Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Love Hateful People

I John 3:18-20

Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue but withactions and truth

Love is not a noun it’s a verb. It only works when we put it into action and most times it's needed when we don’t feel like giving it.

During the fight for Civil Rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and so many courageous people marched against the evils of racism and faced so many hateful people. Dr. King reminded the people marching with him that, “We must overcome their capacity for evil with our capacity to do good.” That capacity was filled and fueled by Love.

There are times when your heart doesn’t want to cooperate with the action of love because we go into protection mode. When you feel attacked the heart’s natural reaction is to fight or take flight but God’s solution is to Love. How do you love hateful people?

1. With actions and truth. Our practice of love is different than our proclamation of love. You can say you love people all day but it doesn’t mean anything until you put it into practice. Love is not always some warm and fuzzy feeling but it’s the hard work of doing right by people when they are doing wrong by you.

2. Our hearts must rest in God’s presence. When our hearts condemn us, that is they will not cooperate with what we know is right, we must bring our hateful hearts and let them rest in the presence of God. Many times we have to love hateful people with God’s love not ours. We can only get that transference by being in his presence through prayer and worship.

3. God is greater than our hearts. His will overrides our need to hold onto hate. Love will not allow you to keep records of wrongdoing.

Dear God,

Give me the strength to Love even when it’s difficult to do so. Take my heart and repair it and use it to Love the unlovable. I thank you that you loved me so much that you sent Jesus after me when I was a hateful mess. Now my heart is filled with gratitude knowing you didn’t have to let Jesus die for me but I’m so glad He loved me first.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's Not Time for You to Die!

Psalm 118:17

I will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done

People are under an extreme amount of pressure these days. More and more young people are turning to suicide as an option to their stress. Just the other day, Lee Thompson Young, lead actor of Disney’s “Jett Jackson” took his own life at the tender age of 29. On the verge of coming into his 30’s, he hadn’t really lived his best life yet. What would make such a promising young man give up on life?

What makes us feel like life is over? What could cause us to think that God is finished with us? Jesus said, “I have come to give you Life and Life more abundantly.” There is nothing so devastating that God can’t see us through.

Under siege, despised for telling the truth, uncertain about the future of his country, Jeremiah the prophet writes a bold declaration in the middle of devastation; I will live and not die! When we are plagued with uncertainty and we feel like we are under siege with negativity, we cannot give into negative thoughts. We must fight back with the confidence that God is not finished with us.

It’s not time to die but it’s time to:

1. Take Captive every negative thought. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
2. Count it all Joy! Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
3. Tell everybody how we made it over. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11 NLT

Dear God,

Thank you for sparing my life and giving me something to live for. Although there were times that I was chastened severely you did not give up on me or give me over to death. I will not give up on you or life because you did not give on me.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Have You Claimed Your Baggage?

Claim Check

I John 1:6
If we claim to have fellowship with Jesus yet, walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by truth.

Claim Check is a numbered receipt given to a passenger for claiming his or her baggage at the destination.

As we travel through life, we must choose our mode of transportation. Some choose to fly; others take the highway, others use the train. Regardless of what you choose, you must make a decision of how you get to where you are trying to go and at your destination you are allowed to get your bags and your bags only. When you travel out of the country it becomes even more challenging to retrieve your bags from customs because the agent will make sure your claim check matches your bags before you exit to your final destination.
For those of us who claim to have been traveling with Jesus on this “tedious journey,” our receipt must match our baggage. What we claim must match what we have in our possession.

There are three things that we might need to claim

1. If we claim to have relationship with Jesus but we have no evidence of walking with him….we lie. John said, “If we walk in darkness but have a claim check that says we rode in with Jesus we lie. Walking implies lifestyle. If your lifestyle is not in alignment with God’s word we will not be able to claim anything at the end of our journey. Jesus will be the customs agent in heaven and if what we have received doesn’t match what we gave him then he will say, "Depart from me, I don’t know you."
2. If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves,and the truth is not in us. “but if we sin doesn’t that disqualify us anyway?” There is a difference between missing the mark and not trying to hit it at all. We all fall short, we sin by accident and on purpose but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
3. If we claim we have not sinned ever we make him out to be a liar, and his word has no place in our lives. In other words, we deny that sin even exists then it is evident we have not experienced God at all because his light would have exposed our condition. God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.
Dear God,

Check my baggage, please inspect what I’m carrying so that it will not stop me from making my connection nor delay my destiny. If you find anything not like you please take it out. Forgive me of my sins and help me to consistently walk in the light.

In Jesus Name,


Monday, August 12, 2013

How Do I Build Endurance

Jeremiah 12:5
If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?

My son Jordan wants to try out for the wrestling team and decided he would run the neighborhood to get into shape. I told him that running the neighborhood twice would be equivalent to 3 miles. He put on his sneakers, ear plugs, iPod and set out for his run. I looked out the window 15 minutes later and he was sitting at the end of our driveway. 5 minutes later he came in the house. He smiled and said, ‘How do you build up endurance?” I said, “By continuing to run even when you are hurting or don’t feel like it.”
My son thought he was just going to go out and run 3 miles the first time out. I admire his ambition but like many of us he wanted to run with the horses but had not mastered running with men.
The race is not given to the swift or to the strong but to those who endure to the end.
How do you build up our endurance?
  1. Learn how to suffer. Romans 5:3-4 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. If we learn how to make it through our sufferings then we can move to the next step of spiritual growth and conditioning of the soul. Often times in conditioning there is a saying, “No pain no gain,” meaning that pain is part of the process of getting stronger.
  2.  Lay aside every weight we have to get rid of everything that will get in the way of us getting stronger. Hebrews 12:. 1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God...
  3. 3. Disciplining my body to make it obedient to my goals. When you are training it is often times a battle of your mind over your body.  You have got to win that fight.

    1 Corinthians 9:26-27
26-27 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
Dear God,

Help me to finish the race and fight the good fight of faith. Give me the ability to endure suffering like a good soldier so that I can compete at a high level and give you Glory in the way that I live my life. All I want to do is hear you say well done.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Right Time

John 7:6
The right time for me has not yet come, for you any time isright

Don’t let anybody rush you into anything that is not ready for you. Notice that I didn’t say,“That you are ready for.” It’s not about what we are ready for but its moreabout what God has ready for us. We must be in tune with God to know what time it is.

Jesus’ brothers were trying to push him into a public popularity contest but Jesus was like Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Jesus was on God’s time. He told his brothers, who didn’t really believe in him anyway, “It's not the right time for me, but anytime is right for you.” It’s amazing how people who have their own agenda for your life want to rush you into something that God has put on your schedule. If you are not careful other people will push you into something that God hasn’t allotted your time for.

Jesus’ brothers were not sensitive to the will of God for his life so therefore it didn’t matter to them when the right time for promotion was. Jesus knew that promotion doesn’t come from the east or he west but from God, therefore you have to wait on God’s timing for your life not what other people think about your time. In order to do that you must:

1. Discern the time. There were some men from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do I Chronicle 12:32 we need to pray to God that he would give us the gift of discernment so that we can interpret the times in which we live.

2. Don’t let people rush you. Only you and God know the exact time in which you should act. At best people can confirm what you already know from being in relationship with God. Be careful in letting other people set your watch.

3. Take your time to make sure you’re ready. Success comes when preparation meets opportunity.

4. Use your time to prepare for your time. When God puts you on stage make sure you’ve prepared yourself ahead of time.

5. Don’t waste your time. When it’s your time make sure you utilize every moment that God gives you.

I have only just a minute, only 60 seconds in it Forced upon me,can’t refuse it
Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it
But it’s up to me to use it
I must suffer if I loose it
Give account if I abuse it
Just a tiny little minute
But an eternity lives in it

- Willie Jolley

Dear God,

Thank you for taking the time to prepare me for my season. Thank you for letting me have my turn when it was my time. Keep me in tune with your time so I will not miss my turn.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to Win By Losing

Philippians 2:3-4
New International Version (NIV)
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Coach Phil Jackson, one of the successful coaches of all times, details in his book “Eleven Rings", how he was able to take two different teams of ego driven young men and turn them into back to back champions. It was all about the triangle system offense that required everyone to work together and specifically challenge the superstars to take on a diminished role to empower the other players.

