Thursday, November 29, 2007

Revival in Brownsville!

This week I am preaching at the St. James Church, where Rev. Leroy Roundtree serves as pastor. This is my seventh year with St. James and I love being here! I look forward to this time every year. I really love the Roundtree family, Pastor Roundtree is just a jewel and simply has a natural gift for pastoring God's people. I see the growth each and every year. One of the things that really stood out to me this year is that the main ingregdient to their growth is is 'true' passion for prayer. He believes in the power of prayer. He sort of reminds me of one of my FAVORITE preachers, Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle. Roundtree is a giant of a man and preacher!!!

For the past several years, it has given me to opportunity to renew myself, read, reflect, and be revived. I am able to look at what's been accomplished the past year, both personally and ministerially and pray and evaluate where the Lord is guiding and leading me, my family, and the church the coming year. As He speaks to me, I realize that there are some harsh realities in terms of things that need to be done, where we must go, and YES--some mistakes I have made personally and ministerially. Last night the Lord really shined on the worship service and upon the message. It was a youth night and I spoke from I Peter 2:9 from the subject 'I'm About To Take my Position'. It was a very simple message and God is allowing me to free myself from the manuscript....comfortably though with much prayer. My messages involve a lot of information; and I feel that it is ALL extremely important. However--(though I have been preaching for some time now) the Holy Spirit is really teaching me how to follow His lead and feel the pulse of the people in preaching--and when to give more or less. For this I am grateful.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Today in my seminary class, we completed our semester's teaching agenda. This gave opportunity for us to glean from this sage and giant of a man we call Dr. Overton. The course is entitle 'Life and Ministry of the Pastor'. One of the things he mentioned was moving from one church to another and how he knew when the time had come to move on and when to stay in certain places that the Lord had planted him. One of the things that happened to be mention in our discussion is--being able to discern when where you are and the obstacles that you face are merely a 'time of testing' and when it is God raising the red flag that it is time to move. I think many of us who are saved struggle with this. In my transparency--I must ADMIT that I, too, struggle with this from time to time. I consider myself a person of strong resolve and persistent (though sometimes wavering) faith.

Cornerstone has face many, many obstacles. From those who have come and those whom have gone; from obstacles in finding space and a location; to finances and just simply 'people problems', lack of commitment, leadership issues, etc. My story is probably all too common among pastor, people, and many congregations. Of course, I would be to differ and suggest we are a unique situation--why? Because we are a NEW church. We don't have any history--so we don't have the credit to where banks trust us; we don't have a track record--so many of our members will not put their name on the line to make it happen; we are predominantly a young church (in age)--so there is very little commitment and giving. Why? They are doing work, school, and leisure--and usually houses, cars, etc. come first. I could go on and on but I think it's clear what I am trying to say--unless there is RESOLVE, we can easily interpret that this is NOT God, close up the church and dissolve. Others may say--this is a season of testing. I used to claim that I knew 100% for sure. I do know that HE called me to do this; but like a marriage--it is a partnership--no one is an island. No man can pastor a church by himself. We have about 5 to 10 strong, committed Christians who are being discipled under the leadership of Cornerstone--where I serve. I thank God daily for these people in particular, though I pray daily for all the members of Cornerstone. It is my sincere prayer that more of our 'attenders' will see the urgency of what is still deemed 'a new ministry' who 'has yet to fly on her own' that they are urgently needed. It is crucial and critical. Until God shows me differently--I will contine to see this as a time of testing for 'me' personally--if for no one else, I am growing spiritually and I have seen and experienced enough at Cornerstone alone to write a book!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We had an awesome time in Worship today! It was a COLD day in Houston. It was one of the only times I can remember where I wanted to stay in my socks and not go out. OF course, I thought about the season of Thanksgiving and all that the Lord has done and how He has blessed me in so many ways--I COULD NOT stay in the house that He blessed me with and get up and eat breakfast that He provided, without first telling HIM 'Thank You' for just being Who He is. He is an awesome God.

