and you don’t even get to mourn like everybody else because you are anointed. Sometimes, you are serving and you don’t even get to feel it. This example is, of course, before the grace that came as a result of Jesus. In fact, one of the most radical scriptures is, “Jesus wept.” If he being our High priest wept, we can too, but there are times when we can’t. Being anointed ain’t easy.

They couldn’t go outside the Tent of Meeting while they were serving. There are some places you can’t go because the anointing oil is on you. There is a distinction that will not allow you to leave the Tent of Meeting or else you will die. God doesn’t always physically kill us when we compromise our anointing, sometimes he just kills the anointing. When an anointed man or woman of God continues to go outside the Tent of Meeting and do what everybody else is doing inevitably they lose it. You hear people say, “They used to be so anointed.” I heard a preacher tell a story about an old preacher that stayed drunk all the time. It was so bad that the deacons used to have to help him out of the pulpit. This young preacher visited the old preacher and he was drinking alcohol in his study. The old preacher said, “son don’t ever get to a place where the people feel God more than you do (he takes a sip of alcohol pauses and looks up) ….Son I think God done fired me.”

Once again Jesus brought in grace with our being able to leave the tent as his “anointed.” Jesus went to parties and social gatherings with the sole intention of saving souls through relationship evangelism but he was still anointed. Leaving the tent during ministry endangers your life and your anointing so make sure you protect your oil.

Here are three ways to protect your oil:

1. Do not drink when you are coming in to serve. Leviticus 10:9 Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die

2. You are to distinguish between the Holy and the common. Leviticus 10:10 you are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean

3. You are to teach the Bible! Leviticus 10:11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them through Moses.
It’s not easy being anointed that’s why there are only a few. I once heard someone say that at any given time, there are only 10 anointed people in the world. When you start thinking that you are one of them, you no longer continue to be. Stay in the Tent of Meeting.

Dear God, thank you for using me for your service. Please order my steps so that I will not offer “unauthorized fire.” Please help me to be conscience of my distinction and not be places that I shouldn’t. Protect me from myself and use me to be a blessing to people who need to see your Glory. Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to the cross where thou hast died so that I might live.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, February 8, 2010

No Deserters Please!

Acts 15:38 But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work.

One of my mentors told me, “I accept all resignations and never take back anybody that quits on you. If they quit on you once they’ll quit on you again.” It’s so important to make sure you have committed people with you in ministry, in life, and in business especially when you are trying to fulfill your divine purpose for your life. When God gives you a vision 9 times out of 10 it’s not going to be easy. In fact, Jesus made it clear when he said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” The older we get the more discretion we have to use in choosing our team. You have to be able to endure to the end to be a part of this mission. There is no room for deserters.

Paul and Barnabas had a successful mission in Asia Minor preaching the Gospel to Gentiles. Now Paul wanted to go back everywhere they preached the gospel to see what all the new believers were doing. Baranabas wanted to take John Mark, his cousin, with them but JM had quit on them in Pamphylia. Paul saw how shaky JM was in the psat and he didn’t want a repeat. When people show you who they are please believe them!

Two reasons Paul refused to travel again with JM:
1. He deserted them in Pamphylia and went back to Jerusalem. John Mark was not strong enough to endure the trials of preaching in hostile territories and went back to tradition. He wasn't a bad person, he just wasn’t ready for the challenges of ministry. When people desert you in the middle of something it’s hard to bring them back after you’ve been successful and you really shouldn’t unless they can show you proof of their own growth. But in general you shouldn’t bring back deserters.

2. He had not accompanied them in the work. Paul and Barnabbas had accomplished a lot and risked a lot. As a result God blessed them but it was dangerous. Now John Mark wanted to come in after the work had been done. Barnabbas has a big heart and plus it’s his cousin. He wants to give JM a second chance, but Paul is sterner and his thought is ‘he didn’t do the work; he doesn’t get to travel to see the success.’ You always have to discern when it’s time for a second chance and when it’s time to part company I agree with Paul, “If you can’t plow the field you shouldn’t eat the harvest.”

Dear God, give me a good balance of tenderness and toughness. I want to hear you right on the John Mark’s in my life. Please send me leaders who will finish the mission with me. Give me the strength to endure to the end myself. Help us all to endure to the end to finish the race, and fight the good fight of faith so we can hear you say, “well done my good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful over a few things now come on up and I will make you ruler over many things.”

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Unintentional Sin

Psalm 19:12 But who can detect their unintentional sin? Clear me from hidden faults.

Sin is not just when we do wrong but it is also when we fail to do what is right. We spend so much time dodging the big sins of commission like sex, murder, and stealing but we fail to recognize the hidden sins, the sins of omission (stuff we are supposed to do).