Kobe Bryant battled with this more than Michael Jordan because in Kobe’s younger days he was a lot more selfish. He was more concerned about being the greatest player than he was being a part of the greatest team. Fortunately, Kobe grew as a leader by decreasing his ambition to be the greatest player ever and helped to increase the value of his other teammates involvement through the triangle.

After a humiliating loss with the Lakers, Rick Fox once said, “A team always beats a group of individuals.”

It’s only when we lose our selfish ambition that we can win. We must:

1. Check our motives. Do nothing out of selfish motives or vain conceit. All the players on Phil’s Championship teams had to learn how to think about team over their selfish pursuits of Vain Glory.

2. Humble yourselves—in order to win championships these players had to get up under the tutelage of Phil Jackson. If they were not coachable there was nothing Phil could teach them. At one point Kobe was instrumental in getting Phil Jackson fired only to have to humble himself when they asked him to come back.

3. Look out for others. Phil Jackson told Michael Jordan that he would not be able to win another scoring title if he wanted to win the championship. MJ who was averaging 38 points a game told Phil, “I guess I could score 32 a game.”

Dear God,

Help me to make other people better.  Teach me how to serve others so I can be great like Jesus who humbled himself as a servant even to the point of dying on the cross. Help me to win like Jesus won…by serving others.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just Enough

Proverbs 30:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

In his book Future cast, what today’s trends mean for tomorrow's world, George Barna has noticed a trend in how people deal with their money. People tend to save more money after they come out of a recession vs. saving less when the economy is strong. Based on an analysis of surveys among 450,000 adults, Angus Deaton and Daniel Kalmon concluded that the more money people earn the more contentment they experience in the moment—until income reaches $75,000. After that point the additional toys and comforts afforded by increased income add nothing to improve their current mood.

Many of us are thinking if I had $75,000 I’d be straight! Whether the magic number is $75,000 or not the point is there is a point where we should have enough. What is your enough?

The writer of Proverbs prayed an awesome prayer that is a good formula for a balanced life:
  1. Don’t give me too much lest I forget you God. When God gives us more than enough, we have to remember who it was that blessed us. We can’t worship our provision and ignore our provider.
  2. Don’t give me too little, lest I have to resort to illegal activity. When we come up short we have to trust God to make up the difference.
  3. Give us this day our daily bread. God’s obligation to his children is to give us daily bread, anything beyond that is prosperity. When we pray for daily bread it is not just for us but that God would supply all with daily bread. It is our Christian responsibility to make sure that those around us have daily bread. When we have more than enough God expects us to share.
Dear God,

Help me to appreciate all you’ve given me and to bless others with my extra. Help me to be a good steward and be content with just enough.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Don't Be A Copy Cat

Romans 15:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.
Every successful brand stands for something fundamental—an underlying bedrock idea or principle that at every turn supports a company or product. This foundational platform is called positioning, and without it a brand can have no traction.

Successful positioning rejects conformity. At its best, positioning elevates a brand above the fray so that people can't help but take notice. The human brain instinctively looks for things that are different and unexpected. So a brand that stands in stark contrast to its competition will attract people's attention and have a distinct advantage in the marketplace. ---Marty Neumeier
In his book Zag, Marty Neumeier says that in order to set yourself apart from everybody else in a cluttered Marketplace, you must run to where there is white noise. In other words go to where nobody else is. In a world of conformity, it’s easy to do what everybody else is doing but it takes radical differentiation to be what nobody else is.
The Apostle Paul said that it was always his ambition to preach Jesus where he was not known. The New Living Translation said, “I’ve always wanted to start a church where nobody else had.”Living in the south it’s almost impossible to start a church where there already isn’t one but it is possible to start a New Direction.
There is something different about you that God intended for the world to see. You have to go out into the world and be who God called you to be instead of getting lost in the noise of conformity.

1. Embrace your differentness. Nobody can beat you being you. There is something distinctive that God has created you for. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

2. Give people something that they need but haven’t seen before. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known. There are so many people who are not in anybody’s church and they need to hear the good news in the way only you can present it. Can’t nobody tell your story the way you can.
3. Don’t build on somebody else’s foundation. Every Tub has to sit on its own bottom. Don’t be afraid to do the work of laying a foundation by going where nobody has gone before.
Dear God,

Give me the courage to go out today and find a place where nobody has thought of going. Help me to preach Jesus through my own unique way to reach people who have not been reached. Today, I’m going to set a foundation where no one has dared to go before.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

No New Friends

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Now New friends, man we don’t need that, forget fake friends where my real friends at?—Drake

There is great comfort in knowing that the people around you are authentic and have your best interest at heart. The people you choose to be your friends will determine how far you go in life.

When you have wise and righteous friends in your inner circle, its true you don’t need new friends. There is always room for new associates and business liaisons but friends are those who know the real you and push you to be a better you. However, if you have a bunch of people who are undisciplined, belligerent, unlearned and unwise, you need some new friends. 
Wise companions help you to grow wiser. You know you have the right friends when their counsel helps you to succeed and not fail.

You know you have the wrong friends when they keep putting you in harm’s way. Wisdom is the litmus test for whether you have friends or fools as companions. You might need some new friends if:
  1. You are growing but they are not
  2. You are pushing but they are pulling
  3. You headed in a new direction and they are still doing the same old destructive stuff
  4. You are trying to live for God and they no longer believe
  5. If they can’t handle your success
Dear God,

Help me to discern who’s in my circle. Surround me with authentic people who have my best interest at heart. Thank you most of all for Jesus, for being that friend that sticks closer than any brother and for giving his life for mine. Show me how to be the friend that I want in my life.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Better to Be a Nobody

Proverbs 12:9
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
Being under the radar is a good thing; you can get more accomplished when the spotlight is not on you. Many people desire to be in the limelight before their work is done and their lack of development is exposed.

The writer of Proverbs said, “It’s better to be an ordinary person and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.” Some people are so busy posing that they never become productive or reach their purpose.

Some of the most famous people in the world have lamented their loss of obscurity. Elvis Presley once said, “I wish I could just walk down the street and get a cheeseburger.”

It’s better to be an ordinary person who has contentment than to be a person seeking attention but starving.

Why is it better to be ordinary?
  1. You have peace of mind when you live a quiet life. 1 Thessalonians 4:11
          Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your
          hands, just as we instructed you before. (NLT)

     2. You have a Balanced life.

          Proverbs 30:8-9
          O God, I beg two favors from you;
           let me have them before I die.

           First, help me never to tell a lie.
           Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
           Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.

           For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
           And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
3. You have a real life

     John 10:10
     The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and 
     satisfying life.

Dear God,

Thank you for my ordinary life. I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You Can't Help A Hater

Proverbs 9:8-9
It’s a waste of time to try to help people that don’t want to be helped.

I believe it was Jesus who said, “Don’t cast your pearls amongst swine.” Your pearls represent the wisdom of God and there are people whom God wants us to share our wisdom with and there are those that God says we shouldn’t waste our time on.

I was fishing with a young man yesterday who was 23 years old but he had wisdom way beyond his years. He had been through so much early in his life: a mother addicted to drugs, left alone to fending for himself, eating out of garbage cans, left homeless due to Hurricane Katrina, got a scholarship to college, learned many trades to survive. He told my son Jordan who is 13, “Listen to everything your daddy tells you, that’s how you learn.”

I think a precondition to gaining wisdom is brokenness and humility. This young started with nothing but had gained much more than silver and gold, he had wisdom.

The writer of Proverbs warns his son to not give instruction or warning to a mocker. A mocker is a person who causes repeated emotional pain, distress, or annoyance to another. In other words they are foolish! When you try to instruct them they will hate you.