As far as I could tell--MOST of our parishioners FELT and acted UPON the way I initially felt: they stayed home! I am convinced that some had to work, others were out of town; but I know quite a few were simply missing in action. Add to this, the woman who brings many people to church with her is not doing well right now; and we are praying for her! It was a mixture of many things. All in all--it can be quite discouraging; the enemy can often make you concentrate on trivial matters. Why do I say this? Though the attendance at Cornerstone was low, the overall spirit was high--the Lord moved in the place where we worship each week. More than this--he moved in US. For this I remain continually grateful.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Evan Almighty........

I won't be long now; it is Friday evening. I can not believe that Sunday is almost here; and I am not yet ready for Sunday's message. I have a lot that needs to be done. I will be out this week for revival and I need to get together a church evaluation. I had the boys again today; and they did NOT let me even get ANY alone time to pray, meditate, and study. Needless to say, tomorrow will be an interesting day.

I did have the chance to watch Evan Almighty this evening with D'Ani. Though I am a Jim Carrey fan and actually enjoyed Bruce Almighty and its plot much more; I could identify MORE with this movie! This movie, Evan Almighty, allowed me to see so much of myself. I often feel as if I am misunderstood in some of the decisions I make, particularly with regard to ministry, though I KNOW when God is speaking. I can't really get too much into the movie without giving it all away. But if someone reads this blog-just think of me if and when you watch the movie--THAT'S ME!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Thankful

I have so much for which I am thankful. I just want to shine a little light on a few:

1. My salvation. Ephesians 1:1-11 is so precious to me. I thank Him for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ; and for the rich and meaningful relationship that I see growing stronger on a regular and consistent basis.

2. D'Ani & The Boys. I can not say enough about these 3 people. They mean the world to me! I love them beyond any earthly degree. They make life so enjoyable. Add to this, my boys are such entertainers and so very funny. D'Ani-she is really the best thing God has EVER placed on this earth.

3. My ENTIRE family and....friends. From my parents, in laws, grandparents, etc. I love them all. The few friends, far and near, whom I haven't met by chance or happenstance. These friends are 'traffic signs' that God really loves me. I thank the Lord for them.

4. The Cornerstone Church family. To say that we have had our struggles, setbacks, and disappointments--in MY view, would be an understatement. But the people and families at our church a near and dear to me and will always have a special place in my heart and life.

5. The CALL. This is big for me. In a time when the process and the pain doesn't appear to match the promise-I know one thing for sure-I'M CALLED!!! I am glad, humbled, and honored that the LORD called someone like me. I wouldn't trade the call for anything in this world.

6. My enemies and my haters! Eventually, I will draft a thank you letter to them. I am extremely grateful for the Lord allowing and permitting this very vital people group into my life.

7. His WORD. The grass will withers; the flowers shall fade; the WORD of our God shall stand forever!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve

Today was both a good and hectic day. I wasn't necessarily extremely busy; just had Kai Livingston all day; he was out of school-though I still had to get things done. Then I had to take him to the barber shop. Add to this, Kaden Lexander had to be picked up early from daycare. All went well; we had a good day. Kai and I went to Blockbuster, which is something Kai really enjoys doing with his 'old man'. I was going to go by myself; but Kai is always trying to sneak in some extra time. For some reason, he LOVES going to the 'movie place', or any place, with me. I must admit-he is crazy about his 'Daddy'. I am both grateful and humbled by this fact. It is my prayer that I will ALWAYS make him proud; it is my prayer that he will always see me the way that I see my Daddy-as his HERO. The one regret I have today is not spending more time with my Heavenly Father today in prayer, study, and devotion. I will try to do better...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Words on Gratitude & Thanksgiving, Part 2

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
--H.U. Westermayer

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?
--George Canning

Some complain that roses have thorns—others rejoice that thorns have roses!

Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.
--William Law

If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.
--Robert Quillen

I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.
--Kahlil Gibran

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
--John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thanksgiving to God is an exuberant response to giving me HIS everything . . . by giving Him MY everything.
–Martha Kilpatrick

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
--W.T. Purkiser

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
-- Cicero

Monday, November 19, 2007

Words on Gratitude & Thanksgiving, Part 1

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!
--Henry Ward Beecher

Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It's a way to live.
--Jackie Windspear

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.
--Estonian Proverb

You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.
--Charles Haddon Spurgeon

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
--G.K. Chesterton

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"
--William A. Ward

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
-- William Shakespeare

Gratitude consists of being more aware of what you have, than what you don’t.

