Thursday, April 29, 2010

You Hold The Keys

Matthew 16:19
I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Growing up in rural Olmstead, KY I can remember the sound of the building engineer, (back in the day we called them janitors) coming down the hallway of the school. You always knew he was coming because you could hear those keys jingling. There were a million keys on his hip and they went to every closet, door, cabinet, shed in our school. When you heard those keys you knew something was getting ready to be fixed.
We are God's building engineers. We hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. For every door we need to get into there is a key we already have possession of. Prayer is the key and faith unlocks the door. The devil can’t keep us locked up because we hold the keys. We have the authority to open up and lock up. We have the authority to bind and to loose. We have over a million keys to give us full access to the Kingdom of Heaven!

Jesus told his disciples, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom. “ The keys represent his teaching that he has given us and when we spread his teaching it’s like using keys to open up doors that were previously shut. Whatever we bind on earth will be bound in Heaven! Jesus told the disciples based upon our confession of faith he will build his church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against us. We have the keys. We have the authority and power! Nothing can keep us out and nothing is unreachable.

1. Whatever we want to cease we have the authority to bind it, to lock it up and God will back us up in heaven. What we do on earth echoes into eternity. It’s like fixing a leaky pipe. Once we use our turn key to cut off the drip God will cut off the supply if we ask him to. He will cut off Spiritual attack from symptomatic troubles. We bind up demonic attack and foolishness in the name of Jesus! We bind up an attack on our finances and our family in the Name of Jesus!

2. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The power of Life and death is in your tongue, so whatever you decree, open up, God will do as long as it is in alignment with His will. The key has to fit God’s pattern of Holiness or else it ain't going to open up, but if it fits His will God will open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing you will not have room to receive.

You have the Keys! Go open up that door!

Dear Heavenly Father, Loose him/her in the name of Jesus. No weapon formed against him/her will prosper! Bring them out and work it out for their good. We bind up poverty and debt and we loose Life and Life more abundantly. We bind up unemployment and recession and we loose prosperity and economic revitalization. We bind up crime and violence and we loose unity and sustainable urban development. We bind up depression and loose Joy. Thank you for my Keys! I’m ready to go fix what’s broken in my Life!

In Jesus Name!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

They Got To Come Out

Matthew 15:13
Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.

Not long ago I had my yard landscaped and made ready for spring. The grass was cut, lawn sprayed for weeds, trees trimmed, and mulch laid. The yard looked splendid, like a gigantic green blanket bordered with well-trimmed edges accented with flowers and greenery. A couple of weeks later flowers began to bud or at least I thought they were flowers. It was too early to tell. It was hard to distinguish between what was planted by the landscapers and what was actually weeds growing by themselves but after consistent observation I discerned that what I hoped to be flowers were really weeds coming up in my mulch. I kept walking past them hoping the weeds were really some kind of exotic flower but my mind kept telling me, “no those are weeds.” I wanted the yard workers to come back and pull them up but they were so focused on the lawn that they overlooked my mulch, maybe because it was closer to my door. Then God told me they are not going to take notice of the weeds like an owner will. I’ve shown you the weeds now what are you going to do about them?” I said, “God they have got to go!” So I went around my house on a Sunday afternoon and uprooted all the weeds around my house. I wanted somebody else to do what only I could do. Immediately, the balance of beauty returned to the landscape of my home.

Sometimes, it’s hard to discern the flowers from the weeds but through consistent observation they will expose themselves. Jesus was debating with the Pharisees about washing hands before they ate food and Jesus told them its not what goes in a man that defiles him but what comes out of him. It is out of the mouth that the heart speaks. Jesus said, “You can tell who a person is by what comes out of their heart.”

This people honors me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. People can be flowery with their words….”I love you, you are the best thing that ever happened, you are a great pastor/leader, “ but they can be “weedy” in their actions…”betrayal, inconsistency, lying, stealing, adultery.” How do you discern Flowers from Weeds?

1. Pray. As a leader you naturally draw all kinds of people for whatever reason. What’s scary is that you don’t always know who you are getting. People can be one way on paper but another way in reality. David had all kinds of people coming to him when he first became king and this is what he said to them: 1 Chronicles 12:17 (The Message)

16-17 There were also men from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah who joined David in his wilderness fortress. When David went out to meet them, this is what he said: "If you have come in peace and to help me, you are most welcome to join this company; but if you have come to betray me to my enemies, innocent as I am, the God of our ancestors will see through you and bring judgment on you."

2. Listen to their hearts by watching their actions. Matthew 15:19 (Amplified Bible)
19For out of the heart come evil thoughts (reasonings and disputings and designs) such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech.

3. God will expose them and uproot them. Now this one is the hardest to wait on and carry out because you have to be careful how you pull up weeds. Matthew 13:28-30 (Amplified Bible)

28He replied to them, An enemy has done this. The servants said to him, Then do you want us to go and weed them out?
29But he said, No, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it.
30Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, Gather the darnel first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary.

You don’t pull up weeds until the harvest comes, that is, you have to allow them time to mature. After watching them for a couple of years you should know whether they are wheat or weeds. After people have been with you long enough you will know by the Holy Sprit which ones are weeds and which ones are wheat.

When you are sure you have weeds, pull them out or they will throw off the balance of your landscape. Pull people with flowery speech but rotten actions. Pull people with a form of godliness but no power to go with it. Pull people who say they are for you but their actions say they are against you. They got to go!