Instead of wasting your time on them look for people who are already open to receive. Look for:
  1. A wise person. A wise man who’s rebuked will love you. They must have a healthy fear of the Lord before they can receive instruction.
  2. They grow from the Instruction you give them. If there is no return from your instruction then stop instructing.
  3. Teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The little you give them will be built on by what they go out to get themselves.
Dear God,

Show me today who I should invest my time into and who I should stop wasting my time with. Time is precious and I want to invest it in someone who is hungry for wisdom and knowledge. Don’t let me cast my pearls amongst fools.

In Jesus Name,

Did You Make the Cut?

Romans 2:29
New Living Translation (NLT)
29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise[a] from God, not from people.

There are so many competitive shows on TV now; so much so that I can’t keep up with all of them: American’s Next Top Model, the Next Top Chef, American Idol, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars…every week we are watching to see who made the cut based upon their performance.

In life, we too are trying to make the cut through our performances; whether it’s making the team, meeting a deadline, trying to get the job or keep the job, we are all trying to make the cut. Many times we are judged by what we can produce and sometimes if we receive grace we are judged on our potential to produce.

But when it comes to God he judges a little more different than we do. He’s kind of like the judges on the “Voice” where they turn their chairs around to hear the voice before they see the person. God looks at our hearts before he judges our appearance. God told the prophet Samuel when he was looking for the next top King, “Where you mess up is that man looks at the outer appearance and God looks at the heart first.” That’s why lady justice has a blindfold on, because Justice is supposed to be blind, that is we are supposed to look a person’s motives, extenuating circumstances, and the evidence before we come to a verdict and make the cut.

The early Jewish Christians were all about appearances or having a form of godliness which included circumcision. There was a group of them who felt like you were not a legitimate believer if you hadn’t made the cut of circumcision. Some of them had made the physical cut but their hearts were far from being change.

In order to make the cut or to be an authentic believer of Jesus Christ means that:
  1. Your heart has to be right with God. Jesus said, “Many of you say you love God but your heart is far from him.” Jesus also said that it is not what goes in a man that defiles him but what comes out of his heart.
  2. Your heart has to be changed. The Holy Spirit begins to transform your character after you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  3. You start seeking approval from God instead of looking for people to accept you.
Dear God,

You have my permission to work on my heart. Don’t let me waste energy cutting on my outside when it’s my insides that need attention. Change me from the inside out.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Money, Power & Respect

Money, Power, & Respect
See I believe in money, power, & respect
First you get the money
Then you get the power
And after you get the Power
You get people to respect you
--Lil Kim
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
There was a catchy Hip Hop anthem back in the 90’s that seemed to summarize the mindset of many Gen Xers in how to earn respect of their peers. This song, Money, Power, Respect was the mantra of the “Bling Bling” generation; the only problem was that it was out of order in terms of having a fulfilled life. Instead of seeking God first many of this generation made money God. The love of money is the root of all evil and our pursuit of it as our primary means of fulfillment always leads us to a vapor like subsistence with nothing to show for our efforts.
Money, power, and respect are derivatives of a life lived after God’s pattern not our own self-seeking pleasure laden lives that we pursue in vain. We are to be God chasers and not many chasers.
The Apostle Paul told the young Christians in Thessolnica how to get the Money, Power and Respect the right way.
  1. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. There is nothing wrong with ambition, (A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically, requiring determination and hard work.) but our ambition should not lead to selfish pursuits but to a life that is centered in pleasing God. God is not the author of confusion but his way leads to peace. The Bling Bling generation was all about flossing and being seen, when you are truly prosperous it is subtle and quiet. You don’t have to bring a lot of attention to yourself to be successful.
  2. Mind your own business. If we spent more time minding our business instead of gossiping about everybody else we would get a lot more accomplished. Mind our business is about being productive and making sure our house is in order. We have to put in the time with our own endeavors before we can experience the fruit of success.
  3. Work with your hands. We must be artists and producers. We must create something that adds value to the world. If we want to become indispensible we must create something that the world needs and values. Those who used to steal must steal no more. If a man doesn’t work than a man doesn’t eat. A little sleep, a little folding of the hands and scarcity will come upon you like a bandit. 
When we do this we will win the respect of outsiders and not be dependent on others. God’s reward is Money,(provision) and Power (Holy Spirit).
Jesus said it another way. Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Dear God,
Thank you for giving me Power from your Holy Spirit through Righteous living, the respect from those around me who see your Power at work in my life, and for the money that you provide to take care of my needs, some of my wants and to bless others with.
In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Something's Missing

I Thessalonians 3:10
Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Have you ever felt like something was missing in your life, your relationship, or your faith? You can be fully functioning while at the same time partially undeveloped. We can be the proverbial “Iron Man or Woman” who goes out to save the world with a cast iron outer self while underneath we are a vulnerable man with a heart surrounded by shrapnel. The Shrapnel is residue from a past traumatic experience that helped shape your destiny but threatens you present. That little light that Iron Man has in the middle of his chest is a magnetic device that prevents the shrapnel from traveling toward his heart. The only thing that keeps us from being destroyed by our shrapnel is our light.

It’s interesting that in Iron man 3, (the holy trinity) that Tony Starks finally consents to surgery to remove the shrapnel so that he can move on to a whole life. What Shrapnel do you need to remove from your life so you can finally see what’s missing?

The Apostle Paul had been checking on his young church in Thessalonica and discovered that they were doing better then he thought. It’s important that we check in on those that are still in development; whether it’s a new church or a budding relationship. Chances are you will discover that something is missing even as something is growing. This young church in Thessalonica was standing strong but Paul longed to see them so he could supply what they lacked, which goes to show that no matter how successful we think we are, we still may lack something.

The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing, and when you stop growing you die.
What’s missing? Noticed what Paul prayed in verse 11, Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. Remove the Shrapnel. You must be open to find out what’s missing. Here’s three possible things:
  1. Relational Maturity. Verse 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. Two things that Larry Osborne said are necessary for winning teams. A) The ability to adjust B) the ability to be relational. This can apply to anyone. We must grow up in how we relate to other people.
  2. Emotional immaturity. Verse 13 May he strengthen your hearts… Many sincere followers of Christ, followers who are really passionate for God, join a church, participate weekly in a small group, serve with their gifts, and who are considered "mature," remain stuck at a level of spiritual immaturity—especially when faced with interpersonal conflicts and crises.
  3. Spiritual Maturity. Verse 13. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and Holy in the presence of God.
Dear God,

Help me to be complete in my maturity. Search me and if you find anything missing or threatening, please remove, restore, and Revive.

In the Name of Jesus,


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Are You Hiding?

Matthew 25:25
So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See here is what I started with.
In the book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell said researchers discovered that the magic number for mastering a talent was 10,000 hours. Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert in anything.
If we want to be great at anything we must invest time into it. Many of us desire to be great but we don’t want to invest the time to be great. We are sitting on greatness. We are hiding our talents. If you want what other people don’t have you have to do what other people don’t do.

Why are we hiding our talent?

Jesus told a story of three men who were entrusted with talents. One man had 10, another 5, and the third man was given one. One thing is sure, we each have at least one thing we can be great at. The first two men invested their talent and gave the master double of what he had given them when he returned. The third man, however, hid his talent in the ground and gave back what he had received in the beginning. It’s a sad commentary when we give God back the same thing he gave us when we were born, an undeveloped talent.