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
--Cynthia Ozick

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
--Harper Lee

To know the value of generosity, it is necessary to have suffered from the cold indifference of others.
--Eugene Cloutier

Only a stomach that rarely feels hungry scorns common things.

Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.
--Henry Clay

How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child's personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.
-- Sir John Templeton

Gratitude ... goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
--Henri J. M. Nouwen

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
--Thornton Wilder

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it
--William Arthur Ward

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
--Melody Beattie

Thank God every day when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know.
-- Basil Carpenter

When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.
--Chinese Proverb

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel.
--Author Unknown

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
-- Aesop Fables

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Praise God for another Lord's day! Last night and this morning we had non-stop rain. I do not think this is an epidemic, but some of our parishioners were allergic to the rain this day. The good news is-many who attend on very rainy days are often serious about worship. Praise and Worship were both uplifting and empowering. For me, I felt extremely fatigued and, in my view, struggled with communicating the message. We shared a message from 2 Kings 4 that deals with the Shunamite woman and her son. Yes-I did preach the truth and conveyed the message of the text. I tried to deal with the idea of 'remaining calm when life seems cruel.' All in all-I know that the message could have come across better; but God breathed upon the message despite my fatigue. Incidentally, though attendance was down; giving was kind of better than it has been. I am unsure if this is simply a 'Cornerstone' thing-but when attendance is the highest, giving is the lowest. I have tried to figure this out for the life of me; but it is not MY church. I do know that the economy we are living in is extremely disturbing and we have all, but declared a recession. There is no excuse for failing to give God the tithe and offering-but there are many within our congregations (across the nation) who have allowed this systemic infiltration perpetrated by the 'Administration' (from 3 dollar gas to raising electricity while minimum wage stays the same) to affect the first priority-putting God first. I have noticed--that EVERYTHING is raising in price...everything, of course...except paychecks. Well, unless you work for Halliburton. This has, no doubt, affected many churches-I am sure. I am praying for a breakThrough! It is not my intention to be political in this blog; though I think that the record in scripture will show--that the prophet/preacher didn't always agree with the current 'Administration'. I do pray for our nation (these yet to be United States), our churches (whom Christ gave His life), and for the Bush!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I do love quotes. When I have nothing to say I find it helpful to add someone else's interesting thoughts to my blog. I came across two that I thought I would add to today's blog. I have read and have often quoted the second by St. Francis; but I just happened upon the Lily Tomlin quote, which I WILL be using at some point. Typically on my blog my quotes are interrelated; these two are not related in any way. If you see any relation at all-please comment!!! I'd love to read your thoughts....
"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat"
(Lily Tomlin).
"Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words"
(Francis of Assisi).

Friday, November 16, 2007

A note about PROBLEMS

1. Problems often provide us with greater opportunities
2. Problems can promote our spiritual maturity (Ps 105:16ff)
3. Problems prove our integrity (1 Pt 3:15)
4. Problems produce a sense of dependence
5. Problems prepare our hearts for ministry (more empathetic)
- Source Unknown.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bible Study

This evening at TNT (Thursday Nights Together) we talked about reconciliation. This is a loaded subject that really helped me both ministerially and personally. Interestingly-it lead to the idea of church discipline. In my reading, I am discovering that church discipline is extremely vital and necessary to the growth of any church. I am praying that the Lord will grow me in this area; namely because this can be a struggle for me. In my view, church discipline is hard! It is something you would love to delegate to 'a hired gun'. I want to be bold enough to both ASSESS and ADDRESS sin the pervades the life of our church. This is, NO DOUBT, the church's greatest hindrance-SIN.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

...For for THOUGHT...

Always have a book at hand, in the parlor, on the table, for the family; a book of condensed thought and striking anecdote, of sound maxims and truthful apothegms. It will impress on your own mind a thousand valuable suggestions, and teach your children a thousand lessons of truth and duty. Such a book is a casket of jewels for your housebold.
Tryon Edwards
Great truths are portions of the soul of man;Great souls are portions of eternity.
James Russell Lowell

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Momma!