Dear God, I have some weeds in my garden that I thought were flowers. Now that time has passed it is apparent that these weeds threaten the beauty of what you created. I just can’t set here knowing these are weeds and my neighbor knows I have weeds next to flowers. Lord pull up my weeds so my garden can grow.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Don't Listen to Bad Wind

Matthew 14:30
But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord Save me!”

Psalms 142:6
Give heed to my cry, for I am brought low. Save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.

We often find ourselves making great strides in life only to be knocked off balance by strong winds. Whenever I travel by airplane I am either flying against the wind or flying with the wind pushing me. There is no way around it. We are always going to have wind. You are going to have good wind and bad wind. Good wind is when the wind is at your back and propels your travel. Good wind is people praying for you. Good wind is when people acknowledge your achievements and you build social capital. Good wind is the Holy Spirit in your life. Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit in John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Bad Wind is adversity. Bad wind is accusation without substantiation. Bad wind is sensationalized sound byte driven press who look for anything negative to attack your progress. Bad Wind is people who have nothing going for them so their whole mission in life is to use their breath to slow you down with negativity.

A wise pastor once told me you have to live with the Bad Wind to benefit from the Good Wind, you are either flying against the wind or flying with the wind.

Jesus disciples were in a storm and the bible says, “The wind was against them.” Anytime you are obedient to Jesus and you are trying to get to the other side, the wind will always be against you at some point, but if Jesus is on your side and He sent you, than who can be against you?

The Good News is that when the wind is against you Jesus will come to see about you! In the midst of the storm Peter sees Jesus walking on the water. If this miracle of Jesus showing up in the middle of a windstorm wasn’t enough Peter says to Jesus, “if that’s you call me out there with you.” Jesus says to Peter, “Come on out here!” Peter begins to walk on water; it’s a miracle! He’s making great progress, gong where no man has gone before but then he starts paying attention to the strong winds and stops looking at Jesus. He cries out to Jesus, “Lord save me!”

There comes a time when even the strong get weak. We get tired of the wolves, we get tired of the sensationalized press, and we get tired of haters. David got tired hiding in a cave on his way to becoming king. He was surrounded by haters howling outside for his blood and he says to God, “Give heed to my cry for I am really down right now, save me from “Bad Wind” because the “Head Winds” are too strong for me.” Just when you are at your lowest that’s when Jesus will reach for you. When the winds are too strong remember:

1. Don’t focus on the wind. Especially when you are making great progress the winds objective is to distract you from where you were going. In the midst of the howling remember to listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of your storm. Don’t read negative blogs, newspapers, or news. If people are saying things about you that are not true you don’t have to listen to bad wind or at least focus on it. Keep your mind on Jesus!

2. Keep your eyes on Jesus. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink. Whatever you focus on determines how you will go forward. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

3. Buckle up, it's only turbulence. When you are fighting through winds of resistance you have to make sure you have on the full armor of God found in Ephesians 6:13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.

4. Get to the other side because on your Return Flight the wind will be at your back. You will expend a lot of resources flying against the resources but the good news is that same wind will push you into your destiny once you come back the other way.

Dear God, I’m focusing on you. I know you called me out to do the impossible. I’ve got some wind against me but I know the Holy Spirit (Good Wind) has got my back. I’m keeping my eyes on you and we will get to the other side in spite of the Wind.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 26, 2010

There's Treasure in this Field

Matthew 13:44
The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he had and buys that field.

On Kirk Franklin’s “Sunday’s Best,” Donnie McClurkin and Mary Mary search the world over looking for the next great voice in gospel music. They go through person after person from Nigeria all the way to New Orleans looking for the person with the voice and the “look.” Last night’s episode featured a woman who had been evicted, her personal belongings had been put out on the street in bags and all she had were the clothes on her back with some flip flops auditioning for Sunday’s best. She sang, “This is the day the Lord has made.” When she sang that song hair stood up on the back of my neck and my spirit leaped. Erica of Mary Mary jumped up, her sister Tina threw up her hands, and the often reluctant to give anybody praise, Donny McClurkin couldn’t contain himself. Erica told the woman, “Normally I write the numbers down of people who have the look, I didn’t write your number down because you had on them flip flops with white socks but when you started singing I had to write your number down you are Sunday’s Best!”

Virtually, the woman looked like a lost cause but inside she was a virtuous woman. That woman represents so many of us who are automatically devalued by the opinions of other people because of situations beyond our control but yet they overlook the treasure that is within us. Maybe that’s what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 4: 7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

Oftentimes, we are overlooked because of the way we appear without people noticing the treasure inside. From outward appearance I don’t hold much value, but don’t sleep on me, inside I got Treasure!

Don’t be so quick to write people off or communities off just because they don’t look like they have value, there is treasure in here. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Jesus talks about a man who discovers treasure in a piece of land. He could have taken the treasure and left, but instead, he sold all he had to take possession of the land. When you encounter God you don’t want a piece of it, you want all of it. I never understood Guy's song, “you can have a piece of my love,” If I find something authentically valuable, I don’t want a piece I want all of it. I think we have been too content giving pieces of our treasure away without purchasing the whole field.

When we encounter God there ought to be an exchange of what you have for what is truly valuable.

