Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Holding You Up?

Psalms 41:12 In My integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.

Sometimes, we prop ourselves up with things that cannot hold us. Titles without character lead to corruption. There must be something on the inside that keeps us so that we will not fall when the weight of success or the trials of temptations come upon us.

King David praised God that his integrity caused God to uphold him. Integrity is who you are when no one is looking. I had dinner with Pastor/Author, Larry Osborne, the other night. he said that all three of his children were grown, graduated from college, and walking with the Lord. I asked him what was the secret to his success of raising such great kids while pastoring a mega church. He said, "They only saw one Dad! I was the same at home as I was in public." That's integrity.

When you have integrity:

1. God upholds you. God will sustain you through the good and the bad when your ways are pleasing to him.

2. God will set you. Promotion doesn't come from men but from God.

3. God will be with you and allow you in his presence forever.

Dear God,

Fill me where I'm empty, build me up where I'm torn down. Uphold me with your sweet Spirit. Whatever you do, don't take your Joy from me.

In Jesus Name,

Haters Are Good for You!

Judges 3:1-2

These are the nations that God left there, using them to test the Israelites who had no experience in the Canaanite wars. He did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience, in the art of war. (Judges 3:1, 2 MSG)

There is a generation of young people who did not grow up during the Civl Rights era. They didn't experience blatant racism, Ku Klux Klan burring crosses in their yards at night, hundreds of black men being lynched, or separate school systems, separate eating facilities for blacks and whites. there is a new generation who are surprised and outraged that a teen-aged black male can be gunned down with a bag of skittles and iced tea while his killer goes free.

Trayvon Martin's murder reminds us that racism still lurks beneath the surface of American life. We did not drive all of it out during the Civil Rights movement. It just went dormant and hid itself in public policy. Racism went dormant and hid itself in propaganda and began to be postulated on Fox News by its prophets Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. Racism went dormant and popped up in Pulpits with conservative Christians praying for the President to die.

Why are all these haters still lingering in what some call a post-racial America? Because we have failed to keep the covenant with God as our parents did. We failed to live out the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We erected his Statue in Washington but buried his dreams and values for an America that was about Equality and not bound by racism. We've forgotten the sacrifices of those black and white who struggled, bled, and died trying to get a new generation to the Promised Land of Equality. we failed to drive the enemies of Equality out and some of these racist demons have dug in their heels. Whether it's the lack of justice in Trayvon being executed by a "wanna-be cop" or the self-hatred manifested in Black on Black crime in the inner cities of America. We have got to deal with the haters and the hatred that is ripping through America.

It's good for us to have to deal with these enemies of Equality. Haters are good for you and I will tell you why:

1. Haters put us to the Test! God left five enemy kings in the promised land to test the Israelites to see if they would keep the covenant he had made with their parents. This Trayvon Martin has awakened a younger generation that never had to march against dogs and fire hoses, to take the streets in search of social justice. This hatred has galvanized young blacks and whites to stand together. It's only a test!

2. Haters teach us to learn from our past. If you don't know your past you are doomed to repeat it. Malcolm X said, "out of all our studies History is our best teacher." Judges 3:1

3. Haters teach us the Art of War, especially for those who don't have any battle experience. Judges 3:2 The Art of War that our young people need to learn is the one taught by Dr. King it is Non-Violent resistance. We fight not against flesh and blood but against dark powers, and principalities in high places. We fight against "white priviledge" and dysfunctional pedagogy that causes blacks to hate other blacks. We fight against failing educational systems and enviornmental racism. We fight against unemployment and lop sided drug laws that fill prisons with black faces while putting money in white hands. We fight against unjust wars and increase our fight against poverty. Our fight is not against white people, brown people, yellow people, or black people. Our fight is against evil that can manifest itself in any color. It's time for us to Unite to fight against the real enemy...Hate.

Dear God,
Thank you for using the stubbornness of my haters to teach me how to fight in the Spirit and to kill them with love. Help us to learn from our history so we will not be doomed to repeat it. Strengthen us to follow you closer and to be more faithful

In Jesus name,

Examine Yourself!

I Corinthians 11:28

A person ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink the cup.