God has blessed me with a wonderful mother! I call her 'Momma'! I praise God for her life, her witness, her encouragement, and understanding. She has been a constant source of strength and prayerful support for our entire family.
There were many times I saw her kneel on the side of her bed and toil before the Lord in prayer; times when I saw her crying tears of joy and sometimes pain for her children (never me!) and others; so many stories she shared with me early in my formative years out of the Word of God that stick with me to this day. She shared with me the plan of salvation, and the Lord (unbeknown to me) used her as an instrument that influences my preaching, teaching, and speaking ability even today. Among many other things, she enrolled me into speech classes while I was still very young in age and was insistent that I remain there, in the midst of all of the embarrassment and humiliation I received from my classmates.
Little did I know that SHE knew that I would one day proclaim God's Word and teach His people. Traveling with me everywhere I went as a teenage preacher, nurturing me, loving me, supporting me, constructively critiquing me, and being present through some of the darkest moments in my life that I will NEVER forget (even in eternity)-This woman is a true gift cut from God's BEST cloth! I LOVE her and always will!!!

Happy Birthday Momma!!! Proverbs 31......

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

This has been a day full of things to do; but again I say-the blog is my commitment. I am overly committed to the FEW things that I do (though I wouldn't term it in the OCD category); I do think it may be a Pullam thing, but not sure. I want my blog to be helpful, meaningful, and insightful. More than this--I want to be both truthful and relevant.

I thank God for our veterans! I have not had the opportunity to serve our country in the capacity of being in the Armed Forces. However, I think that our veterans are often overlooked, underpayed, under-appreciated, and typically forgotten after their term(s) of duty have concluded. This is a special day for me because my father, along with my 2 brothers, father in law...served in the Air Force. Several of our members are in the military. I have been touched by all of these individuals. I honor them. We honor them. The sacrifices they have made in their families, personal lives, etc. for their country are unmeasurable.

Again...Happy Veteran's Day to all of our Veteran's, past and present!

....Spiritual Plagiarism...

A couple of months ago I got in trouble (I talked about it in a previous blog); I wrote a 10 page Greek exegesis term report. I was cornered by my professor because, though I had a page full of footnotes, endnotes and references-there was a sentence in my paper that I did NOT reference. It was a sentence talking about the texture of the original masoretic text in scripture; I could have ONLY wrote that sentence had I traveled to the Holy Land and observed that particular text/papyrus myself. It is what he pointed out in the handbook as, you guessed it, PLAGIARISM. I was speechless and did NOT have a defense. It was accidental on my part and he saw my sincerity, I suppose. Plagiarism is defined as claiming, or implying, authorship for work and applying it to our own without giving CREDIT to the original author and his work....

Wow!!! How often have we done this spiritually? How often have we been guilty of spiritual plagiarism?
* How many times have we prided ourselves in something without giving GOD credit?
* How often have we boasted about our jobs, finances, families, and deliverance without giving Him the credit?
* How often have we mistaken our paychecks as OUR money and neglected to give Him HIS portion and failed to give HIM credit?

That's Spiritual Plagiarism...!!!

Just a thought--but I think it'll preach!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We had a good worship experience this morning! There is no other way to put it-God showed up and we had church. I have theological views that work against that expression: 'we had church'. But--I hope its only taken at surface value and what I intend to say is clear. I don't know exactly how to describe what the Lord is doing in our local fellowship; there are certainly changes that HE is making. It is slow growth at this point; but it is sure growth. As my eldest preaching brother has noted: sometimes...if it GROWS fast it BLOWS fast! Therefore, I am learning to appreciate what God has given me and see it as a gift. This slow growth for me allows ME to grow in the process. Attendance today was the best I have seen in a while. The spirit of the church was amazing and we were on one accord. Well-from what I can tell. I've learned to weed out negative spirits, personalities, pessimistic personalities and the like. I can't ruin my day because of trivial people who simply have a problem with themselves and God; it's not my problem. No decisions were made in terms of someone walking forward; though I had an unusual burden on my heart sensing that the Lord was speaking to someone to come forward. That burdens me; but I did my part. Sunday School went well. D'Ani taught today on the subject of 'Leadership'. She did an outstanding job! We continued a teaching series that we've been in for Sunday School entitled 'When God Builds a Church'. In our general Sunday School we had 23 in attendance today! This probably means nothing to many local congregations. But when we're accustomed to having no more than 9 or 10 in Sunday School-this is nothing short of a miracle, as far as I'm concerned. Again I am sure that the adversary is not pleased-but I am committed to seeing all of this through! God has a specific plan and purpose for Cornerstone, and He will have HIS way in our church.

