Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Clear Oil

Exodus 27:20
Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed Olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning.

When I was a little boy I remember my Grandmother in the kitchen cooking up a storm; pots steaming, pans crackling, ovens glowing. She had a way in that kitchen! She always seemed to have something good to eat. On her stove was a jar that sat right in the middle of the activity. When the kitchen was calm this same jar remained on the stove. It was her cooking oil or what used to be oil, it was more like grease. It was a collection of Crisco, oil, bacon grease, fish grease all lumped together that she would use over and over. It wasn’t the healthiest way to cook but it got us through.

Now when my wife cooks she cooks with Extra-virgin Olive oil so that we can live healthier. Olive oil is natural oil that is obtained from the Olive fruit. In its purest form-extra virgin-an abundance of mineral and vitamins from the olive fruit are preserved; olive oil has been used as a medicine and beauty treatment for hundreds of years.

When God wanted to light up his sanctuary, he told Moses to command the people to bring in clear oil, pressed from the Olive. God wants to use us as his lights but we have to examine ourselves to see if we are clear oil or more like the jars of grease on Grandmama’s stove? Are we offering God a polluted praise? Are we giving God a conflicted conscious? Or are we giving him a Clear Conscious? God wants:
  1. Clear Oil—extra virgin olive oil is the best, the less it’s been touched the more nutrients and vitamins that are in it. The less that we’ve been touched by the wrong hands the better we are for God’s Holy uses. We need to give God some clear oil.
  2. Clear oil of pressed Olives. In order to get clear oil out of us we must be pressed, that is we will have to go through some things. It also means that we will have to press our way through some things to get to where God wants us to be. Those who are anointed are usually crushed.
  3. Light up the Sanctuary. God wants to use us so that others might be able to see him in the dark. Let the light of Christ illuminate your life from the oil of your devotion to him.
  4. So that the lamps may be kept burning. The light should never go out. God expects us to have clear oil, not polluted, so there will be a consistent representation of his Glory.
God is giving all of us a chance to get it together. He wants us to get rid of the jar of mess we’ve been cooking with and bring him some clear oil.

Revelation 2:5
Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Dear God,

Help me to present my body and life as clear oil. Use me to illuminate this dark world so that they might see the light of Christ shining through me. Today God, I present to you Clear Oil by having a Clear Conscious. Please accept my offering.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who's Gon' Stop Me?

Who Gon’ Stop Me?

Acts 5:38-39 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

Newton’s Law of Physics states that an object set in motion will remain in motion unless a force equal to or greater comes against it.

Every day we set out towards our goal to accomplish something noteworthy in our lives; whether it’s a pursuit of our daily bread, some big business deal, trying to reach our fitness goal, or reaching a business deadline. We all are trying to fight through resistance to get to where we need to be and do what we need to do.

Kanye West has a song called, “Who’s Gonna Stop Me?”  The lyrics go something like this:

This is something like the Holocaust
Millions of our people lost
Bow our heads and pray to the Lord
Till I die I’m going to “surely” Ball
Now who gon stop me?!

Kanye in his over-sized confidence sincerely believes that there is no other MC that can stop him in his pursuit of lyrical acclaim but as has been proven in the past, Kanye is his own worst enemy sometimes. The force that propels him and derails him at the same time is his EGO. Ego can work for us or against us. It can work against us if it E.G.O. (Edges God Out) or it an work for us if we E.G.O. (Exalt God Only).