The man hid his talent because of:
  1. Fear of expectation. The man knew that the master didn’t play around with what he had invested in someone. We have to raise our expectations for ourselves as high as God’s expectations for us. While we were in our Mother’s womb God set expectations for us, plans for us to succeed not to hide.
  2. Afraid to take a risk. The man thought he was doing the master a favor by giving him the same amount he started out with. He didn’t want to risk losing it so he hid it in the ground. The greatest risk in life is to risk nothing. Millionaires don’t cry over the money they lost investing they simply make up their minds to make it back.
  3. Laziness. The man was just trifling. He didn’t even try to increase what the master had given him. We must have a work ethic that is beyond average. We have to push ourselves to new limits to gain mastery. “A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
    Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    with poverty as your permanent houseguest!” Proverbs 24:34
Dear God,

Help me to grow in my area of talent. Double my potential through my investment of time in what you’ve gifted me to do. There is more in me and I refuse to hide it. Use me and the gifts you’ve entrusted to me.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spiritual Negligence

Matthew 23: 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
We give the most to what matters the most to us. If you love your child you will make sure that child is loved and provided for, anything less than that would be called neglect. If you love your spouse you will emotionally support financially provide for, and physically satisfy, anything less would be neglect.
When it comes to God there is no difference. We bring our tithes, talents and time to God to show that we love him and we are committed. Jesus talks about how even the Pharisees give their tithe, that is 10% of their income to God. These hardened religious leaders have enough sense to give God a tenth but they are still guilty of Spiritual neglect. Many of us think that tithing is the most important litmus test to spiritual maturity. It’s important but there is something even more important. 
  1. Justice—Social justice focuses on basic causes of oppression, inequity, and disenfranchisement. Charity or giving is essential but in itself is not adequate for meeting the persons need or needs of the group that person represented. (To serve this present age by Danielle L. Ayers and Reginald W. Williams Jr.)
  2. Mercy—Compassionate treatment of those in distress, works of mercy among the poor. 10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. Deuteronomy 15:10-11
  3. Faithfulness. Staying committed to Christ. Your tithe is not something you can pick up and put down. We have to consistently live out our faith in Christ.
Dear God,
Help me to no neglect you by neglecting the least of these. Show me where there is a need to speak up for the poor, stand up for Justice, and help me remain faithful over a few things.
In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Let It Go!

Let it Go!

Matthew 18:27 The servant’smaster took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

It’s so easy to hold a grudge against someone especially when you feel they owe you something. It’s something that can eat away at your peace and rob you of your joy if you continue to harbor that resentment. But at some point if you want your peace of mind you are going to have to let go by forgiving them. We always think that we are letting people off the hook by forgiving them but really it’s releasing you.

Jesus tells his disciples a story after Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. Jesus tells Peter he should forgive his brother seventy times seven then he tells him a story about a man that owed a million dollars he couldn’t pay back. They had foreclosed his home and were about to make slaves out of his wife and children. The man begged the master not to do this and the master not only let him go but erased all his debt; a million dollars worth of debt.

On the way out of the courthouse he saw this dude that owed him $100. He walked up to him and started choking him. He told the man to pay him back but the man said he couldn’t so he had him thrown in prison. When the master got wind of how hypocritical this man was, he had him arrested and tortured until he could pay back the million dollars. Jesus said, “this is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

We have got to let it Go! There are some things that we just have to let go and count our losses because in the great scheme of things we really have been forgiven more than what we are trying to get over from what others have done to us.

Let Go of:

1.    Petty differences. If somebody has done something to you forgive them and move on with your life.
2. Debt owed. Whenever you loan money to friends or relatives never loan them anything that you will not miss if they don’t pay you back. Chances are they are not going to pay you back. If you’ve already made this mistake of loaning money do yourself a favor and forget about it. Forgive them so you can save the relationship.
3. A sense of superiority. When you look at all that God has forgiven you for, you will realize that what you need to forgive others for doesn’t compare to all that God has forgiven you for. Let go and don’t choke your blessing.

Dear God,

Today, I am forgiving from my heart those who owe me money, apologies, and retribution. I know you see everything and you will handle my debt, my pain, and my regret. Thank you for erasing my mistakes and for restoring my future.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's Time to Move Mountains!

New Living Translation (NLT)
20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth,if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.[a]”
17:20 Some manuscripts add verse 21, But this kind of demon won’t leave except by prayer and fasting.

There are so many mountains that we have to conquer on our way to what God has promised us. The temptation is to give up because of the mountain but we must remember that every mountain doesn’t have to be climbed but it can be moved.
There are some difficult situations you are facing but Jesus wants you to know that you have the power to handle them.

When the Disciples were faced with a demon possessed boy they were not successful in exercising the demon from the boy. Jesus was able to speak to it and the boy was relieved of the evil spirit. They asked Jesus why they were not successful, he told them, “It’s because your faith was too little.”

Jesus went on to tell them that if they…

1.      Had faith the size of a mustard seed they could move any mountain. A mustard seed is the smallest seed there is a size of a piece of lint but when it is planted in the ground it grows bigger than most plants. When faith is planted in our hearts it grows to the proportion of our problems. There is no problem bigger than our faith can handle.

2. You must speak to your mountain. Jesus didn’t tell them to blow up, digup, climb up….he told them to speak up. Nothing happens until we speak to it. Today, speak to your mountain and tell it to move.

3. Jesus said, “These kind only come out through fasting and prayer. Our power doesn’t come from us but from God and the way to tap into that power is through prayer and fasting. If you want tomove mountains you have to spend time in God’s presence on top of the mountain.

Dear God,

Help me today to move mountains by speaking in faith to whatever is standing in my way. Consecrate me so that I can tap into the power that is available only through you. Today, my mountains have to move!

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don't Fall For It!

Good News Translation (GNT)
Protect me from the traps they have set for me, from the snares of those evildoers.
May the wicked fall into their own traps while I go by unharmed.

There are some people who would get no greater joy than to see you fall. Discernment is the ability to recognize traps before you step in them. The thing that sets humans above animals is our ability to reason when we decide to use it. Animals are instinctive and are led by their appetite and need to mate. If you want to catch an animal, then you simply put what they want in a trap and you usually can catch them.

Many of us get trapped when we are not able to live beyond our animalistic impulses and appetites. We have to be disciplined and discerning to recognize traps when we see them.

David prayed to God to keep him from the snares that his enemies had laid for him. David lived amongst his enemies, the Philistines, for a year and a half while he was on the run from King Saul. He had enemies literally all around him but his prayers were for God to keep him from getting caught up. He prayed that his enemies would fall into their own traps.

Here’s how you and I can avoid traps set by theenemy:

1. Be led by the Spirit and not your flesh. When the HolySpirit leads us, we can discern when something we want is being used to trap us in destruction. Your flesh doesn’t take into account the repercussion of participation. Your Spirit will show you the outcome before you step into something.

2. The enemy knows what you like, don’t be deceived by something that looks good. Everything that looks good ain’t good for you. Paul said, “"I have the right to do anything," you say--but not everything is beneficial."I have the right to do anything"--but not everything is constructive. I Corinthians 10:23

3. Be proactive not reactive. You have to be two steps ahead of the enemy. People will want to push your buttons but you have to anticipate the response they are trying to get out of you and beat them at their own game. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. I Peter 3:9

4. Learn from other people’s missteps. You don’t have to repeat other people’s mistakes. Wise men learn from the mistakes of other’s or at least they should.

Dear God,

Help me to avoid traps that have been set for me. Lead me in the path of righteousness for your name’s sake. Keep me day by day, in a pure and perfect way. Today, open my eyes so I can see any traps that have been set for me, so that I can remain free.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More Than Bread

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NIV)

Back in the seventies the slang word for money was "Bread." I can remember all the cool cats saying stuff like, "Man, I need some more bread," meaning they needed more money. There's no doubt about it that we could all use a little more bread these days but there's something else we need more. We need God's word which is our daily bread.

We can't get so preoccupied with bread that we don't make room for God's word.

I remember growing up that my mother warned us not to eat so much bread before a meal because we would get full before dinner. Sometimes, we can get so full in the pursuit of bread that we fail to get full of God. When we pursue God first he will supply our daily bread.

That's why Jesus tells us to seek first God's Kingdom and His Rigtheousness and all these things shall be added to us.

