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,


Say Something Good

Acts 13:15
Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.

My mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything good to say about somebody than don’t say anything at all.” The world is filled with so much negativity already; we don’t need to pollute it any further with our toxic words.

I think that’s why I don’t like watching reality TV shows anymore. I’m tired of all of the negativity. Sometimes, I can’t listen to the radio because of all the violence and animosity. Nas was interviewed on Chelsea Lately about the constant beef in Hip Hop. He was asked what it was like when he went to the Grammy’s and he saw other artist that he or others may have disrespected in a song. “Do you just say hey how are you doing and act like nothing happened?” Nas laughed and said, “No you have to live by what you put out there. The Hip Hop industry is a competitive industry where people are just concerned about being number one, constantly.”

I remember Hip Hop prophets like Chuck D who used to encourage us with songs like, “Brother’s going to work it out and it takes a nation of millions to hold us back.” If you have anything encouraging to say please speak!
  1. Use your words to build up not tear people down. Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29
  2. If you get the mic say something that gives life. Proverbs 18:21NCV What you say can mean life or death. Those who speak with care will be rewarded.
  3. Study before you speak. Acts 13:15 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak."
  4. If you don’t have anything good to say be quiet. Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them.
Dear God,

Use me to encourage not discourage. Cleanse my heart so that when my mouth opens, only good things come out.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It Hurts So Bad, But It Feels So Good

Psalm 15:1, 4

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind

When it hurts so bad, when it hurts so bad why’s it feel so good?
What you want might make you cry what you need might pass you by
If you don’t catch it,
If you don’t catch it,
And what you need ironically
Will turn out what you want to be
If you just let it
--Lauryn Hill, When It Hurts So Bad

I’ve been told that my heart is too big. I love real hard, it’s just who I am. I have learned over the years to be more careful in how I love but it has not stopped me from loving. God honors our efforts at love. I think it’s the one thing that God can identify with us on the most. God loves us until it hurts. Just ask Jesus.

How can something hurt but feel good at the same time? When you know that you have done something for the right reason it eases the pain of following through on your commitment to love. There are promises or oaths we make that are tempting to break when we discover that the other person is not holding up on their end. However if we hold to our commitment even when it hurts God will see our commitment and reward it in the end. What you want might make you cry and what you need might pass you by but the commitment to keeping your part is the only variable you can control.

Why keep an oath that is hurting you?

  1. That which does not kill you makes you stronger.
  2. Your commitment to what is right might help the other person turn from wrong.
  3. Your name is at stake regardless of what they do. Protect your reputation, your credit, your name. you will know next time how much to promise or not promise.
  4. Your present suffering does not compare to your future Glory.
  5. If you break your promise you will lose your trust with others.
  6. To show that you have integrity.
  7. Because God will reward your faithfulness.
Dear God,

Help me to keep my oath even when it is hurting me. Give me the grace to press through to get to the completion of my promise so that I can move on to my victory in my next chapter. Thank you for sending Jesus to keep his promise to save me even when it hurt him immensely.

In Jesus Name,