When we buy the whole field to get the treasure three things take place:

1. It’s a shifting of priority. The discovery of treasure in this field means that there is a chance that there might be more in this field. But in order to obtain the treasure I need to secure the field. what was a passing revelation is now a priority of preoccupation.

2. A shift from small beginnings to cosmic impact. You must be able to see something small and see how it has a greater impact. What treasure in this field is worth you risking everything you got to obtain it. If there is no treasure that will make a cosmic impact don’t waste your time.

3. Wholehearted commitment. Whatever you see value in is what you ought to invest in. Wherever your heart is, is where your treasure is. You should invest where your heart is. Jesus said, “do not store up for yourself treasure on earth…but store up in heaven.” If what you are investing in does not have Kingdom impact then you are wasting your money.

In order to obtain the treasure you have to buy the field. The excuse is that I don’t have the money. The reality is that you do have the money, you just have to modify your lifestyle to get it. We buy what we want to buy. We might have to get rid of some stuff to purchase what is really valuable. In order for my child to go to college I might have to sell my old school car so they can learn. In order to buy my first house I might have to sell my luxury car and get a small economy car from the auction. I might have to stop going out to the club and use that money to go back to school.

Dear God, I’m ready to buy the field. You’ve shown me the treasure now give me the heart to buy this field that other people have overlooked. If they knew the treasure that was in it they never would have passed it up. Thank you God for Jesus for He’s just a jewel that I have found. Now I’m buying the whole field!

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, April 22, 2010

How Are You Going To Treat Them?

I Samuel 24:17
“You are more righteous than I,” he said, “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly.

It’s so easy to be mean to people who are mean to you. Its almost a knee jerk reaction that when people are antagonistic toward you, that you want to strike back. But when God has anointed you, you have a greater respect for the anointing on somebody else.

How can somebody that is anointed treat you bad? If they treat you bad doesn’t that already show you that they are not on God’s side and therefore no longer deserve respect?

Let's look at the story of David and Saul. Saul had been anointed to be the first king over Israel but somewhere along the way he stopped following God’s instruction and God took his spirit off of him and anointed David to be Israel’s next King. Saul lost the Sprit but was still anointed for the position. We never want to be anointed for something that you can no longer feel. You can still be used of God but not enjoy the peace of being connected. David was anointed and connected to God.
Saul was jealous of his armor bearer David, his son in law, his captain of the guard because young David was anointed and even the people wrote a song about how David had killed more Philistines than Saul:

Saul has killed his thousands but David has killed his tens of thousands.”

Saul tried to kill David on several occasions causing David to be on the run living in a cave with his renegade warriors. On one occasion, Saul came into the cave where David was hiding to relieve himself not knowing David was in there. David’s renegades with no connection to the king, said to David, “Here's your chance, God has delivered Saul into your hands.” David took his knife and thought about it.

There have been times when we’ve all thought about it. They’ve treated us bad and we thought about retaliating. They dogged us out and we thought about clicking on them. We thought about going off on them but the Holy Sprit wouldn’t let David kill God’s anointed. Instead, he cut a piece of Saul’s Robe. Even then David was conscience stricken, because he thought about it.

He told the King I am not the man you thought I was. I’m not going to lower myself to your expectations, instead, I’m going to raise my actions to God’s expectations. I had the chance to kill you but I didn’t! You’re God’s anointed even though you don’t act like it. I don’t like what you did to me but I have to respect the position. As a result of David’s Right Action Saul did three things:

1. He was convicted by the contrast. In verse 17, Saul tells David you were more righteous than I because I treated you bad but you treated me good. Let your actions speak for your heart. Do not be overcome with evil but instead overcome evil with good.

2. He blessed David in verse 19. Saul said, “May the lord reward you well for how you treated me today. How you treat them today will determine whether or not you get your blessing. The people who wanted to do you harm will have to bless you when you are righteous.

3. They will have to concede your promotion. In verse 20, Saul told David you will be king over Israel and your hands will establish the kingdom. Saul asks David not to cut off his family when he comes into his kingdom.

Dear God, give me the love and discipline not to retaliate against mean people. Give me the capacity to love my enemies and pray for those who despitefully use me. Increase my anointing to not act out on my anger but to operate in your love.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Am I Going To Heaven?

Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven.

Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

In order to go to heaven we have to die twice. Once we have to die spiritually and be born again then physically when it’s time to depart earth. The first death is by choice the second one God makes sure everyone experiences that and the final destination depends on the first choice.

God creates us all with free will; that is, we have a choice to choose God or live independently from His will for our lives. Life with God through Jesus is abundant but without him life is empty. The illusion is that people who have more really have less and the people who have less really have more. The trick of the enemy is that the path to destruction is broad and easy but the path towards heaven is narrow and hard. It appears that the highway to hell is a lot more appealing because it is broad and easy but there is more Life in God’s narrow entry way then it is on the Devil’s Broadway. The paradox is that there is abundance in narrowness and Joy in struggle.

The only way we can get into heaven is to do God’s will. There is our way of doing things and God’s way of doing things. In order to fulfill a greater purpose with our lives we must give God our lives by doing less of what we want and more of what God wants. We live in a world where we are very narcissistic and this very thing revolves around us, our stomach’s, our desires have become our gods. Until we dethrone our idol gods and let God reign again, we might miss our entry into heaven.