Dear God,

Thank you for daily bread. Your hand has provided all I have needed. This morning I will seek you first knowing you will supply all my needs according to your riches in Glory.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Cut Off Notice

The axis already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce goodfruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

One of the things that gets my attention quick is a cut off notice. There have been times when I didn’t make payment on time and the electric company sent me a cut off notice giving me time to settle my account. If I didn’t pay my debt in time they would cut off my power. You can’t see in the dark without power. You can’t cook your food without power. Your food will spoil without power. You can’t get anything done effectively without power so it's best to pay attention to your cut off notice.

God gives us cut off notices as well. When we live outside of his will he will send us cut off notices. Jesus paid our debt on Calvary’s cross but when we choose to re-establish a debt by continually living a life opposite from the redeemed life that God sacrificed for us we will find ourselves without power.

John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and Sadducees who were religious leaders that if they didn’t repent they would be cut down and thrown into the fire. More than that he said, “The ax is already at the root!” Not onlywould they be cut down they would no longer have the ability to produce. No root, no fruit!

Here’s how we avoid our cut off:

1. Pay attention to your cut off notice. God gives warning before destruction. Listen to the word of warning that God gives you through the preached word and the words of prophesy he sends through his messengers.

2. Repent! The word repent means to make a U-Turn when you see you are going in the wrong direction.

3. Produce Fruit in keeping with Righteousness. What comes out of your life must match the character of God. What you produce in your life must reflect who God is.

4. Produce Good Fruit. Your life should be edible. Your life should be a blessing to the people who need your gifts. The things you accomplish in life should make other people better. Your life should lead people back to God not stop at you.


Thank you for sending me a cut off notice so that I could get myself together. I want my life to be pleasing and acceptable to you so that when my life is over I can hear you say, “Well done good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful over a few things…” Thank you Jesus for settling my account so that I will not be cut off.

In JesusName,


Monday, April 15, 2013

Taking An Alternative Route

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod. (Matthew 2:12 NLT)

There are times when God sees something that we can't and sends us warning before we get there. God loves us so much that he acts as a watchtower to make sure we make it safely to our destination. Even now I'm sitting in the airport waiting on a delayed flight. I used to get mad but in my maturity I understand that the people in the watchtower see something I don't see or the pilot wanted to make sure the plane was operable before taking off. Sometimes, we have to take alternative routes to get to our destination safely.

The wise men who visited Jesus at birth were tricked by Herod to reveal where Jesus was so he could kill him. He lied and said he wanted to worship him. Some people want to kill what you worship so you have to be careful which route you take after worship.

An angel warned the wise men to go another route because Herod wanted to kill the newborn Jesus. After Jesus has been born in your heart you are at risk going back the way you came. You need an alternative route. God will reveal to you the people who don't mean you any good and sometimes you can't go back to the same people who saw you on your journey.

1. Listen to God's voice as to where he wants you to go.

2. Change up your route to throw the enemy off.

3. After worship head in a new direction.

Dear God,

Lead me on a new path so that I can fulfill my destiny. Protect me from blood thirsty men so that I can get where I'm supposed to be.

In Jesus name,


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This Ain't That!

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
New International Version (NIV)
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
A lot of times when we get into fights or disagreements, what we are fighting about is not even the issue. This ain't that! There is a deeper issue or stronghold at work that causes people to be at odds. Our natural tendency is to want to fight against those people physically. We want to put our hands on somebody but this aint that!
  1. Our weapons are not worldly but ours are spiritual and have divine power to demolish strongholds. We must make sure we are prayed up so that we can properly discern between this and that. Someone might be angry at you over some kind of interaction but that particular interaction is not “that” their jealousy is “this” stronghold that must be demolished through prayer.
  2. We demolish arguments and every pretense. You can’t win arguments by arguing. You win by letting God have it and letting your actions of Love and maturity speak for you. This Ain’t that!
  3. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. All day long we have to have our spiritual filters on to capture negative thoughts to make them obedient to Christ by reading God’s word and being led by the Spirit.
Dear God,

Help me to fight in the Spirit and not in my flesh. Give me the victory over dark powers and principalities without ruining relationships. Give me the discernment to know the difference between this and that.
In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Watch God Do It!

1 Samuel 6:8-9
New International Version (NIV)
8 Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, 9 but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.”

There is a connection to what we hold on to and what we release that determines what God decides to do in our lives. Sometimes, what we hold on to brings calamity and what we release can bring healing but you have to keep watching to see God move on your behalf.

The Philistines had taken that which did not belong to them. They had taken the Ark of the Covenant which represented the Presence of God for the people of Israel. The Ark was Holy and was only to be handled by the priests and the people who were in covenant with God. As a result of it being mishandled by the Philistines, God had infected the Philistines with a curse of Tumors and Rats.

When we mishandle the presence of God it can negatively impact our lives. When we treat the presence of God with contempt our lives can be cursed and not blessed.

The Philistines decided it was time to send the Ark of God back but they had to send back a gold guilt offering with it. They sent 5 gold rats and 5 gold tumors symbolic of what was eating at them and stealing their prosperity. What are some of the rats and tumors you need to release out of your life? What rat has been allowed to eat away at your self-esteem? What tumor is soaking up all of your Godly resources because it’s been allowed to set up inside you? If we are going to be healed then we have to release:
  1. What does not belong to you. You can’t hold on to that which does not belong to you? God even warned the Israelites when they held onto that which is Holy to God, their tithe, and did not give it to him they would experience a curse. We can’t steal from God and be blessed.
  2. We need to release grateful giver and not a guilty giver. The Philistines sent the Ark away with guilt offerings of 5 gold rats and tumors. Since Jesus came into our lives he removed our guilt. We don’t have to give guilt offerings but we should give offerings because we are grateful. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.
  3. Keep Watching your gift. The Philistines hitched the ark to Cows that had never plowed and had just given birth. They knew if these cows pulled this Ark back to the Israelites on their own then this had to be God. When you give your offering, just sit back and Watch God work. When you give for the right reason and to the right place your gift has to get to where it’s supposed to go.

2 Corinthians 9:12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

Dear God,

I’m waiting and watching, knowing that which I’ve given to you will accomplish what I sent it out to do. It’s not by chance but it’s by faith that I release my gifts to you and I believe it will come back to me, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

In Jesus Name,

Don't Stop Believing

2 Corinthians 4:4 the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

When Jesus was about to be crucified standing before Pontius Pilate, he had a chance to be released by Pilate. Jesus told him that he had been sent by God to reveal the truth and everyone on the side of truth would listen to his voice. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is the truth?” Pilate was standing in the face of the Son of God who is the way the, the Truth, and the life. He was looking at the Truth but could not see it. Pilate was so caught up in his occupation, pleasing the people, the cultural pull of Rome that he could not even see the truth standing before him.
It’s no different today. Google has made everyone an expert on their version of the truth. We have “Wicklepedia-ed “ our way to our own version of truth. In the times of Judges it says that every man did as he saw right in his own eyes because they had no king. We have dethroned Truth and have been tossed by every wind of new teaching and doctrine. Truth is not a fact to be found but a person to be known. 
One of the most educated of men, the Apostle Paul, was formerly a highly educated Pharisee who persecuted those who followed Jesus. He could not stand those that followed Jesus because he believed the early Christians to be a misguided cult, until he had an encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus to arrest more Christians. When the resurrected Jesus threw Saul off his “high horse of reason” Saul asked, “Who are you Lord?” Jesus said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” Saul was ordered to go to a street called straight and he waited there until Barnabas came to see him and something like scales fell from his eyes. Saul became Paul and one of the most successful Apostles writing 13 Epistles in the Bible.