Here is the skeleton for today's message:

Subject: Take Possession
Text: Genesis 12:1-2

Opening Premise: It is the desire of God that every child of His live in the fulfillment and purpose for which they were born.

Thesis: God has an amazing plan in store for you; it is up to you to follow His plan through your obedience.

- You are already in a position for prosperity and in your destiny.
- God’s definition of prosperity is different from man’s definition of prosperity.
- What prosperity is not (cars, wardrobe, etc.)
- Prosperity is a condition of existence that allows you to walk in the fulfillment of who God has designed you to be.

* Abram is already positioned for greatness (verse 1)
* Abram is positioned irrespective of his history
* His father Terah (Genesis 11:31 -32)
i. He set out for Canaan
ii. He settled in Haran (metropolitan city)
iii. He grew comfortable living short of Canaan (the promise)

- God is not in your stuff; He resides in your obedience.
- Be careful about becoming complacent in your Haran.
- There is always danger when your pursuit of stuff gets in the way of God’s glory.

Don’t settle too soon
It’s too soon to quit
Don’t remain where you are on the basis of how good a thing may look; because that may not be where God wants you.
When you stop before you arrive where God wants you—you may look good but you will die.

Transitional Statement: God puts you in position; YOU have to take possession.

Probing Question: How do I take possession in order that I can be all that the Lord has created me to be?

I. In order to take possession you have to change your environment. (verse 1a)

II. When God pronounces possession on you it is NOT when you have it. (verse 1b)

III. If you manage it, God will make it happen. (verse 2)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Prayer

My earnest prayer is that the Lord will smile upon our worship experience on tomorrow. It is also my prayer that He will bless our Sunday School experience. Ultimately, I pray that He will shine upon the message and move up the hearts of his people to be both receptive and responsive to His Word and worship. I pray for all Christ-centered congregations as they gather this weekend to experience the most important time during the course of the entire week-the assembling together with the saints.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I wanted to post some blogs that have really caught my attention. These guys have some good information/insights! I admire how they are so consistent with blogging every day. I really love the blog. It should be a sacrifice. Though I, like so many pastors, have a strange schedule and many surprises-this is one of my forms of expression as well as an amazing outlet. By the way-I think the Apostle Paul would have been a blogger if he were living in the 21st century!

Pastor Scott's Blog - Originality, Authenticity, Creativity

Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bible Study

Tonight we continued our teaching, discussion, and dialogue on the subject of 'Forgiveness.' We will conclude the study next week during Bible Study with teaching on reconciliation. We had a good, insightful study. Attendance was about the same. I am praying for an increase in Bible Study attendance and participation. The upside is that Sunday School bible studies are increasing some. All in all-I praise God for those who were present and those who were both helped and left our study with a urgency to forgive their offenders, experience God's forgiveness, and if they have been the offender-to take the appropriate steps toward reconciliation.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.
- Henry David Thoreau
Be your character what it will, it will be known, and nobody will take it upon your word.
- Lord Chesterfield
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.
-Thomas Paine

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Carlton Pearson...Exalted? Exactly!