Just because we are used of God doesn’t mean we are getting into heaven. Only those who do the will of God get into Heaven. What is the will of God?

1. Do unto others as you have them to do unto you. When we learn this golden rule of Jesus to treat other people like you want to be treated regardless of how they treat you. When we learn to take the high road when they take the low road. When we learn how to overcome their capacity to be evil with our capacity to do good, that is the will of God.

2. Hear the Word of God and to do it is to do the Will of God. To love Jesus is to keep His commandments. Jesus said some Radical stuff in the gospels, he taught a new paradigm of living. When we live by it we are living out the Will of God.

3. He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

You cannot know Jesus and still do wrong. You will know a tree by the fruit it bears.

Dear God, let me use my free will to do your will. I choose not to do me but to follow you. I choose the narrow way and the stuff I missed out on doesn’t compare to what I have in heaven. Not my will, but your will be done in my life.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 19, 2010

Protect Your Eyes

Matthew 6:22-23 (New International Version)

22"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

There is so much pollen out in the air right now. I find my eyes itching and burning more during this season. As much as I love being outdoors I have to make sure I protect my eyes. Not only pollen but when it comes to viruses like the H1N1 flu virus doctors advise people not to touch their eyes or mouth with unwashed hands because the virus can get in through your eyes.

There are contaminants that can get into your eyes without touch or air. You can simply look at the wrong thing for too long and your body can become infected with darkness. Whatever you look at is what gets inside your spirit. Your eyes are the gate to your heart & soul. You have to protect your eyes:

1. 2 Timothy 2:15 (New King James Version)

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2. Avoid contaminants like horror movies that deal with the occult & pornographic material latent with lust.

3. Philippians 4:8 (King James Version)

8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Whatever you look at is what is going to get in you.

Dear God pull the scales off my eyes and open the curtains of my soul to fill me with the light of your Word. Remove the pollutants of sin and help me to see clearly again.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm Unstoppable

I Samuel 17:37
David said, “The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine. So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you!”

Sir Isaac Newton’s law of motion can be summarized this way:

• An object that is not moving will not move until a force acts upon it.
• An object that is in motion will not change velocity (including stopping) until a force acts upon it.

According to the law of physics, objects will remain in motion, they are unstoppable unless something of equal or greater forces comes against it. If we took this law for face value there would be plenty of times for us to give up on life and just throw in the towel because we’ve all found ourselves time and time again coming into contact with forces stronger and bigger than ourselves. Oftentimes, our momentum has been slowed by resistance, our best intentions have been blocked by impending forces but there is another law at work in the Kingdom. It’s the G-force. The G-force works against the law of physics. The G-force is the God force. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

Jesus told Peter after he confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, in Matthew 16:18 (Amplified Bible)
18And I tell you, you are [a]Peter [Greek, Petros--a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra--a [b]huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the [c]infernal region) shall [d]not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].

As Christians and members of God’s church we are supposed to be unstoppable but because of our flesh and not our faith we get stuck staring at opposing forces out of intimidation. We face what Marty Neumeier calls "Wicked problems." In his book, The Designful Company: How to build a culture of nonstop innovation, Marty says wicked problems are problems so persistent, pervasive or slippery that they seem insoluble.

The church has been set in motion but we face wicked problems like pollution, over-population, dwindling natural resources, global warming, technological warfare, AIDS in Africa, and a lopsided distribution of power that has failed to address massive ignorance or Third World hunger.

These wicked problems have been like giants staring us down daring us to do anything with our diminished church budgets and our limited workers in a bountiful harvest.
The Israelites felt the same way when they faced a wicked problem called Goliath. For 40 days this 10 ft tall Giant intimidated the whole army of Israel. They had come to a standstill. At times, it seems the church has come to stand still intimidated by these giant wicked problems. At times, it seems we have lost our relevance while gangs run our streets, teenage girls get pregnant, Christians get divorced at the same rate as people outside the church and we are just hiding out in our church buildings. The church is one of the most powerful institutions but we have been punked out by wicked problems. We are waiting on a champion of innovation to stand up to Goliath but the key to innovation is that the solution may not appear in a traditional package.

A teenager delivering cheese to the battlefield heard the threats of Goliath and he couldn’t understand why all these highly trained soldiers were sitting around hiding while this Giant talked smack about the living God. Why ain’t nobody doing nothing?!

If we are going to be unstoppable we have got to do what David did:

1. Find out what the problem is. David found out that if he defeated this Giant that his family would be tax exempt and he would get a wife out of it. The Church is tax exempt because we are commissioned Giant killers. We should be working in partnership with the local government to kill local giants.

2. Don’t focus on your haters. David’s brother Eliab put him on blast talking about, “Why are you here? Where did you leave those few sheep?” David ignored his brother and clarified his mission.

3. Don’t let people tell you you’re too young. Saul told David, “you’re just a boy; this Giant has been fighting for years.” In church, we have a tendency to discourage the youth. The future of our churches rest in the innovation and courage of your young people.

4. Rely on your faith. David said, “God rescued me from the paw of the lion and the bear, and I know he will rescue me from the hands of this Giant!” With God all things are possible.

5. Don’t fight new problems with outdated methods. Saul tried to put his armor on David, but David couldn’t walk around in them. It’s amazing the older generation is too afraid to face wicked problems but we want to weigh the younger generation down with our methodology. You can’t reach an Mp3 generation with an 8-track ministry.