We are in danger of becoming Paul in reverse. The more we listen to the ‘gods’ of this age, reason, mythology, atheists …the more we are blinded to truth. The devil is the father of lies and he makes you believe the truth is a lie and that a lie is the truth. Jesus said, “you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” The word Know implies relationship. The only way to know truth is to be in relationship with Jesus Christ.
  1. Seek Jesus face not just his hands. It is only through prayer and spending time with Jesus that he reveals who he is.
  2. Fast and pray. After Saul was knocked off his “high horse” he had to go lay in darkness without eating. It was there that he was enlightened. Some people think the more they read the more they are enlightened. The more you hunger and thirst for righteousness the more enlightened you will be by God. When Jesus was asked by his Disciples if he was hungry because he had not eaten, Jesus replied, “I have food that you know not of, my food is to do the will of my father.” Hunger for Jesus.
  3. Don’t be tossed to and fro by every new teaching. You have to make sure that your anchor holds the solid rock, that rock is Jesus. Many people fall away from Christ because they do not hold close to him through a personal relationship. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
Dear God,

I pray that you would keep your children from being deceived away from truth. Help us to know Jesus, to see him face to face. Jesus show yourself to us so that we will know the difference between the truth and a lie.

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Unveiled Faces

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s Glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing Glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
When you are in Christ you don’t have anything to hide. Some people feel like they have to put up a front or wear a mask because they don’t want people to see who they really are, you are not really seen until you can remove your veil and be your authentic self in Christ Jesus.
God wants you to be who you “is” not who you “ain’t.
When Moses received the Ten Commandments from God he came down the Mountain with his face glowing. The people were so intimidated that he had to veil his face to make them comfortable. How many of us have had to cover up God’s Glory to make other people comfortable?
The light was a reminder of God’s Judgment and caused the people to fear God’s Glory but when we are in relationship with Jesus our glow is a reminder of his Grace. When you truly reflect the Glory of God and you have a relationship with Jesus your light actually draws people without intimidating them.

In order to adequately reflect his Grace on our face we should:
  1. Unveil our faces. There’s no need to hide when our conscience is clear in Christ. Christians should be approachable and accessible. People should be able to see God in us.
  2. Reflect the Lord’s Glory. The light that God gives us is a reflection of him and not us. If we are shining it’s because we are standing in the light of Jesus. We have no light of our own. Only what we do for Christ will last.
  3. Be transformed into his likeness. The More time we spend with Jesus the more we should look like him and people recognize us less and less.
  4. Be filled with the Spirit. The way that we continue to shine and live unveiled lives is when we are led and filled by the Holy Spirit. We have to make sure that we feed the Spirit more than we feed the flesh.
Dear God,

I pray that you would remove the veil from my face and let my authentic self shine through. Help me to decrease so that you can increase. This little light of mine I’m going to let shine everywhere I go. Please remove my veil even as you transform me into the likeness of my lord and savior.
In Jesus Name,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Can You Keep Up?

Galatians 5:25
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

When you are a leader and you look behind you to see if anyone is following and there isn’t, you are not leading you are just taking a long walk.

Whenever I am walking with my wife or children, I always make sure I adjust my pace so they can keep up. I have the tendency to walk fast because I want to be on time. When we all know what time it is it’s important for all of us to keep up with the leader even as he or she adjusts to help us keep up.

The Holy Spirit is our leader and he is trying to get us somewhere on time but we must keep up. How do we keep up?
  1. Consecrate your mind so the Holy Spirit has a clear path. We have to get rid of the clutter and the mess so the Holy Spirit can function as he should in a clean temple.
  2. Be obedient to what the Holy Spirit says. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Galatians 5:16 The Holy Spirit can “say” but we must “obey” to keep up.
  3. Don’t get distracted while following. Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep it moving.
  4. Follow the Narrow Path. Don’t abuse your Freedom. You my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Dear God,

Help me to keep in step with you today. Lead me in the path of righteousness for your names sake.

In Jesus Name,


Don't Move That Boundary!

It’s there for a Reason

Deuteronomy 19:14
Don’t move your neighbor’s boundary markers, the longstanding landmarks set up by your pioneer ancestors defining their property.

There has been much debate over the removal of the name of Nathan Bedford Forest’s name from city parks in Memphis. He was a confederate General who led a massacre of a surrendered fort consisting of mostly black Union soldiers 40 miles outside of Memphis. The Mississippi River ran red with blood of men who had surrendered but were shot, burnt, and even buried alive at the orders of Nathan Bedford Forest. Forest was also credited with founding the Ku Klux Klan, a terrorist organization that would continue the fight against free blacks after the war, lynching, burning, and murdering those that got out of place.

Moving that boundary stone has upset many on both sides. Some city council members wanted to add the name of Ida B. Wells to the sign of a land previously dedicated to a man that hated and murdered her people. Ida B. Wells grew up in Holly Springs, MS and came to Memphis to teach to take care of her siblings. She became an prolific investigative journalist who wrote about the atrocities of lynching after three of her friends were taken out of jail and lynched for defending their successful grocery store. She was so devastated that she wrote that blacks should leave Memphis because it would never be safe for black people. In the late 1800’s, 6,000 people including Wells left Memphis.

I don’t think they should move the landmark of Nathan Bedford Forest, let it be a reminder of what happened in Memphis. If you want to set up a new boundary in tribute to Ida B. Wells, establish new boundaries with a unified School district. When Ida B. Wells came to work as a school teacher in Memphis she did so because in Holly Springs where she taught, white teachers made $80 a month while black teachers made $30 a month. In Memphis she found “more” equitable opportunities to teach.

This School merger is a way for residents of Shelby County to show where their boundaries are or where their hearts are. You can change the name of a park but you can’t change the nature of a boundary.

What are we really saying with these new districts or boundaries some of these schools districts are proposing? Why haven’t we gone on a national search for a new superintendent instead of imposing a local “Master” over the new “unified” school board?

Don’t move it, lets see if the new boundary resembles the old ones. Let’s see if we have made progress or are we still laying siege to an already surrendered people whose blood is not in the Mississippi River but instead runs down the streets of Memphis because of poverty, lack of opportunities, and lack of education.

When you find an ancient boundary study it, learn from it, then govern yourself accordingly so that you will not repeat any massacres. It’s there for a reason.

Dear God,

Help us to deal with our old boundaries that cover up past atrocities. Help us to create new boundaries that speak to where we want to go. Heal our wounds of past offenses and help us to create a city that speaks to the unity and diversity of a people who have heeded their boundaries but created new ones.

In Jesus Name,


It's Time to Break Camp!

Deuteronomy 1:6
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “you have stayed long enough at this mountain, break camp and advance into the hill country of the Giants.

If you are not careful you can get comfortable camping out in a place of good enough and miss the place of Greater than. God has so much more in store for us but we’ve been camping out in a place that is just short of our potential. Our fear and disobedience in facing the challenges of our new place has caused us to camp out in the place of toxic contemplation and God has to remind us we’ve been here too long.

Israel should have been in the Promised Land by now but they let the negative reports of Giants and fortified cities make them feel inferior. It’s amazing how God can show us something and then we let the negative opinions of others sway us into a place of fear and second guessing. As a result of the fearful opinion of the ten spies and total disregard for the vision of Joshua and Caleb, the people decided to camp outside the Promised Land. God said, ‘since you won’t go, I’ll keep you out. God said, he would let a new generation go in. (Verses 39-40)

When the old generation decided to try and go fight anyway after the fact, they were defeated and came back licking their wounds and had to camp out. Moses tells the younger generation, ‘you’ve been here too long. We’ve been broke too long. Too many have been incarcerated in our inner cities too long, our children have been gunned down for too long, we’ve been talking about doing something in our community for too long!”
It’s time to…
  1. Break Camp. When you break camp you pick up your tents, and start packing up what was supposed to be temporary to move on to what is permanent. When you break camp you leave your place of comfort in pursuit of that which is better and sustainable.
  2. Advance. It’s time to go forward and stop being stagnant. God’s people should be making progress and not camping out. What is it that you should be doing but you know you’ve been camping? Is there a degree you need to finish? Is there a book you need to write? Is there a language you need to take?
  3. Go Face your Giants. Sometimes, the challenges in front of us seem bigger than us but we must believe that the bigger they are the harder they fall. If God is for you then who can be against you?!
Dear God,

I’m ready to break Camp! I’m not afraid to advance and face my giants. Just go with me, give me favor, and the strength to fight. I believe you are going to give me what you promised me. It’s time to Break Camp.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Balaam Beat His Ass!