We’ve all broken commandments like, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” or Love your neighbor as yourself,” or “pray for your enemies.” Just because we don’t smoke, chew, or screw or talk to others that do, doesn’t mean we are righteous. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.

David asked a good question, “Who can detect their sins of omission or their unintentional sins? Every day there are opportunities to do what God is prompting you to do and we miss it unintentionally by shrugging it off as a suggestion and not a commandment. For example the Holy Sprit prompts you to witness to a co-worker at lunch but you ignore him and keep talking without sharing Jesus, that’s unintentional sin.

The remedy to hidden sin is when David asks God to, ‘clear me from hidden faults.’ In Memphis, TN our city lays on one of the greatest fault lines in the United States. If an Earthquake were to hit it would be devastating. I serve on a team of pastors who are already planning for disaster relief if and when it happens.

What fault lines are underneath your character that you are maybe unaware of right now that could lead to a moral meltdown or an ethical earthquake? You should get a team of people in your life that can help you with hidden faults. God’s Word is the only sure thing that can reveal your hidden faults. David said, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

1. Read the Word of God daily.
2. Get a copy of my book “U-Turn, 12 Step Guide to Spiritual Transformation” from so you can journal daily
3. Ask people you love and trust to show you your hidden faults.
4. Pray to God to reveal them to you.

Dear God, show me my hidden faults. Cast the light of your Word on potential areas in my life that could be disastrous. Forgive me for unintentional sins when I could’ve done good but instead did nothing.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Your Name Keeps Coming Up

Acts 10:4 your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.

When you do well, make a positive impact, do good for the community your name will keep coming up in conversations. Your name is all that you have. A good name is worth far more than silver and gold. Your reputation precedes you. It’s important to invest in your name by consistently doing good by others. Just like a felony stays on your record so do bad decisions stay on your name. When your name comes up in conversation you want to make sure it’s for good not bad.

Cornelius' name kept coming up in the Jewish community because he was a Roman but he was friendly towards the Jews. He was a good dude, or what the folks in the country would call, “good people.” The bible says in Acts 10:2, he was a devout man who feared God with his whole household. He gave alms generously to the people and prayed continuously to God. Alms were monetary gifts to the poor. He wasn’t a Jew but he feared God. He didn’t go to the Temple (church) but he prayed regularly. As a result his name went up higher than local barber shop chatter, his name went up higher than church gossip, and his name went up higher than Capitol Hill. The bible says his name ascended to the throne room of God.

God sent an angel directly to him. The angel was so magnificent, Cornelius stared in Terror. He was able to mutter some words to the angel, “What is it Lord?” The angel said, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God, now send for Peter in Joppa and listen to all he has to say to you.” As a result, Peter went with his servants to the Centurion's house and his whole household spoke in tongues and were baptized in Jesus name.

There are two things that made Cornelius' name come to the attention of God and they will also make your name come up.

1. Prayer. The Bible says that he prayed constantly to God. In order for your prayers to ascend they have to keep coming up. You should pray without ceasing. That means to be consistent throughout the day, to be in an attitude of prayer. It’s the consistency of our prayers that make a trail into heaven.

2. Alms. He gave alms generously. He wasn’t greedy. He wasn’t even Jewish but he gave to the Jewish community. This is what you call storing up your treasures in Heaven. When we give to those least in our community we are really giving to Jesus for he said, “as you do to the least of these you also do unto me.” Only what you do for Christ will last.

When we pray and give consistently our names keep coming up before God.

Dear God, help me to be consistent in my prayers and my giving. I want them to be a memorial or a reminder that I do love you and I’m making a difference with the life you’ve given me.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do You Understand What You Are Reading?

Acts 8:30-31 Philip heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, He asked, “do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”

We are all on a journey of seeking to know more about Life and what it all means. There is an emptiness inside us all that can only be satisfied when we come to know about our Creator and come into fellowship with the true and living God. God reveals himself in many ways. He reveals himself in nature through the intricacies of nature so detailed and marvelous that only a fool would say ‘there is no God.” Romans 1:18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

God reveals himself in other people, through words of prophecy. He reveals himself in visions and dreams. He also reveals himself in His word. It is in God’s word where He gives us instructions and the common thread of salvation runs through the old and New Testament. God wrote the Ten Commandments himself on tablets of stone and inspired others to write the rest. But in order to comprehend the mystery in God’s Word, we need understanding.

The Holy Spirit led Philip to a chariot on a “wilderness road” where he saw an Ethiopian eunuch pulled over in a chariot reading the book of Isaiah. The Eunuch is a picture of you and I, pulled over in a car on the side of a wilderness road. Like the Eunuch we have been cut off and in search of something to make us whole again. The Ethiopian Eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah about a lamb led to the slaughter and Philip asked him, "do you know what you are reading?" How many times have we read scripture but didn’t understand what we read? You can only get understanding when you get under someone in good standing.