6. Be Innovative with what God has gifted you with. Marty Neumeier says the key to finding solutions to wicked problems is the designer's ability to embrace paradox—a willingness to stay in the dragon gap as long as it takes to brave the discomfort of creative tension until the conflicting issues are resolved. David heard the taunts of Goliath and stood there with his sling shot and five smooth stones. What he had normally reserved for self defense against predators he was now going to use against his Giant. That’s innovation!

7. Speak what’s getting ready to happen. David told the Giant you are getting ready to come down. He was like Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes. I’m going to punch him in his stomach, after which I will prevent him from breathing by striking him in his esophagus…David said, “I’m coming over there to cut off your head after I hit you with this rock!”

8. Run to the line of battle. So many times we run away from barking dogs but when God has given you the assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against you than it's time to run towards the barking dog with your best weapon in your hand. Our weapons are not carnal but spiritual for the pulling down of strongholds.

Dear God, give me the courage and faith to be unstoppable. I’m ready to face my wicked problems because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. I’m ready Lord, Let’s Go!

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Heart Matters

I Samuel 16:7
Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for the lord does not see as mortals see, they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

In this vain society in which we live we are obsessed with beauty. Whether it’s the fascination with the thousand dollar weave or the ten thousand dollar breast enhancement or the bulging biceps or killer abs…we are preoccupied with being “beautiful.” We make our first impressions on how people look on the outside. There is nothing wrong with wanting to take care of how you look on the outside. In the world we live in you have to make sure you are presentable, well kept, and beautiful (whatever beautiful is where you live) on the outside in order to make an entry into societies gateway of commerce but what’s going to keep you in once you walk through the door is not what you have on the outside its going to be what you have on the inside!

Many people have failed at business, at marriage, and in relationships in general because they only focus on the outer appearance without ever checking out the heart.
When Samuel the prophet goes to Bethlehem to anoint the new king he’s looking for somebody tall, dark, and handsome. God tells him you are looking at the wrong thing. If an Old Testament Prophet can get it wrong what about a post-modern pilgrim like ourselves? We go looking for body measurements, height, weight, and marry somebody for their looks and are miserable because of their heart. Anita Baker said it best, “you can’t do right because you are the wrong man.”

Out of the eight sons of Jesse, David was chosen. The bible says in verse 12 “he was ruddy (healthy looking), and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome but the most telling part of about David was his character traits as described by a young man to King Saul. Saul was looking for an Armor-Bearer to play a harp to help him when he was tormented by an evil spirit. Here’s how the young man describes David’s Heart and this is what you ought to be looking for instead of just outward appearance:

1. He was skillful in playing. Good looks don’t pay the bills. What skills does the person have?

2. A man of valor. David had courage and was fearless. He fought a bear, lion, and even a giant. You got to make sure that the person closest to you is brave and courageous.

3. A warrior. David knew how to fight. Not just with his fists but with his mind. David was strategic in his fighting ability. You need somebody who knows how to do warfare. We do not fight against flesh and blood but against dark powers and principalities. Our weapons are not carnal but spiritual for the pulling down of strongholds and taking captive every negative thought. They have to know how to fight in the spirit.

4. Prudent in speech. David didn’t waste words. He was cautious in his speech. Some people talk too much and others are too quiet; David had a good balance in how he communicated. You can’t work for the King and not know how to speak.

5. A man of good presence. David knew how to carry himself. When you are an armor bearer you don’t come in to disrupt you come in to bring peace. The king was tormented he needed somebody that brought peace not drama.

6. God is with him. You want somebody who has some oil on them. Jesus said you will know a tree by the fruit it bears.

Dear God, help me to develop my inside as much as I do my outside. 1 Timothy 4:8
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. Lord make me over from the inside out.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Can You Follow The Leader?

I Samuel 14:7
His armor bearer said to him, “Do all that your mind inclines to. I am with you; as your mind is, so is mine.”

Who are those guys following the pastor? Why does he need all of those armor bearers? Is he really that important? Somewhere around the late 90’s many charismatic churches began to use the biblical understanding of armor bearers in serving with their pastoral leasers. Terry Nance in his book, “God’s Armor-bearer," talks about how important it is in serving, protecting, and standing beside the leader of God. The armor-bearer is more than a glorified flunky. He or she is a prayer warrior, security, organizer, and supporter of vision. With the demands and threats that come along with ministry in post-modern times it is essential to have someone designated to help cover the Leader God has sent. Recently someone that didn’t agree with a book I wrote put my family at risk by listing my home address, threatening my life, and made disparaging comments about my wife. It’s these kinds of direct threats that the average person never sees that affect leaders in any profession and increases the need for “armor-bearers.”

Even though the function of armor-bearer is limited to a select few the Spirit of armor-bearer should be present with all who serve with their leader. Jonathan was the son of King Saul he was a prince and a warrior. On one occasion, the Israelites were being overwhelmed by the Philistines, their enemy. The soldiers of Israel had been defeated, depressed, and many of them deserted. They dwindled down to 600 men fighting against thousands. Jonathan saw the hopes of Israel being decimated and he decided it was time to act. He looked at his armor-bearer and said “Let's you and I go up against the Philistines, because God is able to save by many or by few”

The armor-bearer could have said:
1. You crazy! This is a suicide mission.
2. Have you thought this through? We don’t have the resources to fight this war.
3. I’m leaving.