Where in the world can I begin with this one? Whatever I say-I am certain it won't really convey what I am feeling. I've just watched a new series that began a few weeks ago, BET's Exalted. I am not only disturbed, but saddened by this great potential-turned-directionless man. My wife can attest to the fact that I have either Tivo'd, recorded, etc. things about Calrton Pearson. Let me say, I love Pearson-he is one of my myspace friends-and he is a great singer and seems to be a 'nice guy'. What disturbs me about Pearson is his uncanny way of mixing truth with error. He says things that are sarcastic and then tries to use it as a premise for what he is really trying to push-the "gospel" of inclusion. No matter how judgmental it sounds--his stance is clearly heretical.
There are just some things that make no sense to me: he says that hell doesn't exist; he states that EVERYONE (EVERYONE) is going to Heaven; he states that God doesn't condemn anyone, at anytime, for anything. This all sounds good and, believe me, the fleshly part of me WISHES this were true. The Bible is clear in Both New and Old Testament that Hell is real....period! Pearson thinks it's a metaphor. That's heresy! Everyone will go to Heaven? I really don't understand how he gets this so I will not expound. God will not condemn anyone at any tme for anything? Okay--I am assuming his basis is the scripture which states, '....there is therefore now no condemnation'. Or perhaps his premise is Christ's declaration that ' is finished'. But Pearson should be more educated than this; he should know context, the security of the 'believer', the all sufficiency of Christ for those who are IN Christ, etc. Pearson's wife said something that really stuck with me in her interview on Exalted. She stated that when her husband announced his views, people began to walk away and it was then, in her words, '...I began to see the lack of love in the church'. Now I will be the first to admit that the church isn't all that it should be. And there are a lot of issues, including lack of love, etc. in the church. But wrong is simply that...wrong! Examining 1 Corinthians 13, I see nothing in that chapter stating that Christian believers are to condone wrong. At the end of the interview, he said that he did all of this and has gained his soul. Now--I don't make myself an authority. I don't! Maybe we will all get to heaven and discover that everybody who ever lived will be there. But if God is the God of the Bible that I read--that will not occur because God doesn't contradict Himself. One of the main 'interviewees' on Pearson was Tonex (Remember him?). I don't even have the time to talk about this misguided young man. For those who read this blog and sense anger. It is not that at all. It is "righteous indignation." I am not a politician; I speak as a proclaimer, preacher, pastor and prophet! The tragedy is this-many Christians are being led astray by this 'inclusion' theology. I consider this false doctrine to lead the bunch; namely because it appears to be so saturated in love and acceptance; when, in actuality, it is leading people astray.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Food for Thought

Nature and wisdom never are at strife.
It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.
Francois De La Rochefoucauld
The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.
William James

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunday School

I wanted to add a blog about our Sunday School. The last blog was long and I didn't want to make it any longer. We had an awesome Sunday School session today. I am really liking the direction and response we are getting from When God Builds a Church outline. Today one of our members, Mrs. Adrienne Richardson, did an awesome job teaching the class today. She is the wife of one of our ministers, Min. Steven Richardson-who is a gifted preacher by all accounts. I knew that she would do a good job-though I think she stated her 'nervousness', for the lack of a better word. I began with the introduction 2 weeks ago. Last week one of our men taught on the first principle, which is TRUTH. Today, Mrs. Richardson taught on the second principle, which is WORSHIP. By the way-she was the first worship leader at our church! I am looking forward to her sharing again in this capacity. I am excited about next week-my wife, D'Ani (Dee) will be teaching on the third principle, which is LEADERSHIP. I can think of no finer Christian to teach on such a subject; she is the consumate Christian leader. After all--look who she's married to!!! Enough now, Kaden is trying to get my attention. Be Blessed. :-)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Today in worship we had a glorious time in the Lord! I must say-the presence of God was not only with us in our worship experience; but we left there today with an emphatic "YES" to the question, 'Was God pleased with our worship toward Him today?' During our worship service today, God simply showed us that He is faithful, reliable, trustworthy, and worthy! My prayer on the way to church this morning was simply asking God to meet us there; my personal struggles with impatience, discontent with mediocrity, etc. - have really pushed my faith to its optimum peak. Though I pastor a small church-I am insistent that we fight the spirit of small-mindedness. Today-though attendance was low (as it has been since moving out of Pearland-well, actually--it has been low since we started!), God showed me that He honors faithfulness toward Him. This was another reminder that He will keep His Word. I am excited about how the Lord is growing and stretching our fellowship; there are times of misunderstanding when I don't see individuals being used that I thought He was going to use. More than this, it surprises me how easily I have released myself from the burden of faulting myself for some who have either left, or are present but are not involved. Some are meant to stay only for a season; then there are others who were just in the wrong place. Then, of course, there are some who leave any given congregation because of the enormity of the task and the pressure of doing more than they desire. All in all-I thank God for each of them. I used to ask people who've left 'why' they left. I now realize that that the answer simpler than I cared to admit: 'it is what it is'!