The Apostles had been set out by God, they had been set in motion to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thousands of people were being saved, healed, and delivered. The religious leaders tried to put them in jail but God sent an Angel to let them out. The Apostles couldn’t be stopped; they went back in the temple preaching the Gospel. Since the religious leaders couldn’t control them they tried to kill them. One of the religious leaders named Gamaliel, stopped them and asked them, “who’s gon stop them?”
  1. If this is from human origin (Edging God Out), they will fail. If we set out to do something out of our ego it may succeed for a while but it will eventually come to a halt if God is not in it.
     2. If it is from God (Exalting God only) it can’t be stopped. No matter how much people want to
         stop you or block you, if God is the force behind your movement nothing can stop you from
         going forward. Just make sure:

                  a) You are prayed up. Bathing ourselves in prayer ensures that we are acting out of the
                      Holy Spirit and not our ego.
                  b) Get your ego out of the way. This is not about you getting attention but making sure  
                       that God gets all of the Glory.
                  c) Get ready for opposition. Anytime you are doing something for God you will get
                       resistance from religious and non-religious people.

                  d) Celebrate your suffering. Even after they let the Apostles go, they flogged them before
                       releasing them. The apostles rejoiced that they were worthy of suffering disgrace for
                       the sake of the Gospel. Antagonism accompanied by obedience is confirmation that
                       you are Exalting God Only. Rejoice!
                   e) Get Ready for Victory. After you press through resistance, victory is on the other side.
                       Get ready for God to use you in a mighty way today!

Dear God,

Thank you for counting me worthy to send me out to preach your Gospel. Nothing or Nobody is going to stop me from finishing what you called me to do. Father, keep your hands on us as you push us through to our destiny in you. Thank you for sending me in a New Direction!

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why Look for the Living Amongst the Dead?

Luke 24:5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the livng among the dead?"

Jesus' promise to us is that he came to give us life and life more abundantly. As Christians, we are supposed to be experiencing the Zoe life, that life that is full and vibrant. but many times believers settle for life that is devoid of light and lacks fulfillment, not because God doesn't want us to have it but because we have been looking in the wrong places. You cannot find life amongst the dead.

The Disciples were at the graveyard looking for Jesus' body after he had been crucified. Two Angels met them there and asked them why they were looking for Jesus when he was alive? I think the problem was that the disciples assumed that Jesus was dead so they went to a dead place. What assumptions are we under that keep us hanging out in dead places?

1. We assume that God is no longer actively involved in our day to day activity so we settle for dead places when in actuality God wants you to be experiencing new life. God is a God of New Mercies. Morning by morning, new mercies i see.

2. We assume that Jesus wants us to hang out in dead places until he comes back. The angels sent the disciples away from the graveyard to go tell the other disciples that Jesus was alive. What dead places do you need to leave so that you can go tell others that Jesus is still very much alive.

3. We assume that just because he's not there physically that he is not relevant spiritually. Jesus had to appear to the disciples to let them know that he is still alive. Sometimes, it is only when we gather together in "Living" Rooms that the Living Spirit of Christ shows up. That is why you should show up every Sunday to get a Live Experience of Jesus after being around dead people all week.

Dear God,

This morning i'm seeking a fresh expereince with you. I'm looking forward to experiencing your presence in my life this morning so that I can begin to live the abundant life that you promised me.

In Jesus Name,




What Did You Do with Your GreenDays?

Luke 23:31 For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?

The Word "Green" has become synonmous with being concerned with how we take care of the earth. More and More architechts are thinking "Green" when they construct buildings that have solar panels, and eco-friendly building materials. More and more cars are "Green" with electronic hybrids leading the way. People are beginning to think more about the environment now that the realities of global warming is a reality and no longer speculation. Storms like Sandy, and Hurricane Katrina are causing us to take this issue more seriously even to the point that the President mentioned it in his Inaugural address.

What we do with our Green Days will determine what will happen in years to come as a result of our neglect of the earth. Our pollution of the earth, our gas guzzling vehicles, and our scorching of the earth of it's natural resources has taken a toll. Like the earth, our lives are now feeling the effects of what we did in our "green" years. Our days as youth are our "green" years. What you do when you are young will determine what life is like when you are old. While you are tender and impressionable you should take advantage of that time so that when you get old and dry you will have something to show for your "Green" Days.

Jesus hanging from the cross during the end of his "green" days told the group of followers who were brave enough to be there at the end, "if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" What he meant was, if they can murder Jesus while he is with them performing miracles, signs, and wonders what will they do when he is no longer present?