Instead the armor-bearer said:
1. Do all that your mind inclines to. How much easier it would be if leaders had armor bearers and not antagonists. When you are a leader and you hear from God you want people to trust that you hear from God. That doesn’t mean you are a “yes” man or woman but when the God in you sees the God in your leader you should say, "Yes!" Do all that your mind can envision I’m with you.

2. I am with you. Once the disciples of Jesus got upset because there were outsiders baptizing and casting out demons in Jesus name. Jesus said, “If they are not against us they are with us.” Sometimes, it is the people with us that are the most against us. Sometimes, the pull leaders feel is not coming from the outside but it’s in the house. We don’t have any Joe Wilson’s standing up in the house screaming, “Pastor you Lie!” but when you are not with your leader they feel the pull.

3. As your mind is so is mine. When you are close to someone you tend to think alike. How can two walk together unless they agree? You should be in tune with your leader. You can always tell when you are losing connection with your leader. When you do things they would not have done or you constantly disagree. When you can no longer agree with leadership then it is time for you to leave. In order to effectively follow you must have the same mind. For us to follow Christ we must have the mind of Christ.

When the armor-bearer followed his leader into an impossible mission God gave them a supernatural victory. Are you following your leader or fighting against your leader?

Dear God, help me to be an effective armor bearer whether it’s my President or my pastor, my boss or my spouse. Somebody needs my support to defeat an enemy that is threatening the Kingdom. Give me the courage, humility, and loyalty needed to follow my leader.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Can't Get Rid of It

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (New International Version)
8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Oftentimes when we think of people who are successful in life or in ministry we think of people who are anointed and they never experience any kind of setbacks. Quite the contrary; those whom God uses sometimes go through more than those who are not. There is a lot that comes along with being used by God.

Sometimes it can be frustrating being a believer when you do what you think is right only to be rewarded with hard times. When we experience persecution, heartache, and heartbreak it isn’t that God doesn’t love us but its God’s way of keeping us close to him so that we will not get puffed up.

Paul was talking about how God had revealed so much to him but then in 12:7 he says, ‘to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh…I asked God to remove it three times.’

Can you think of something that is nagging you right now that constantly irritates you in the midst of all of the good that is going on in your life? You prayed about it but it’s still there. It’s there to keep you close to God and you might have to deal with it for life. Now this flies in the face of deliverance where you come to the altar pray something away and it’s gone. That can happen but there are some “thorns” that will be with you for life. You can be saved, used by God, but still have a thorn.

I was watching the BET Gospel awards, highlights from the last ten years and one of my favorite singers from the year 2004, Tonex, was singing ‘Make me Over.’ He cried out passionately, “I don’t want It, I’m trying to sing IT out of me, Lord I don’t want IT, Lord make me over.” That was a great year for Tonex; he was married, put out the best album of his Life, “Out the Box.” I even remember him coming to New Direction for his Album Release with his wife, he sang so powerfully and told me, “Man, I got to come back here because the oil is on this house.” But not long after 2004 it seems like “IT” overwhelmed Tonex.

We all have an “It” that we ask God to take away but we wrestle with “It” constantly and God’s response is, “My Grace is sufficient, when you are weak I am strong.” There is strength in my weakness. My “IT “has me crying out to God to remind; me that I have this gift in a jar of clay. God’s power is seen better in me when I am wrestling with my “It.” If “IT” were gone I might start taking more credit for my achievement than I should.

How do I deal with my It?

1. Keep praying about IT. Prayer keeps a firm grip on your IT and God keeps a firm grip on you. Even Jesus had to pray about his IT . He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father I would that this cup would pass from me, I don’t want IT but nevertheless not my will but thine will be done.”

2. Don’t give into IT. When Cain was wrestling with his IT God warned him that Sin is crouching at your door like a lion and IT wants to devour you but if you do what is right IT won't get you. Cain gave into IT and killed his brother. Do what’s right and don’t give into IT.

3. Keep working through IT. Salvation is a process . You didn’t get this overnight and you can’t get rid of IT over night.

4. Talk about IT with your counselor. When you expose IT to the light it can’t continue to breed in the darkness.

5. Don’t worry about IT. When you are more focused on ministry and less about IT the significance of IT fades.

6. Put the word on IT. David said, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not do IT.”

7. Celebrate IT! Had IT not been for the Lord who was on my side I never would have gotten through IT!

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I am content with my weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak then I am strong.

Dear God, give me strength over my “IT” Don’t let me lose sight of you over my “IT” Hold on to me when “IT” tries to hinder me. Fill me with more of you so IT remains a thorn and not a limb. Use me as you see fit but don’t let “IT” defeat me. You get all the Glory for when I’m weak you are strong.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Finish What You Started

2 Corinthians 8:11
Now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.

It’s so easy to quit when you are in the middle of something especially when the fire of your initial enthusiasm has died down to a flicker. We’ve all had projects, assignments, and commitments we began with great zeal only to run out of gas because we grew tired or lost our emotional buzz but if we are to ever accomplish anything great we have to finish what we started.

The Apostle Paul is challenging the church in Corinth to come through on their promise to give an offering for the Poor in Jerusalem. When he initially shared with them the need of the poor everyone was fired up but as time went on they retreated back into their narcissistic shells and left the poor people in Jerusalem hanging.