I remember as a little boy taking communion, it was always a special time. Once a month, my church, Cedar Grove Baptist Church would serve, "The Lord's Supper or Sacrament." You had to be baptized and give your life to Christ before you could be eligible to take communion. I was excited to finally be able to take communion. The pastor and deacons gathered stoically behind the mysterious white sheet breaking the flat bread in the silver pan and pouring out the grape juice in the little glass cup. As they distributed the bread and the cup, it was sacredly quiet. It was so quiet you could hear the cracking of the bread in the mouths of the members. Then came the cup, as soon as the Pastor gave his speech, "in like manner Jesus took the cup, blessed it, and said 'this cup represents the blood of the New Covenant shed for the remission of sins, take and drink..." We all drank in unison.

Before the juice could settle in my throat and hit my taste buds an old senile deacon yelled out, "This grape juice is kind of sour!" My cousin laughed so hard that he accidentally spewed out all his juice on his Sunday pants. The Juice had fermented! They didn't examine it before they served it.

Some of us are like that juice, we have expired and we have not examined our spiritual state in a while. Our service has gotten stale. We are bitter because of the lack of blessings. Our love has gone sour. Before we take communion again and fellowship with other believers we might need to examine ourselves to make sure we:

1. Check for Bitterness over our past. When Naomi came back to Bethel she had lost her husband and two sons to famine. She said, "Don't call me Naomi which means pleasant but call me Mara which means bitter." When tragedy strikes our families it's easy to get bitter. We must let God heal us from the inside out.

2. Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness can set up like stagnant water. It can cause us to have a bad taste in our mouths for human interaction. Forgiveness is an ongoing thing that we must do to make sure our cups are clean.

3. Unconfessed Sin. Sin that is allowed to linger in our lives is like corrosion in a pipe. The water is good but the pipes are bad. if we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive us our sins.

4. Pride. Pride is like little worms that infest our spirit until there is no more God just our ego leading toward destruction. Pride comes before the fall. Humble yourself before the Lord.

5. Lust. A man's eyes are the window to his soul. if the eyes are full of darkness then the soul will be also. Make a covenant with your eyes that you will not lust for that which does not belong to you.

6. Hypocrisy. Jesus told the Pharisees that they were good at cleaning the outside of the cup but inside they were like tombs, full of dead men's bones. It was their religious hypocrisy that made them unclean. Their motives were bad.

7. Shame. Guilt and shame left unchecked will cause us to condemn ourselves when Jesus died to set us free through forgiveness of sins. Once God forgives you, you have to forgive yourself.

Dear God,

Thank you for communing with me. Search me, oh God, and if you find any wicked way in me, take it out. Create in me the right spirit. I want you to pour me out as a drink offering that will be a blessing and not bitterness to those that receive your gift of ministry through me. Thank you for using me as a vessel to pour through. Fill my cup with your oil until my cup runs over.

In Jesus Name,

Give Me This Hill!

Give Me this Hill!

Joshua 14:12

Now give me this Hill country that the Lord promised me that day you yourself heard them that the Anakites were thee and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

There is something yet to be fulfilled in your life that the Lord has spoken over you. You are older now and it seemed that this promise has eluded you but yet you still see the promise in front of you. Some where you must muster up the faith to claim what God has already spoken to your spirit. This is your time to go seize what God already showed you. Don’t give up on your dream. Get up out of your bed and go get what God promised to you! Give me this Hill!

Caleb was 85 years old when he came to remind Joshua that he had not received his land yet. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you know God has promised something to you, then you need to go get it. There was a 81 year old black woman who won $365 million dollars in the Powerball lottery in Rhode Island. Now this doesn’t mean you need to go throwing money away on a lottery ticket but it does mean that you’re not too old to win at life. Caleb reminded Joshua that the both of them went together 45 years earlier to spy out the land together and God showed Caleb that every place he set his foot that God would give it to him. The other ten spies were afraid because of the giants they saw in the land but Joshua and Caleb saw the fruit, the abundance, and the possibilities. They told Moses we can take this land!

Forty Five years later, Caleb an old man, tells Joshua, “Now Give me this Hill Country, I’m still as strong today as the day Moses set me out, and I’m ready to go out to battle.” Are you ready to go get your Hill country? This is how you get your hill and recover your promise:

1.Stay in Shape. Caleb was 85 but he was vigorous. You have to make sure you stay fit physically, mentally, and spiritually.

2.Remind yourself and other of the vision for your life. Put a picture up on your wall of what it is that you want. Write your vision and make it plain, then remind people of where you going.