God 's angel said to him: "Why have you beaten your poor donkey these three times? I have come here to block your way because you're getting way ahead of yourself. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she hadn't, I would have killed you by this time, but not the donkey. I would have let her off." (Numbers 22:32, 33 MSG)

There are times when God is trying to get our attention and we are so focused on what we want that we fail to see the warning signs. God always sends warning before destruction but we can sometimes miss it because our minds are already made up. What's crazy is that we will often times start beating on the one that's trying to help us.

The King of Moab wanted Baalam to put a curse on Israel on their way to the Promised Land. God warned Baalam that Israel was already Blessed by him and that Baalam should not have anything to do with King Balak or with cursing Israel. Baalam went with Balak's men anyway but on his way riding on his Ass (donkey), his Ass saw an Angel standing on the road with a sword ready to kill Baalam but the Donkey went off the Road and Baalam beat his Ass. He did this again and scraped his leg. Then a third time the Angel was in a narrow path and his Ass could not turn to the left or to the right, so his Ass bowed down before the Angel of The Lord because she had better sense than Baalam.

Sometimes God will save you by using the people or things you are mistreating. If it had not been for Baalam's donkey God would have killed Baalam because his path was reckless. Three ways you know God might be opposed to your path.

1. You get off track. If you look up and you're not headed in the direction you intended it could be that there is something God does not want you to be a part of. God will take your Ass in a different direction to save you.

2. You might get injured on your way to the wrong place. Sometimes your Ass will run into something that will hurt you to keep God from destroying you.

3. Sometimes God will bring your Ass to a halt and make you bow down. When we realize what God saved you from it's enough to make you bow down and Worship him!

Thank you God for Saving me when I was headed in the wrong direction. Thank you for intervening when I couldn't see my way. I'm grateful for another chance to head in a New Direction!

In Jesus Name,


Don't Be Afraid, Just Believe

Mark 5:36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

Life can be overwhelming at times especially when there is a crisis. Whether it’s something dealing with your children, or some kind of medical issue you are dealing with or death in your family; there are some things that will put your faith to the test and cause you to waver in your belief if you get hit hard enough.

Every day we must take inventory of what the day has brought us and decide if we are going to keep believing God’s report or what they say.

This morning I received a random text from my cousin that I hear from time to time. The text read:
Keep it together :) it will not Delay! Stop counting your problems and start counting your blessings:)
God has a way of sending you what you need when you need it.

Jairus’ 12 year old daughter was sick and Jesus was coming his way. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue. He worked for God but his daughter was sick. Just because you work for God doesn’t mean you are exempt from sickness and suffering. Jairus believed that Jesus could heal his daughter that’s why he stopped him on the road.

The problem came when they were on their way to Jairus' house and a woman stopped Jesus who had an issue of blood for 12 years. After Jesus healed her, news came from Jairus' house that his daughter had died and there was no need for Jesus to come there. Jairus was a ruler over the house of God but his daughter had died in his house. Jairus had to fight against disease, delay, discouragement, and death.

Jesus spoke to Jairus and told him, “Don’t be afraid, just Believe!”
Here’s what you have to do when life is overwhelming and you feel like giving up:
  1. Ignore what they say and listen to Jesus
  2. Don’t let everybody go with you, just Followers
  3. Put out fake people. The people that laughed at Jesus when he said that the little girl was just sleeping and not dead. Put out people whose faith does not match yours.
  4. Feed your miracle. After Jesus raised the little girl from the dead, he told her father and mother to give her something to eat.
Dear God,

I believe that today you will work a miracle on my behalf regardless of what they say and what it looks like. I believe you can bring healing to others and bless my situation at the same time!

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sorry to Disappoint You!

Acts 28:6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they chaged their minds and said he was a god.

Whenever you are living out your God given purpose you can count on people counting against you. Granted there are people who genuinely love you and want the best for you but you will also encounter people who are expecting something bad to happen to you. Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world but sometimes the world seems to be louder than the one within. It's important to have a strong relationship with God so that when the world is pulling against you something on the inside will keep you.

The Apostle Paul found himself shipwrecked and on an island with the survivors. This was miraculous in itself because Paul was able to save the souls on a storm damaged ship. God spoke through Paul to help them make it to shore and once upon shore God allowed the natives to show them "unusual" favor.(verse 2) then while they were warming by the fire a viper jumped out of the burning brush and attached itself to Paul's hand. Paul shook off the viper and that's when the people concluded that he must be a murderer and God was getting ready to kill him.

The People on the Island based upon their limited exposure to Paul started speculating from this incident with the viper that some how Paul deserved to die. They expected him to swell up or suddenly die. How many times have we been through some unforseen event and people speculate that you had to have done something wrong? I can see Paul looking at everybody, shaking the snake off, and sitting back down thinking to himself, "I'm sorry to disappoint ya'll but I ain't dying today!"

Here's what some people expect:

1. After a series of unfortunate events you are doomed to die. Just because you've been through one bad expereince to the next does not mean that God is not with you. I'm sorry to disappoint you but Jesus didn't say that vipers would bite me he just said, "I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and crush them. Nothing will injure you." (Luke 10:19)
2. They expected him to swell up. Some people think you will die from growing. I've heard people say that some churches don't grow they swell and swelling implies infection. What they are really saying is, "I hope they die because they didn't grow right." Instead of praying that people die from swelling, pray that they might be able to handle their growth. Sorry to disapoint you but I did not die from my swelling.
3. They thought that he might die suddenly.  There are some people just sitting back waiting for something bad to happen to you because there's no way that you've been able to do all that you've been able to do and you not die. I'm sorry to disappoint you but I shall live and not die and proclaim the work of the Lord's hand!

After they saw that he didn't die from something "unusual" they change their minds and said, "He is a god." Because they were unbelievers they falsely credited Paul with his own miracle.  What they saw was God in Paul not that Paul was god. What we need to understand is that what we've been able to accomplish and survive is not because we are god but Because God is real!

Don't waste any time entertaining other people's negative opinions of you today. Don't worry about people who wish bad on you. Shake the devil off and let God use you to heal and deliver his people.

In Jesus Name,


What's Holding You?

Acts 27:29

Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight

My anchor grips and holds the solid rock, that rock is Jesus!

When I’m out fishing and the wind is against me, it is important that I have an anchor that can hold me steady while I’m trying to remain productive. All of us whether on water or on dry land have experienced times when the winds were against us. Like the old gospel songwriter said, “like a ship that’s tossed and driven, battered by the angry sea,” we have all been at the mercy of the wind.

I was watching footage of the Carnival Cruise Ship that lost its power and the four thousand people aboard were just drifting for days with little food, no plumbing, no air. One woman began to cry as she recounted the terrible ordeal. She said, “The wind just took us where it wanted, we almost gave up hope.”

The Apostle Paul was on a ship that was powerless in tremendous storm called the “Northeastern.” The wind threatened to break the ship up. They threw their cargo overboard, tied ropes underneath the ship, and dropped four anchors. The last thing they did was prayed for daylight.

Have you ever been there before. You got rid of everything you could think of that was dragging you down, you paid off what you could pay off, you did what you could do and the only thing left was just pray that you would make it to the morning. Paul said they dropped four anchors. What are the four anchors you need to drop that will hold you until the morning?
  1. Belief. He or she who prays must do so believing that God is able. It is impossible to please God without faith.
  2. Endurance. Weeping may endure through the night but Joy comes in the morning. Sometimes the only thing you can do in a storm is to wait it out.
  3. Courage. When the disciples were in a storm on their little boat, Jesus came walking to them on the sea and he said, “Take courage, it is I!” Sometimes when the storms of life are raging we have to take courage that Jesus will come and see about us.
  4. Prayer. Prayer is the anchor that holds us close to God so that we will not drift through the night. Paul prayed through the night that they would see the daylight. While you are praying, God is working.
No matter what storm you are facing right now, I suggest to you this morning to drop four anchors and pray for daylight. It’s morning time and the storm is about to break.