The "Green" Days when America was open to the idea of God and Jesus as Lord are fast fading.  The days when America was a leading force in democracy and a financial safe haven are quickly evaporating. With all the prosperity God has allowed us we have forsaken the God of our Green years. If we can turn away from God during our Green years what will we do when the climate changes for worse?

1. Remember the Lord your God in the days of your youth.
2. Store up in your good years so when the bad years come you will have something to survive on.
3. Whatever you sow today you will reap tomorrow.
4. Do your part to take care of the earth through recycling, cutting down on pollution, planting trees.

Dear God,

Thank you for my Green Days. I pray that I will do everything in my power to Think Green and to keep you in the forefront of my mind in my good years so that when bad years come, I will have no regrets. You have been my provider and I trust that you will keep me even as climates change.

In Jesus Name,


I Lost My Way Not My Faith

Luke 22:31-32
The Message (MSG)
31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

It’s so easy to get turned around when you are trying to find your way, especially when you are driving in new areas. We experienced this on the staff retreat this past week when we were trying to find somewhere to eat in Georgia using our GPS. We trusted the voice on the device to get us where we were going but at times we were distracted by our own conversation or we missed our turn altogether. The voice was very forgiving in that she allowed us to make a legal U-turn when possible.

It’s the beginning of the year but how many of us have gotten turned around already? You can be headed in the right direction and get side-tracked so easily but the good news is that God allows U-turns. The enemy’s job is to get you side-tracked. Jesus told Peter, satan has asked to sift you, that is to separate all of who you are in God into distracted and diverted pieces.

It’s easy for us to lose our way and this is how; Satan tries to sift you or divide you. He tries to compartmentalize your life into separate rooms. There is your Spiritual self and your Physical self. There is your agenda and there is God’s agenda. It is only when we sync up with God’s will that we are able to get back on track.

We get back on track by:
  1. Prayer. Jesus told Peter that I am praying for you. Prayer helps us to stay connected to the voice of God in our lives. Prayer is like the voice on the GPS that lets us know we have missed our exit. Prayer is the USB cable that connects our device to our vehicle. We should pray for God to keep us on track even when we have our own sense of direction.
  2. Faith. Faith is being sure of what we hoped for and certain of what we do not see. If you ever lose your faith you will give up on pursuing where you were going. No matter how long it takes you have to have faith that what God has begun in you he will be faithful to complete. God is faithful even when we are not. We cannot give in or give out.
  3. Turn Back. Once God shows you how you have gotten off course, it’s up to you to make a Legal U-turn as soon as possible.
  4. Strengthen those that you left behind. Sometimes, the people who are best at giving directions are those that got lost but found their way back. David asked God to forgive him when he got distracted and committed adultery and murder. David’s promise to God was that if he got back to his place in God that he would teach “other” transgressors the ways of God.
Dear God,

Thank you for keeping me when I got off track. I am more determined to strengthen others who got side tracked, now that I have turned back. Thank you for taking me back!

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Giving You the Best that I Got

Luke 10:27

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and Love your neighbor as yourself.

I was listening to an old Anita Baker song the other day and she was talking to the love of her life through song telling him, “I’m giving you the best that I got.” I’ve heard that song before but this time it resonated in my spirit that we should be giving God the best that we have everyday of our lives. God the lover of our Souls deserves more than what we give him.

If we were to tell the truth about it we would have to change the scripture in Luke 10:27 to read something like this, “I love the Lord God half heartedly, and with a tainted soul and with left over energy and with a distracted mind and I love my neighbor when it’s convenient for me.”