It’s kind of like Americans who get fired up and compassionate about human tragedies like Haiti but when the cameras are turned off and CNN is off to the next thing the Haitians are still sleeping in tents and we have become numb to another unfinished project. We must finish what we started with follow mission trips, helping to rebuild the infrastructure, and empowering the people of Haiti through our generosity. We’ve got to finish what we started.

On a smaller scale how many personal projects have we left undone because we lost our eagerness? We have got to learn how to finish what we started.

1. Act your way into a feeling. When we are in church it is so easy to get emotional when a vision is shared. People are excited and pledge to give money, or to sign up for a ministry or to be consistent with their worship attendance but when they get out of the church the routine of life meets them on Monday and the feeling they had in church is gone. You can’t rely on feelings. Once you have made a commitment you have to follow up even if the feelings aren’t present. Once you go through with the act the feelings will soon follow. As long as the act is not a performance but an action toward a noble commitment.

2. Set a time to finish. If we do not set a goal some projects can go on to infinitum. Give yourself a deadline so that you will not continue on with something that needs to be finished.

3. Fight through mendacity. Mendacity is the state of being untrue. Quit lying to yourself that you are going to get to something when you have made no initiative to do so. Procrastination is the cousin of a lie. You are lying to yourself by continuing to put off for what you need to finish.

4. Don’t rush success. Often times when we don’t have an immediate return on our effort we are ready to give up. I believe it was Earnest and Julio that said, “you can’t rush good wine, it takes time.”

5. Fulfill your commitment. There is a sense of fulfillment when you finish what you started. Whether it’s turning in a paper on time or completing a tour of duty, nothing feels better than knowing I did what I said I was going to do. When it boils down to it all you have is your name, people judge you by watching to see if you are gong to do what you say you are going to do. The bible says Samuel was a trustworthy prophet because “none of his words fell to the ground.” Don’t let your words fall to the ground by failing to finish what you started.

Dear God, give me the fortitude to finish what I started. I want to quit sometimes when the road gets rough and the hills get hard to climb but if you give me the strength to climb then I can make it to the top. I’m going to finish what I started, starting today.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good Grief

2 Corinthians 7:10 (New International Version)
10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (Amplified Bible)
10For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].

2 Corinthians 7:10 (The Message)
10Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets; end up on a deathbed of regrets.

Is Charlie Brown's "good grief!" an exclamation of fundamental angst? Does Linus' blanket have a deep symbolic meaning? Such questions may sound like ways to take the fun out of Charles Schulz's famous comic strip Peanuts. But Robert L. Short, 32, a graduate student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, argues not only amusingly but also convincingly that Peanuts indeed has intentional theological significance.

Charlie Brown always seemed to be depressed and getting empty advice from Lucy that he had to pay to get. Often times his best advice came from his closest friends, those who told him the truth out of love. There is such a thing as good grief not just for Charlie Brown but also for us.

When we think of grief we don’t think of it as being good, because grief usually accompanies death, but there is such a thing as good grief. Grief is the realization of a loss of something. When we feel a loss of something we go through the grieving process. In fact, there are seven stages of grief:

1. Shock. This is the body/mind's way of saving you from the devastating pain of the loss, at least initially. It is a blessing at best, but at worst can become a long-term numbness to feelings that resembles a sort of living death. It will pass naturally as long as the other stages of grief are honored.

2. Denial. This is your mind's attempt to protect you from the reality of the loss. You may lie to yourself and think about the person as if they were still alive. A certain period of denial is normal but if prolonged, it can keep you stuck and prevent resolution. There are many forms of denial, as varied as people are different from each other.

3. Anger. When you lose someone you love, it is natural to be angry for a period of time. You may be angry with the person for leaving you, angry with yourself for what you did not do to save them or angry with God for taking them away. You may just be angry at the unfairness and injustice of life. Healthy anger management techniques may be essential here.

4. Guilt. There seems to be a human tendency to blame yourself when something happens to a loved one. In loving someone, you automatically take some degree of responsibility for her or his welfare. It is only natural to question yourself for a period of time after your loved ones die. This is a normal part of the grief stages, but it is extremely important that you move through it and don't get stuck in this stage. Use these healthy grieving techniques to help you through this stage.

5. Pain And Sorrow. These feelings often exist throughout all 7 stages of grief, and are the core feelings of grief. In the early stages, however, you are often distracted from your sorrow by denial, anger, guilt and the resulting confusion.

6. Release And Resolution. This stage of grief process is accompanied by a sense of acceptance of the reality of the loss, a sense of letting go. There may also be a degree of forgiveness that occurs in this phase.

7. Return To the Willingness To Love. This is the final stage of the grieving process. Healing has occurred, and the grieving person is able to laugh again and to get involved in life.

Paul talked about writing a sorrowful letter to the church in Corinth about some internal issues. He had to tell them about themselves. Whenever you share truth a lot of times people are not going to like it. Paul says, “Even if I made you sorry in my letter I do not regret it because I see that it grieved you.” This was good grief.