Philip had seen Jesus; he knew who the Lamb that had been led to slaughter was. The Ethiopian was willing to get under Philip for further explanation. Philip explained to him who Jesus was and why he came for his salvation. At the end of the story the Eunuch was baptized and accepted Jesus right there on the “wilderness road.”
In my new book U-Turn that comes out today, I help believers on the “wilderness road” made a U-turn toward Spiritual transformation by understanding the Word of God. In my book, I explain the S.T.O.P. method to gain understanding of God’s Word.

Scripture. We need to read God’s Word daily. David said in Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who meditates on God’s Word day and night, he shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water yielding its fruit in its season. In U-turn, I give you scripture to read every day that you are to meditate on and hear how God is speaking to you from the Old and New Testament. If you follow this guide, you will have read through the entire bible in one year. 20 minutes.

Take a Key Scripture. When Philip saw the Eunuch reading about the Lamb that was slaughtered he keyed in on that text to explain to him who Jesus was. When you read chapters of scripture everyday in U-turn, you should ask the Holy Spirit to give you the key scripture. When I read the bible I always highlight key scriptures that speak to my heart. After reading, I key in on one scripture that stuck out more than the others and then start diving deeper into that scripture. 5 minutes.

Operate. When you read the scripture, you need to ask yourself how does this Word relate to where I am in my life right now. What is God saying to me through this Word that I’m reading right now? In addition to Reading U-turn, you need to come to Bible Study this month or tune in at so that I can help you understand what you are reading. In your U-Turn journal, you should write daily how God is speaking to you. 15 minutes.

Pray. After you journal in your U-Turn book everyday you always close out in prayer. Pray specifically on what God revealed to you. Spend some time talking to God about how he is allowing you to make legal U-turns in your life to get off the “Wilderness Road.” 10 minutes.

Dear God, thank you for giving me understanding on my “wilderness road” I’m ready to turn around and give you Glory with my life. Thank you for my brothers and sisters who are ready to get understanding and Make U-Turns today so that their lives can become whole.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Are Your Undergarments Clean?

Exodus 28:41
You shall put them on your brother Aaron and on his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them so that they may serve me as priests.

My grandmother always told me to make sure I had clean undergarments on because "you never know when you could be in a wreck." Grandmother was trying to make sure we wouldn't be embarrassed if we ever had a crisis and the doctors could see what we had on underneath. As believers, we should always make sure we have on clean undergarments before we are in a crisis where everybody can see what we have on underneath.

The Apostle Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:9 that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. It is interesting that in the Old Testament there was a certain tribe set apart as priests who would go in before God to offer sacrifices for the people, but in the New Testament, there is no curtain that separates the people from God and the people. When Jesus was crucified, the curtain that separated the lay people from the Holy of Holies was torn into and Jesus became our High Priest so that we could approach the throne directly and daily. The earth is the Lord’s sanctuary and we through the blood of Jesus are His priests. In the Old Testament, the priests had to be selected from the tribe of Levi in order to be put into service. Today, we also have to go through three stages to be activated for service

1. Anoint them. The anointing process was when Moses poured oil on the head of the priests to symbolize God’s presence. When we say people are “anointed” it’s because we recognize God’s hand, God’s signature on their vocal cords and evidence in the signs and wonders that follow their ministry. Jesus said, “My sheep recognize my voice and they will not hearken to the voice of a stranger. It’s the anointing that makes the difference and when we belong to Jesus His anointing transfers to us, the priesthood of all believers.

2. Ordain them. To ordain means to infer priestly authority. Jesus gave His disciples authority to cast out devils and to heal the sick. We should walk in our spiritual authority. Many times we walk around as if we are powerless to spiritual attack. We fight not against flesh and blood but against dark powers and principalities in high places. Our weapons are not carnal but spiritual for the pulling down of strongholds and taking captive every negative thought. We have authority!

3. Consecrate them. The priest had to wash before they put their priestly garments on. They had to put on special under garments from their hips to their thighs to cover their nakedness when serving. We should consecrate ourselves when coming in to serve. We can’t just walk into service any old kind of way, we need to make sure we are clean inside and out.

We are a royal priesthood and for that reason we should protect our anointing, walking in our authority and cleanse ourselves daily so that God can use us.

Dear God, give me a clean heart so that I can serve you better. Infer your authority over my life so I can represent you correctly. Anoint me afresh so my cup runs over, then I will be able to teach sinners your way even as I stay on the right track. Use me Lord, I’m available to you.

In Jesus Name,