3.Be ready to fight for it. Nothing is going to come easy. God will bring you into the Promised Land but you are going to have to fight for it.

4.Be realistic about the challenges. Caleb said, “I know the Giants are still there and their cities are fortified.’ Survey the challenges so that you know what you are up against but don’t let it stop you.

5.Have faith that God will be with you. Caleb said, “The Lord Helping me.” If God be for you who can be against you?

6.Drive out everything and everybody blocking your promise. Caleb said, “I will drive them out!”

7.Take possession of the Land. You can’t control what you don’t own. Take ownership of your land.

Dear God,

I’m ready to take possession of the Land. I’m ready to go in and fight for what you have for us. I’m strong and I believe that if you help me that I can be successful and fulfill the promise of what you’ve already shown me. This Hill country is mine for the taking. Grant me the strength, the resources, and the power to take possession of the land. I’m excited about the Kingdom possibilities that await me as I go forward to drive out everything that is not like you and establish your Kingdom purposes in this place. Thank you for the favor you have granted me.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Have A Nice Body!

You Have a Nice Body!

I Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? Therefore honor God with your body

People spend a lot of time these days trying to work on their bodies. There are Fitness Centers popping up all over the place to meet the demands of people trying to lose weight to take care of their bodies. Plastic surgeons are making more money than ever because people want the perfect body, cutting away at fat, enhancing what was lacking, lifting what was sagging, replacing what was missing, everybody is trying to take care of their body so they can hear people say, “you have a nice body!”

What’s amazing is before all of these efforts; many people already had nice bodies. I’m not talking about muscles and curves that appeal to the physical senses but I’m talking about how nice their temples are. When we belong to God and have accepted salvation from Jesus Christ, our bodies are transformed into Temples. The Holy Spirit moves in and we truly have nice bodies but when we are sexually reckless we turn something nice into something nasty.

Paul says, “Run from Sexual immorality! All other sins a man/woman commits are outside their body, but those who sin sexually sin against their own body. The very thing so many people are trying to do by getting in shape through exercise and cosmetic surgery is actually working against them when they are sexually disobedient.

How do we honor God with our bodies?

1. Reserve Sex for someone that you are married to.
2. Remain faithful in your marriage.
3. Don’t give into something that you will regret later
4. Don’t let anybody in your body who has not been sanctioned by God to get in
5. Watch what you let in your eye, your eye is the window to your soul.
6. Clean your temple by purging with prayer, praise and worship
7. Eat right, Exercise, and stay away from anything that would be detrimental to
your body’s well being. Flee from Sexual immorality.

Dear God,

Help me to live by your standards of Holiness and not the world’s standards of what is acceptable. All things are permissible in this world but not all things are beneficial to my body or my spirit. Help me to do what’s best for my body and my soul. Give me the mind of Christ so that when my body is saying yes my mind can override it with what’s right and beneficial. God, today, I will honor you with my body.

In Jesus Name,

Get Rid of It!

Get Rid of It!

I Corinthians 5:7

Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.

Yeast are a fungi that have fermented and cause the fermentable sugars present in dough into the gas carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to expand or rise as gas forms pockets or bubbles. When the dough is baked, the yeast dies and the air pockets “set,” giving the baked product a soft texture.

Yeast is good for bread but bad for the body. Jesus took the Bread on Passover and said, “This Bread is my Body.” The Passover Bread was made without Yeast! When we allow yeast into the Body of Christ it causes a yeast infection. Yeast was never meant to be in the Body of Christ. All it takes is a little yeast to mess up the body of Christ.

Paul used yeast as an analogy of malice and wickedness, particularly, Sexual Wickedness. A man in the church was sleeping with his Father’s wife. This caused a spiritual yeast infection in the church. Sin began to rise in the church because nobody put his man in check. It wasn’t so much this one man’s disobedience as it was people in the church knowing about it but not doing anything about it. In fact, Paul said, “They were proud and boasting about it!” It always amazes me how many people already know about something bad going on in an organization before it finally blows up. A lot of scandals could have been avoided if people would have spoken up about yeast infections. Sometimes, we experience unnecessary warfare and defeat because people allow yeast in the body to go untouched. Israel was defeated by the smallest city, AI, because one man kept some devoted things in his house. God made Moses get rid of that man and his family because he caused everybody else to be defeated. When we allow wickedness in the camp to go unchecked it is because:

1. There is no accountability. 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?

2. There is no Correction. 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

3. There is too much bragging about that which we should be ashamed of. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?