Dear Father,

 Keep us through this storm so that we can experience the break of day. I know that you have not bought us this far to leave us! I feel the breaking of day.

In Jesus Name,


No Chains Please!

Acts 26:29
Paul replied, “short time or long—I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

This Joy that I have, the world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away. The peace and Joy that come from Following Jesus is one of the greatest feelings on earth. Once you experience the transformation of the Holy Spirit, it’s something you want everyone to have. The conflicting consequence is that coupled with that experience is the cost of commitment.

There is a cost to be a Follower of Jesus. Because Jesus teachings often go against cultural norms, there is a chance of persecution, isolation, and even chains. You feel great on the inside while experiencing persecution on the outside, whereas, if you don’t have Jesus all could appear well on the outside while you are in bondage on the inside. The good news is that he or she whom the Son sets free is free indeed.

Paul had been arrested and put in chains for preaching Jesus. He stood before King Agrippa telling his story of how Jesus had met him on the road to Damascus. Paul had met the risen Savior live and in person! Paul asked King Aprippa if he believed and the King asked him, “Do you think you can persuade me in such a short time to become a Christian?!” Paul said, “I wish you and everybody listening could become what I am minus the chains.”

It’s amazing that many young rappers want to get some chains as the first sign of success but Paul says, “I want you to have everything but the chains.” If anybody should know the weight of chains it’s African-Americans who have survived the legacy of slavery only to be introduced to a new slavery via the prison system. We have glorified chains without looking at the painful symbolism behind those chains. Paul says I want you to have everything that comes with knowing Jesus but these chains. What Paul was saying in essence was:
  1. I want you to have a relationship with Jesus without being persecuted by religious people. I think more people would come to Christ if they didn’t have the weight of mean religious people to contend with.
  2. I want you to believe in Jesus without being beat up for what you believe. More people would come to Jesus if we didn’t use God’s word as a club to beat people who don’t believe what we believe.
  3. I want you to experience Salvation without having to serve a sentence in Prison. It’s unfortunate that some people can’t surrender to Jesus unless they are in jail or prison.
  4. I want you to experience the freedom in Christ without being weighed down by opposition.
Paul knew his chains were a consequence of what he had done in persecuting other Christians before he became one. He put them in jail, beat them, and even condoned killing them. Paul knew his chains were not a litmus test for Christianity. We all must bear a cross but we all don’t have to be chained. Live your life unchained but connected to Jesus.

Dear God,

Thank you for sending Jesus to set me free. I choose today to live my life unchained, and to freely share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In His name,

I've Got to Finish the Race!

Acts 20:24
I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s Grace.

Today, begins the spiritual trek towards Easter known as Lent. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.

According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan.[2][3] Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.[4]

During these 46 days we get back into “Spiritual Shape” to finish the race. The race is a metaphor for our Christian pilgrimage that begins when we accept Jesus to the day that we die. The race is not given to the swift or to the strong but to those who endure to the end.

The apostle Paul gives us a prescription for what our 40 days of consecration should look like in order to finish the race:
  1. Take a sober look at your life. This is a time of introspection. What God has done for us outweighs the value of our own selfish agenda for our lives. We owe God everything. Jesus died that we might live for God.
  2. We must have a renewed determination to finish the race. We got off to a good start but somebody or something cut in on us. It’s time to get back on track. If you fell off from regularly attendance in worship, from reading your bible, from giving, from serving it’s time to get back to where you were. Finish what you started.
  3. We must testify to the Gospel of God’s Grace. Other people need to hear what God has done in your life. This coming Friday we are starting a movement called, “Follow Me.” I want to challenge you to get your friends to start following you as you follow Jesus. This Friday ask your friends to Follow @NDCCMemphis on Twitter so that they can learn how to Follow @Jesus for the next 40 days.
Dear God,

I’m ready to get back in the race. I want other people to know just how good you’ve been to me and how good you can be to them. Use me to get my friends to Follow Jesus as I do my best to follow him myself. I’m ready to finish the race.

In Jesus Name,


Is Jesus Bad for Business?

Acts 19:27
There is danger not only that our trade (business) will lose its good name but also that our (false) god will be robbed of her divine majesty.”

As a pastor, I am often asked as one of God’s representatives to bless new businesses or homes. Everyone who is a follower of Christ wants to know that Jesus is with them when they start something new. Many new homes and businesses that are blessed and submitted to God’s covering will often hang a popular scripture on their wall that reads, Joshua 24:15

15 “If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”

On the other hand there are others who are threatened by Jesus because they believe he is bad for business. Many times the teachings of Jesus run counter cultural to the values of people doing business and Jesus becomes a threat to the success of what they are doing.

Demetrius was a silversmith who made a lot of money making shrines to the goddess Artemis. When Paul came to town preaching about the one and only true and Living God, people started turning from purchasing idol’s from Demetrius to going to church to hear Paul preach about Jesus. Demetrius made a lot of money selling these idols and he turned the people against Paul by saying his preaching was bad for business.

Jesus is bad for business if…
  1. What you are selling competes with who he is.
  2. If you are taking people away from God and not closer to him.
  3. If you are selling something that makes a living for you but kills the people you serve.
  4. If what you are selling glorifies false gods while taking away Glory reserved for God.
Paul never preached against Artemis or tore down their business. Look at verse 37: “You have brought these men here though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. “ The mob was ready to kill these men because they thought Jesus was bad for business but when they realized that they were just preaching Jesus they realized that they couldn’t be mad if the people chose Jesus over something that no longer fulfilled their needs. They had to look at their business instead of blaming Jesus.

You don’t have to attack bad business just preach about the goodness of Jesus and the customers will choose for themselves. Choose this day whom you will serve, if god is God then serve him. If false gods work for you serve them, but as for me and my house we will worship God and serve Jesus!

Dear God,

Keep me focused on my Father’s business. You have given me a great work to do and I will not be distracted until I have finished what you called me to do. I must be about my Father’s business!

In Jesus Name,

Struggle is Necessary

Acts 14:22
Strengthening the Disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith they said, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

Anything worth having comes with a challenge. Everything I have obtained in life came as a result of a struggle. Malcolm X, one of the front line warriors in our struggle for Civil Rights, once said, “ If there is no struggle there is no progress.” Malcolm actually quoted Fredrick Douglas, a former slave, who would go on to be a catalyst for reconstruction in America post-slavery. Both men used the phrase, “no struggle no progress” in the context of striving to create a more just society for their people in a country that had not recognized Africans in America as equal.

On our way to equality we have experienced so much struggle, blood, sweat, and tears; we’ve made tremendous progress but have a long way to go. In our individual pursuit for God’s Kingdom, we as believers are striving for a world that is filled with Justice, influenced by the Righteous, and controlled by the merciful. As we are pursuing this world “not made by hands” we must realize that hardships will come with the pursuit.

The devil is not just going to let us walk into the Kingdom of God without putting up resistance but we shouldn’t stop when we meet with it. The Apostle Paul said it best, “because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me!” (I Corinthians 16:9)
  1. We must press through resistance. Resistance is anything that comes against you walking through the door of opportunity God has presented to you to be effective. Resistance is a good sign that you are close to actualizing God’s will for your life.
  2. Keep Pray Until Something Happens. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
  3. Get back up when you get knocked down. 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city.
Dear God,

I am determined to go forward into what you have called me into. I’ve come too far to turn around now. Give me the strength to press through this resistance to get to your Kingdom.

In Jesus Name,