God deserves our best not our leftovers. To effectively follow Jesus we have to give God the best that we got! It’s all or nothing. Jesus summarizes the commandments of God into two sentences when he challenges us to Give God the best that we got by loving God:

  1. With all your heart. Wherever your treasure is that is where your heart will be also. Whatever you treasure or value the most is what will get the best of your heart. Jesus should be the one we treasure the most because of who he is to us.
  2. With all your soul. Your soul is your innermost being. It’s that part of you that resonates with God. Your Soul should magnify God not you.
  3. With all your strength. God should get the best energy from you not what’s left over.
  4. With all your mind. In order to do this you need to Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
  5. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. We should treat people like we want to be treated no matter what race, sex, social classification they are in, we have a moral obligation to Love them.
Dear God,

Today, I’m going to give you the best that I have because of who you are in my life. I’m going to be intentional about giving you the best in every area in my life so that you can see that you come first in my life. I love you and I’m going to give you the best that I got!

In Jesus Name,


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Walk This Way

Luke 9:23
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

It’s a New Year and New You! This year, more than ever, you are determined to be all that God called you to be. For some of us, this path to righteousness is a new path and it is unfamiliar, but don’t let unfamiliarity and resistance stop you from going forward. This is the way you should go.

Jesus gave specific instruction for his disciples on how they were to come after him or to model his life. If we are going to be Disciples of Christ we must do the following 3 things:
  1. Deny Yourself. Delayed gratification and Self-Discipline are necessary if you want to reach a new level in your walk with Jesus. Everything that is lawful for you to do is not beneficial for you to do. During this 21 day fast we are learning the discipline of saying “no” to things we could have but choose not to for the sake of spiritual enlightenment. Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin, each victory will help you, some other to win.
  2. Take up your cross daily. Your cross is your particular burden of responsibility that gives God Glory in sacrifice for others. Your cross is your cause. Everyone has a cause that they are called to and everyday you must choose to pick it up.
  3. Follow Jesus. Following Jesus is active not passive. Following people on Twitter is passive. You don’t have to do what they say, go where they go, or even respond. When you follow Jesus you actively engage with what he says, thinks, and does. You are an active participant when you follow Jesus. #FF Jesus!
Dear God,

Thank you for teaching me how to walk this way. I am determined to follow you closer this year and truly be your Disciple.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Are You Receptive?

Luke 8:15
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

God gives bread to the eater and seed to the sewer. God gives us seed because he’s expecting us to do something with it. Everything we need God gives us in seed form. What’s amazing about a seed is that it is potential locked in something small that does not grow until it is deposited into the ground. God gives us potential harvests every year but the results are determined on whether or not we are receptive to the seeds God has sown.

Jesus said that there are four types of ground or people who receive the seed of God’s word every year. The seed is God’s word and the ground represents our heart. What happens to our seed is determined by the condition of our soil or our hearts. There are four kinds:
  1. Hard hearted people hear the word but because they are so indifferent and hardened by life experiences the devil comes to snatch the word or God’s seed before it can even take effect on their hearts.
  2. Emotional hearts. They get excited about the word but don’t make a connection through being relationally rooted. These are the people who get Goosebumps but don’t surrender to God. They come to church but don’t get connected to a small group and therefore no crop.
  3. Congestive heart failure. They are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures and never mature. So many other things are in their heart that God gets choked out.
  4. Good hearts. These are people whose hearts have been broken and they have removed things out of the way so that God can now come in.
    • They hear the word, they are not just listening but they actually hear God speaking to them.
    • Retain the word. They keep in mind and in their memory what God is saying. David said, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
    • They persevere. They keep going even when it gets hard. You don’t produce a harvest by just dropping the seed in the ground; you have to work that field! You have to keep going even when it gets hard.
    • They produce a crop. These people actually manifest fruit after they have allowed the word to work in their lives.
Dear God,

I’m receptive to the possibilities of producing a crop for you this year. My heart is in a good place and I’m ready to receive what you have planned out for me. Father take my heart and mold it, take my soul and transform it, I’m receptive to whatever you have for me this year.

In Jesus Name,

How Much Do You Love Him?

How Much Do You Love Him?

Luke 7:47
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven for she loved much, but he who has been forgiven little love little.