Anyway--that's kind of off the point. As we prepare to move back to Pearland as we enter the new year, not knowing HOW God is going to do it--He did answer my prayer today as I headed to church. And that is He assured me that we are headed in the right direction. That is all I need to know! Why? Because it pleases HIM! By the way--FOUR people joined church today-these were all adults. Worship was already dynamic, uplifting, and empowering--that only sealed the deal for me. More importantly, these four people have already shown that they are at Cornerstone to work, be used, commit to the vision and leadership--and prayerfully under-gird our entire ministry with their service and witness. Interestingly--this is the first time in our church's short history that we didn't even have programs--for VARIOUS reasons. I will write later about how awesome Sunday School has been! Cornerstone is doing a great work; thought we aren't even close to where God is trying to send us--I see GROWTH! I remain prayerful and submitted to HIS service and plan...

Let me give the outline of today's message:

Subject: Don't Fight Your Furnace
Text: Daniel 3:21-26

Thesis: God could be using your crisis of adversity as a tool to perfect your character and develop your maturity.


a. Where the Devil has lost the battle for your soul, he is still in the battle for your witness, etc.
b. Don't fight your furnace, curse your crisis, rebuke the fire...
c. The furnace is good news for the believer-it's what Joel C. Gregory calls 'Growing Pains'.

Transitional Statement: The job description of your adversary, the Devil, is to make you feel as if checking with God and walking with God's plan was a wrong decision.

Probing Question:
How do I handle the fire so that God can show Himself to be faithful?

I. You have to come up with a new definition of what it means to be free

a. God delivers them while they are still in it.
b. God can teach you and train you how to walk IN the fire.
c. They're walking - and indication that they are:
i. Survivors (You and I are standing in something that should have destroyed us)
ii. Loosed (They went in bound (vs. 21) but they are walking in it loosed (vs. 25) )

1. Remember that God can set you free in the crisis.
2. Don't forget to keep walking.
3. Quit listening to false theology that teaches you to rebuke anything that makes you uncomfortable. Discomfort and inconvenience could be a compliment from God!

(Bonhoeffer 'I'm blessed when I BLEED')

II. When your faith is intensified, you can believe God to show up earlier than scheduled.

Vs. 24 '...looks like the Son of God.'

a. This is Daniel. Isaiah has not yet prophesied about the coming of the Son of God.
b. The 'Son of God' is not scheduled to show up until Matthew.
c. Because of the intensity of their faith-the 'Son of God' steps in earlier than they expected.

Note: Theological understanding of Christophony

1. There are moments in all of our lives where we need God to move earlier than scheduled.
2. The question from God's perspective is this: do you have earlier-than-scheduled faith?
3. Remember that God's glory is the brightest when your furnace is the hottest.

III. God can use your difficult situation to devise divine revelation.

a. Revelation is not something you extract out of a textbook. (Logos/Rhema)
b. When God reveals Himself, it necessitates a situation; and always a season of difficulty.
c. In the activity-you learn to define and ascribe what God does based upon a NAME that gives reference to what God did.

- You couldn't call Him Jehovah Jireh-until you couldn't provide for yourself.
- You couldn't call Him Jehovah Rophe-until you couldn't heal yourself.
- You couldn't call Him Jehovah Shalom-until you couldn't find peace yourself.
- You couldn't call Him Jehovah Nissi-until you couldn't fight for yourself.

1. God can use what you go through to help somebody else to see Who God is.
2. God can use your testimony and your story as a platform to display His resume'.
a. I am a reference in God's curriculum vitae:

- Under healing-I'm there!
- Under joy-I'm there!
- Under miracle-I'm there!
- Under salvation-I'm there!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.
– Goldsmith

The journey of thousand miles starts with a single step
– Chinese Proverb

Friday, November 02, 2007

un/Forgiveness and the Offender...