The reason it was good grief was that it led them to do something about what they were doing wrong. When you are a leader you have to be willing to live with good grief. People are not going to like you at times and stretches because you have to write sorrowful letters, but it is good grief if:

1. It produces repentance. If people turn from bad behavior to good behavior.

2. Leads to salvation. If people are saved from destruction then the grief is good.

3. Brings no regrets. Saving a person’s life soon makes people forget the pain they initially went through.

Bad Grief on the on the other hand is when:

1. People ignore the truth and turn away from God.

2. They internalize their anger instead of dealing with the truth that was shared.

3. Their grief over their perceived loss causes them to walk away from life and into death.

Dear God, help me to write letters and speak words that get people to experience good grief. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you and cause good grief in those I love so that they can experience salvation through repentance.

In Jesus Name,


Mismatched Mates

2 Corinthians 6:14

Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?

Two of these things belong together one of these things is not the same.

"One of These Things" was a song written by Joe Raposo, Jon Stone and Bruce Hart and regularly used on Sesame Street for sketches where viewers would be shown a group of four items, one of which was different from the other three, and they would have to identify the item which didn't belong. This song taught children how to put things that matched together.

It’s not uncommon for a child to come walking down the stairs with mismatched socks because they don’t take the time to notice that these two don’t go together. Children don’t care that they match as long as they are comfortable and provide some appearance of covering. Children don’t care that what they have doesn’t match because they are more concerned about going out to play than they are about the fact that what I have on doesn’t go together. They are not mature enough to know that these two things, this outfit, was never supposed to go together. A child walking down the stairs mismatched is not as tragic as a grown person walking down the aisle of the church getting married and they are mismatched. It’s not as tragic as two people going into business together mismatched.

How do you know if two things go together?
1. Do the patterns match? When you hold up two things that you are about to put on you have to study the patterns. We don’t hold up the two things long enough to discover any patterns. Is their behavior consistent with who they say they are. Have I been with them long enough to see if the patterns are consistent.

2. Make sure you get dressed in the light. If you get dressed in the dark chances are you will come out with something not matching. All dress socks look black in the dark but when you come out in the light you discover that one is really brown.

3. Do they fit together? When they are in a bundle all socks look like they can fit together but when you hold them side by side you will discover that although they look alike they don’t fit.

4. Is one dirtier than the other? If you have a dingy sock with a icy white sock that is not a good look. That dingy sock was the sock you wore outside while the icy white is the one you wore with your new shoes. You can’t mix what’s been overused with what’s been reserved.

5. Is one Holier than the other? You can have two socks that look like they are the same but one may have more holes than the other. Do not be unequally yoked. Make sure you are on the same spiritual level.

6. Are they made from the same material? You can’t wear linen and corduroy. They are meant for two different seasons.

7. Do they have the same function? I can’t stand to see an older man with a jogging suit on with Sunday shoes. They don’t match. One is for working out and one is for worship. It’s the same with people, one is a worshipper and the other one is always trying to run away.

As Christians, we are supposed to be matched with other believers. Whenever I discover a mismatch on Facebook, that is people who hate God, I quickly delete them because we have nothing in common. If a person does not believe that God exists nothing else matters. The bible says, choose this day who you will serve, whether God or Satan, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Dear God, help me to choose carefully my friends. Eveybody can’t match up with me and if it don’t fit I’m not going to force it. We can’t choose your relatives but we can choose our friends.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back Then You Didn't Want Me

Judges 11:7
Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?

It’s amazing how people can write us off as insignificant when we don’t fit their “cookie cutter” paradigm of what is acceptable. If we are not careful we can get caught up in the opinions of other people and miss our date with destiny. If we are not careful we can allow the situation we are born into to affect the way we see our future.

Jepthah was a mighty warrior, the son of a Gilead and a Prostitute. His Kinsmen drove him away because they didn’t want him to have a share in the inheritance. What they didn’t know was that this “driving him” away was actually driving him into his destiny. He went and surrounded himself with adventurers. Sometimes, the worst things that happen to us are really the best things that can happen to us. Jephthah learned how to fight even better because he was now surrounded by adventurers. People who thought outside the box were now his friends. People not limited by tradition were now his friends. People who were not afraid to fight were now his friends. Sometimes getting out or being driven out from your “Kin” is the best thing that could have ever happened!

When the enemy came upon the people of Gilead the citizens came running to Jepthah for help. Jepthah reminded them of how much they hated him but now they run to him for help in times of trouble, which goes to show that people that hate you still admire you. I think it was Rev. Run who said, “Haters are really secret admirers.”

Why else would they have come to this warrior whose mama was a prostitute? Why would they come to a man they had driven away? Because they knew but hated to admit this man had skills. Like the father in the movie “Taken” he had acquired a certain set of skills that made him the best in warfare. You hate me but you need me. When you are driven out your best revenge is to keep on getting better. Back then they didn’t want you but now that you Hot they all on you!

When the time comes in your life for your haters to admit they need you and it is coming, you must be “Kingdom Minded.” Jepthah didn’t like the people who drove him out but when he saw the Kingdom needed his help, he stepped up in spite of his personal feelings. The needs of the Kingdom supersede any personal feelings I might have. This ain't personal this is Kingdom.

Dear God, help me to be bigger than my haters. There are more pressing needs in the Kingdom and I can’t let personal grievances get in the way. Use my gifts you gave me in the wilderness to help deliver the oppressed, set the captives free, give sight to the blind and proclaim that this is the year of the Lord’s favor. Deliver the kingdom and bless my haters.

In Jesus Name,