4. There is too much corroboration. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

Paul says, “Get Rid of Old yeast so that you can be a New Batch.” What are some things you need to get rid of that are threatening your success? What are some things that can destroy your movement from the inside out? Get Rid of It.

Dear God,

Search me, if you find any yeast in me, in my ministry, in my business, in my relationships, take it out, so that I can rise to the top.

In Jesus Name,


Time Will Tell

I Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

It can be difficult at times to know who is with you and who is not; who is friend and who is foe. A prophet told me, “Even on their best days some people are still working for the devil.” Even still you have to be careful judging people’s motives too soon. If you keep watching them Time will tell.

My 16-year-old son, Omari went to dinner with me last night. He said, “My friend ‘John’ is a social bug, he never meets a stranger but I sit back to see what people are all about first.” That just hit me this morning. God is telling me that I need to become more like my son the older I get. I have to wait before I rush in or out of a relationship because time will tell.

Paul was trying to help the Christians in Corinth with their interpersonal relationships. He cautioned them on being in a hurry in condemning or celebrating people too soon:

1. Judge nothing before the appointed time. You need time to gather all of the evidence and the facts before judgment. In an earlier verse Paul says, “The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. You can’t navigate relationships well if you don’t have reliable and accurate knowledge of what or whom you are dealing with.

2. Wait 'til the Lord comes. There are some things that flesh and blood can’t reveal. Sometimes you need two or three voices of counsel praying with you. As a matter of fact the Old Testament said that you need at least two witnesses before you condemn somebody. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be in the midst.” You need Jesus present to give insight.

3. God will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. Time will tell what the real motives behind every person that is in your life.

4. At that time each will receive his praise from God. If God is in it, it will be blessed, if not it will die.

Dear God,

Show me who’s who in my life. Surround me with the right people and expose the wrong people. Give me the wisdom to gather all the evidence before I pass judgment give me discernment.

In Jesus Name,

I Can't Go Back!

Galatians 5:7 You were running a good race. who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

William McDowell has a song that says, "I can't go back to the way it used to be, before your presence came and changed me." What a powerful song about the determination to live for Jesus. We all reach that place where we have to decide whether we are going forward or backward. Our forward momentum is always threatened by people or things from our past who want to cut in on us and take us back to where God delieverd us from.

The beginning of this year many of us made up our minds that we wouldn't go back to the way things used to be. It's March and some of us are standing still contemplating going back. You can't go back! you were doing so good. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

Paul was talking to the new Christians in Galatia. They were running a good race of faith, believing in Jesus for the first time, only to have some Judiazers cut in on them by demanding they go back to the tradition of circumcision. Paul was angry that these Jewish believers would try to drag these gentile believers backward by trying to keep the law when they were saved by grace. Paul speaking allegorically says, "Don't let them CUT in on you!" Paul was so angry that he said he wished they would castrate themselves for trying to trip of these new Christians by taking them backwards.

You are making great momentum. This is not the time to go backwards. In order to keep going forward these are some of the people you need to avoid:

1. People who are trying to drag you back to tradition. When religious people see you headed in a New Direction they will try to drag you back to where they are comfortable. If you are growing in Christ you shouldn't have to go back to make religious people feel comfortable.

2. Old People trying to get in front of something God is doing new. Beware of old people popping up in a new season. Here you are doing great and growing then they want to cut in. I don't think so! Recognize the timing of when people try to cut in on you.

3. People who are slowing you down. You need to cut off some relationships with people who can't keep up with what God is doing in your life. You need people to run with you not slow you down.

Dear God,

Help me to keep running. I've come too far to turn around now. Give me staying power so I can finish strong! Don't let anything or anybody cut in on me and keep me from obeying the truth. Lord, I'm running trying to make 100, and 99 1/2 won't do! I can't go back.

In Jesus Name,

Leave Something for Them

Leave Something for Them

Deuteronomy 24:19
When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the Alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

God always made provision for the poor. Jesus said, the poor will always be amongst us. With that in mind God and Jesus reminds us that taking care of the poor is a priority for believers. God gives us the ability to be prosperous not just for our own self-preservation but that we might purposely leave something behind for the least of these. Being poor is not a curse but because we live in an imperfect world, where the scales of justice are off balance, often times the poor don’t get their fair share.