You can tell how much people love you based on how much they give you. It’s not the quantity of the gift but the quality of the gift. It’s easy to give gifts to our loved ones, spouses, children, and friends when we truly love them. As a matter of fact, the more they mean to you the more substantial the gift.

When we say we Love Jesus, our love for him should supersede our affections for anyone else. After all he is the one who gave his life for us he gave us eternal life in exchange for damnation. He hung, bled, and died for us. He forgave our sins. He paid a debt to God that we could never repay and for all those reasons I love him more than anything.

There is another woman that loved Jesus a whole lot! She was a woman with a bad reputation. She was the talk of the town and she had the nerve to show up uninvited to a private dinner with some perfume she bought for Jesus. Everybody looked and started whispering when she poured her perfume on him and started washing his feet with her hair! When the host questioned Jesus' anointing for letting this woman with a bad reputation that close to him, Jesus simply said, “Those who have been forgiven a whole lot give a whole lot, but those that think they don’t have anything to be forgiven are stingy.” (I paraphrased)

This woman loved Jesus a whole lot because she had been forgiven of a whole lot of sins. Look what she did:
  1. She bought an expensive bottle of perfume. When we love Jesus we should show up with a gift that cost us something.
  2. She stood behind him seeping. She had an emotional response for what Jesus had done for her. If he’s done anything for you, you ought to show some sign.
  3. She washed his feet with her tears and hair. She showed humility and adoration. The feet were the dirtiest part on a person’s body, especially since they walked everywhere on dirt roads, the hair was a woman’s Glory. She took her Glory and cleaned his filth. We ought not mind getting dirty for Jesus.
  4. She kissed his feet and poured perfume on them. She gave him sacrificial service. When we serve Jesus we should leave it all on the floor. A service that Jesus ought to leave a pleasing aroma.
Dear God,

I love Jesus so much because of what he did for me. I express my love by sacrificially giving back to you my time, talents, and tithe. I pray that the words of my mouth, the mediations of my heart, and my loving actions would be acceptable to you.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's Time to Produce

Luke 3:9
The Ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire

Every year we have to evaluate our lives to see what is working and what’s not working. There’s no need to keep anything in your life, business, or ministry that is no longer being productive, especially if it is taking up your resources. There is a season for everything and everybody in your life. When something or someone is no longer productive in your life it’s time for a necessary ending.

When John the Baptist preached that people should repent and be baptized to enter God’s kingdom, he warned them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. In other words our actions should reflect our commitment to change. Here we are at the beginning of a New Year and many people have made a commitment to change. We have repented from lifestyles that do not reflect the Holiness of God, but just like those people that came to John the Baptist we have to resolve to make a change. John told them to repent which means to turn away from, and then he told them to show fruits of repentance. Someone in the crowd asked John, “What things should we do?” That’s a good question for the New Year.

John told three groups of people three things they should do to produce fruit in their lives. Here they are:
  1. Everyday people: the man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one with food should do the same. (verse 11) Whatever resources we have we should share with those who have none.
  2. Tax collectors/politicians: Don’t collect anymore than you are required to. This sounds like the answer to the fiscal cliff. We should not overtax the poor. There should be equal and adequate taxation. (Verse 13).
  3. Military/police: Don’t extort money, and don’t accuse people falsely, be content with your pay. The police and military are called to protect and serve not to extort and exploit. (Verse 14).
Dear God,

Help me to be productive this year so that I will not be cut off. If you find any unproductive parts or people in my life please prune me so I can be more productive.

In Jesus Name,


You Mad Bro?

You Mad Bro?

If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “green with envy?” It means that a person wishes very much that you had what someone else has. Envy can have you mad at someone else for what they have attained or accomplished while overlooking your own abilities.

If we are not careful we can find ourselves turning into “green eyed monsters” resenting our brothers and sisters for the favor God is showing them. What’s crazy is that we are related, which means that we have the same capability of being accepted as they are. We should be happy for them but instead we can’t get past the fact that this particular season God favored them and not us. You mad bro?!

