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,