KRS One said, “Its hard to get Justice on Stolen Land.” America has a legacy of injustice and perpetuated poverty in our neglect of Justice and our love affair with capitalism. We can break this cycle of poverty by leaving something for them.

Whenever someone harvested a field in the Old Testament they would bind up stalks of grain called sheaves. Inevitably, some of these sheaves would fall out as they were being harvested. God commanded that they not be picked up but instead leave them behind for three groups of poor people:

1. Aliens. God reminded the Israelites that they were once aliens in Egypt and he provided for them. In America, we are challenged to treat “illegal” aliens with respect and compassion. It’s amazing that “illegal” aliens are only illegal when we don’t want to give them rights as citizens but they are not illegal when it comes to doing a dirty work or watching our children. We should take care of aliens because we used to call them immigrants.

2. Fatherless. The Fatherless in the old and New Testament were also called orphans. These were children who lost their father to an early death. Today, they are children from single parent homes. Statistically, children who come from homes without fathers are more likely to get involved with a life of crime. We should make sure that we put our money toward outreach efforts to reach fatherless children. Helping them today will ensure they will help you tomorrow.

3. Widows are women 60 years old or older who don’t have a husband or families to assist them. Women younger than that are considered young enough to work and fend for themselves. I think that we should help single mothers by empowering them to find jobs, attain education, and assist in providing a supportive environment for developing their children through ministry and mentorship. When we fail to empower younger women we set them up for failure. 1 Timothy 5:11-15

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

In helping the least of these we also do unto Jesus. It’s important that when God blesses us with a harvest that we leave some for them.

Dear God,

Help me to be mindful of the poor. There are people around us who are hurting and in need of help. Today, help me to leave something for the people who are coming behind me. Thank you for letting somebody help me when I was in need. Thank you for my harvest and thank you for giving me something to leave for the least of these.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

We Released The Wrong Person

Mark 15:15

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Gov. Haley Barbour was heavily criticized for pardoning nearly 200 prisoners before leaving office which included four murderers. When I first heard it I was alarmed and outraged that he would release murderers but after reading an excellent article in the Huffington post on why he released them, I had to change my paradigm.

Pardons clash with this recent history and cause a kind of philosophical whiplash. They shouldn't. We are also a people who claim to be predominantly Christian and believe in mercy and redemption. Christian or otherwise, most of us extol second chances. With punishments as draconian as ours have become, second chances can literally be the difference between life and death, being an active or absent parent, prosperity or poverty. The pardon power is often the only remedy for those who have been unfairly or excessively punished in the harsh and inflexible sentencing system we have spent 30 years building. Pardons and commutations can correct some of these injustices. They grant forgiveness when, sadly, we forget to be merciful. Our founding fathers included the pardon power in our Constitution for precisely this reason. They bet on us going too far in our zeal to punish and created pardons as a safeguard for those on the receiving end of our excess.

Obviously, Gov. Barbour didn’t do this to please the general population. With over 2.3 million people imprisoned and 60 billion a year spent on imprisoning people, it was not for popularity. Instead, Gov. Barbour believed that these prisoners were truly reformed. Our Lust for punishment has overridden our belief that humans can be redeemed after failing. Could it be that Governor Barbour released the right prisoners but we release the wrong ones? We imprison crack dealers while releasing crooked executives on Wall Street. We imprison poor inner-city teens trying to survive by being in the drug game through our war on drugs but fail to impeach a president who lied about weapons of mass destruction and caused thousands of young people from America to die in a war that wasn’t necessary.

Governor Pilate had the opportunity to release a prisoner for Passover. He wanted to release Jesus because they knew it was out of envy that the Jews had handed Jesus over. Knowing that Jesus was innocent, (his wife had warned him not to condemn him because she had a dream that he was innocent) and he had a good reputation for healing and helping people, the Governor believed the people would make the right decision. Instead the people fell for the propaganda of the conservative priests and chose murderous Barabbas instead of the innocent Jesus.

Gov. Pilate still had a chance to release Jesus because he had the authority to do so but because of political pressure to please the people he punked out and picked Barabbas. How many times have we released the wrong person?

We release the wrong person when:

1. We succumb to peer pressure. Maturity comes when you don’t allow a mob mentality to form your opinion, rather you think critically and make a spirit led decision on the facts.