Cain and Able were brothers, son of Adam and Eve. They made an offering to the Lord. God looked with Favor upon Able’soffering but not Cain’s. This made Cain green with envy. He was mad at his own brother. God saw the condition of Cain’s heart and how he was turning into a monster. God tried to catch him before his anger got out of control by telling him he could be accepted too if he …

1. If you do what is right will you not also be accepted? Able gave God the fat portions from the best of his flock, which meant he had to sacrifice his best sheep. Able gave from his garden. Whether it was Cain’s motive or the quality of what he offered, we do not know why God favored Able’s over his Cain’s offering. But God obviously thought Cain didn’t do something right. There is no way to do the right thing the wrong way. We always have to check our motives and the quality of what we give God.

2. Cain could have learned from Able so that his offering would be accepted next time. Instead of being mad at someone’s achievement go learn from them so that you will be accepted next time

3. We must recognize when we are envious. When the Holy Spirit reveals envy in you, you should:

a. Address it. You know when you are envious. You start feeling angst toward someone because you think you should get what they got. Acknowledge your feelings.

b. Confess it. Whether it’s to God through prayer or a trusted confidant you need to confess how you feel.

c. Get Past it. God warned Able that if he did not master his sin, that it would destroy him. Cain didn’t master it and his envy caused him to murder his brother and become a restless wanderer.

Are you mad bro? Are you mad Sis? Identify why you are envious. Whether it’s fair or not they are shining bright right now but you have the same capability to shine bright when it’s your time if you put in the work for the right reason. Don’t be mad, master your sin and you too will be accepted.

Dear God,

Help me to get better not bitter. You have given me gifts just like my brother or sister. I pray I would do what’s right in your eyes so my gift will be pleasing and acceptable to you.

In Jesus Name,


What is this Child Going to Be?

What is this Child going to be?

Luke 1:66
Everyone who heard this wondered about it asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.

Watching your children grow up is an awesome gift and experience wrapped up in a mystery. You can see their little personality budding even at birth. I remember my son, Omari, coming out of his mother’s womb head first with his eyes open. It freaked me out! He came out with his eyes open, we named him, Omari Malik which means intelligent King. He graduates this year.

Last night at Watch Night service, Omari came up on stage at the end because he said, “I want to know God for myself.” As I looked at my son standing on the stage, it was like looking in the mirror 24 years ago when I accepted my call on New Year’s Eve. As I saw him standing there on stage I asked God, “What will this child be?”

I have never pushed my son into my shoes because I know God has his own plans for my son. Whatever purpose God has for him I will support. Just as Zechariah couldn’t make his son, John the Baptist, into a priest in the Temple, we cannot make our children choose our profession over their purpose. John was a prophet who God called to be a voice of one crying out in the wilderness. John chose the Wilderness over the sanctuary. John chose Camel skin garments over linen robes. John chose locust and honey over lamb and bread. John was like his daddy but different.

What role do we play as parents in the development of our child’s destiny?
  1. You name your children. Zechariah named his son, John, even though it was not customary to name your child something that didn’t previously exist. We purposely gave our son an African name with meaning so that he could live up to his name. Name your children what you want them to become.
  2. Dedicate your Children. Zechariah dedicated his son in the eighth month. Make sure you bring your children back to the house of God so that they have a good spiritual foundation.
  3. Raise your children. Train up a child in the way they should go and when they grow old they will not depart from it. What you do at home with your child is probably more important than what you do with them at church or in school. Your home is your first institution of higher learning for your child.
  4. Release your children. After you have poured yourself into them, you have to let them go to pursue their purpose knowing that God’s hand is on them.
Dear God,

Thank you for my sons. I pray that I would be a good father and launch them into their destiny. Help me to model for them what it means to be a Disciple of Jesus and release them into their purpose. Thank you for the gift of raising my children, now I release them to you.

In Jesus Name,