2. Believe the propaganda. There is so much right and left wing spin on the news that you have to make sure you properly discern what the truth is. Always look at the truth behind the news.

3. Don’t follow wise counsel. Pilate’s Wife told him that Jesus was innocent because of the dream she had. He knew Jesus was innocent but he didn’t listen to the right people.

4. More concerned about status than justice. Pilate wanted to be elected again so he gave into the people. We have to love God more than we love our positions.
People Pleasers. The early apostles said, “It’s more expedient for us to please God than to please men.” We can save ourselves a lot of inner grief when we please God over people.

Dear God,

Help me to hear you above the crowd. Give me the ability to see through propaganda to see truth and when I know the truth, the truth shall set me free.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Watch Out for Opportunist

Mark 4:11

They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

There are people assigned to do nothing more than bring you down. The only reason they are in your life is to look for an opportunity to make money at your expense. The sad thing is that some of them are supposed to be your closest friends, relatives, and even members of your organization/church. This is the risk we run in life. There will always be people who want to get close to you, some who are genuine, and some who will bless you and others who will burn you. You can’t go through life paranoid of being in relationship because you are suspicious of opportunists and miss your opportunity for genuine relationship, but you should be prayerful and discerning.

Jesus had twelve disciples and one of them was an opportunist. Judas ironically enough was responsible for watching the money for Jesus. On one occasion a woman anointed Jesus with a very expensive bottle of perfume worth a year’s wages. Judas complains that the money could have been used for the poor but he was really mad because he wanted to the money for himself. He was stealing money from Jesus. After Jesus taught a lesson on ministry motives and blessed the woman for her sacrificial gift Judas got angry. He left the house to go talk to the Pharisees on how he might betray Jesus for money.

This is the way you can identify an opportunist:

1. Through arguments. Oftentimes, you can see where a person stands just by listening for their heart in the midst of an argument. People argue for what they are passionate about.

2. They only come around when there’s money involved. You got to make sure that the people on your team are there for ministry and not money. People should be compensated for what they do but if all they do is show up for money then they are not effective in ministry.

3. They make deals with your enemies. Delilah pretended to love Samson while she was making deals with the Philistines. Anybody on your team that spends a lot of time talking to your enemies could be an opportunist.

4. They smile in your face but make deals behind yoru back. In the movie “Good Deeds” The main character’s brother kept making deals behind his brother’s back. He finally realized that his brother was sabotaging the business. You don’t make deals behind your brother’s/sister’s back.

5. They betray you with a kiss. Judas told the Pharisees that the one I kiss is Jesus. A kiss is an intimate activity shared between two people who trust one another. Be careful that you are not intimate with opportunist.

6. Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer. Jesus knew who Judas was. He told his disciples that one of them would betray him. It would be the one who dipped his hand in the eating bowl. That’s close! A wise leader knows who is with him and who is against him while still allowing God to work through the opportunist. Judas fulfilled Jesus destiny through his betrayal. God will use your enemies even when they think they are getting over.

7. Release your opportunist. Jesus told Judas, “Friend what you do, do it quickly.” At some point you have to tell your opportunist that you see them and release them to go do what they need to do. It is what it is now go do what you need to do. God is in control.

Dear God,

Help me to discern friend from foe. Let me invest more time with disciples and less time with opportunist.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anybody Can Fall and Everybody Can Get Back Up

Mark 13:2

Do you see all these great buildings? Replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.”

When I was in Israel we toured the Temple in Jerusalem. There were huge stones that littered the pavement just outside the temple area. On the way into the Temple lay these massive stones that were once part of the wall. They lay on the very street where Jesus would have walked into the temple on the Sabbath. No one but Jesus could have imagined that these huge stones could have ever been taken down. One of Jesus disciples were commenting on how beautiful these huge walls were and Jesus said all of these stones will be thrown down. In A.D. 70 the Romans destroyed this beautiful Temple leaving a heap of huge stones that Jesus prophesied about 70 years earlier.

When we look at Great Leaders and Kingdoms we see greatness and we are in awe. We can’t imagine that a person who can lead thousands of people, inspire millions to change their lives, rebuild communities, and change society could ever fall. No one walking the streets of New York prior to 9-11-01 would have ever imagined the two Wolrd Trade Center Tours burning to the ground from terrorist attacks.

Great people like Great buildings are still falling due to terrorist attacks. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. He comes to attack marriages, ministries, business, character, health, and reputation. The devil is an accuser of the brethren and the sisters. He attacks in hopes that he can make another one fall.

We should be careful gloating over the fall of anyone whether it’s a R&B icon fallen to drugs, a politician in a corrupt scandal, or a preacher fallen from grace. Proverbs 24:17 warns us about gloating over other people falling. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles or is overthrown, lest the Lord see it and it be evil in his eyes and displease him, and he turns away his wrath from him {to expend it upon you, the worst offender} Wow! The worst offender is us!? We can actually be worse than the people we see fall! The hypocrisy of our hearts will not allow us to see the worst in our selves while we celebrate the weakness in others. Anybody can fall, but here’s how we avoid a fall:

1. Don’t be cocky. Pride comes before the fall. When we get to the point that nobody can tell us anything is a signal that we are about to fall.
2. Don’t flatter yourself or you will flatten yourself. Psalm 36:2
3. Reject what is wrong. Psalm 36:4 the more we allow wrong to accumulate in our lives it makes us heavier and more prone to fall.
4. Watch yourself closely so you do not slip. Deuteronomy 4:9
5. Don’t make any idols. Deuteronomy 4:23
6. If you fall you can get back up. Deuteronomy 4:23
7. Pray for those who’ve fallen even as you pray that you don’t fall.

Dear God,

How the mighty have fallen! There is only a step between me and them. Don’t let me fall prey to what has entangled them. Give them strength to get back up and please keep us all from falling like them. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Good Is It?

Mark 8:36

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Ambition can take you on a trip, fill your trunk with all kinds of treasure, but not give you enough gas to make it back home. Fame is a beast that only devours even as it looks like you're achieving while dying. So many people go chasing fame and success without being properly grounded in God. Somewhere along the way the emptiness of the soul begins to gnaw at your heart as you look around at the shallowness of relationships and the waste of a life undeveloped only to ask yourself, ‘What good is it?’

Success is not the problem. Having no relationship with Jesus is the issue. Our pursuit of success must never take the place of our pursuit of God. What good is a successful career if you lose your family? What good is an affair if you lose your marriage and your good name? What good is money if you lose yourself? What good is fame if you die from an overdose trying to self-medicate your emptiness? Paul asked what do you have to show for what you are now ashamed of?

Nothing can fill the God-sized hole we have in our hearts but God. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. How do we get it without losing our souls?

1. Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Only what we do for Christ is going to last. So whatever we do we should always ask ourselves, will God get Glory out of this? If he doesn’t we should be doing it. Matthew 6:33

2. Humble yourself and he will exalt you. We have to get low to go higher. Despise not small beginnings. James 4:10

3. Make sure your ways are pleasing to God because he said he would give us the desires of our hearts when our ways are pleasing to him. Psalm 145:19

4. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus. Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man can come to the Father except they come through Jesus. John 14:6

Dear God,

Lead me in the way of abundant life, even if it means I do less and get less. Jesus you are more than enough for me. No fame or fortune, nor riches untold. I’d rather have Jesus than silver and gold. Keep my soul God, keep my soul!

In Jesus name,


The Greatest of All is Love

The Greatest of All is Love

I Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. But the greatest of these is Love.

... Whitney Houston sang, "the Greatest Love of all is easy to achieve, the Greatest Love of all is learning to Love yourself and it lies inside of me." Jesus said, "the Greatest commandment is to Love the Lord your God iwth all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength. The second is just as great to Love your neighbor as you love yourself

The Church, the body of Christ, exists only for three reasons:

1. Worship--Love God More.
2. Discipleship--Love People More.
3. Outreach--Love More People

The Apostle Paul wrote one of his greatest lessons on Love. He basically said we could be gifted out of this world but if we do not have Love we are nothing and our gifts mean nothing. Out of all we have in life there are really only three things that remain:

1. Faith. it is impossible to please God without faith, but if we have faith in God whom we have not seen but hate our brother whom we see everyday what good is our faith.

2. Hope is the ability to anticipate something better during something bad and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his life into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5)

3. Love is the Greatest of these because out of all we do in Life, Love never fails. It always works.

Dear God,

Teach me how to Love my enemies and how to Love my friends. Move me from shallow Love to mature Agape Love. Help me to put childish ways behind me and grow up to the full measure of your Love.

In Jesus Name