Last night, we began a lesson that centers around our series Why Churches Die, we have been dealing the past two weeks with two major ailments that sicken and poison the body of Christ-Glossolitis (Gossip) and the Toxin of Bitterness, Jealousy and Envy. At its root is a heart and the issue of unforgiveness. We had, I believe, a good Bible study. I continue to find some degree of discouragement because of attendance. It can be quite frustrating to see some not take advantage helpful, insightful, scriptural information--when I know that it will both help them and is something they deal with continuously in their own lives. I try not to allow myself to become overwhelmingl discouraged by looking at the majority (read the last blog and you will see the frustration) that I overlook and become ungrateful with the minority. That is one end of the sprectrum; on the other end--I think it SHOULD bother me as a pastor, to some degree. Especially when I look at the shepherd in scripture who wetn looking for the one lost sheep when he already had 99 sheep in his pasture. He passionately pursued after that one lost sheep. I don't mean to imply that those who aren't passionate about studying the Word are lost. I think their priorities are misplaced. Whether it is a result of their being 'lost' or not, that is God's call (John 15:1-8).

In our discussion on forgiveness, someone asked if it is necessary to forgive the offender when they don't even know they've offended or convinced they didn't offend. Immediately I would say yes; atleast I think that is what I've been taught-for the most part. There is another question that comes to mind: does God forgive US if we unknowingly sin against Him? If so, then what's the point of both confession and repentance? This is a question I thought I knew the answer to, quite naturally. But I thought it was a good question--that I need to look at again. I would love to know the thoughts of you who read this blog. I would love to know what you think.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Will the TRUE Disciple PLEASE stand up!

Something is bothering me...REALLY bothering me. Do you know what it is? CHURCH PEOPLE! Not all church people-but MANY of the church people that I've come into contact with. It is interesting to me: Jesus never instructed/exhorted the church to 'go and make Christians'. He instructed/exhorted them to 'go and make Disciples'. I don't know what we're trying to call this brand new Burger King Christian we're now seeing all too often in this 21st century (have it your way ain'ts); but it certainly doesn't exemplify true, biblical discipleship. By that, I mean a "Christian" disciple. There are various kinds of learners and disciples.

What in the world are we doing?
Where in the world are we going?

A disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ, in my view; they are people who are hearers AND doers of the Word. They follow the commands of God and His Word. They stop making excuses when it comes to Christ and His kingdom. People (for lack of a better word--they can't be disciples) make so many lame excuses when it comes to Christ and His church that it overwhelms me to even think there is such apathy and flippancy. These excuses are the excuses that people know would NEVER fly in the corporate arena, the secular workplace, or anywhere else. They expect the church to deal with it.

Take Christian Education--that is my background and it was my livelihood right out of college. I have heard almost EVERY excuse to why people can't attend Bible study: everything from cats being sick, headaches, forgot, overslept, leg fell asleep, couldn't find their glasses, on and on. However, MOST of the people who have given these 'excuses' have been people who I know would never use to justify why they weren't at work, a party, on a hot date, didn't call in, didn't go to school. Which leads me to the premise of this blog: will the true disciples please stand up. Come on--are we serious? In this emerging age of self gratification where "it's all about me"--it is only getting worse! My prayer is that the Lord will increase the number of passionate and committed disciples of Jesus Christ in our churches. The world is becoming MORE aggressive, which means that we as Christians, Disciples, and the Church need to become MORE aggressive than we are with our poor attempt at what we've termed 'Postmodern Relevance'. When it is self-centered rather than Christ-centered, it isn't relevant at all and it is nothing more than postmodern MAYHEM. I'm sorry--I just refuse to cater to Pew Potatoes, Sitting saints, and church free-loaders. If this empties out the church even more--FINE! We'll still be around when the REAL DISCIPLES show up and ready to go and REPRODUCE!

Now I am not saying that things like cats, headaches, jobs, schools, etc are not important. They ARE important and some of them are necessary in this world. I am saying that we must learn how to put FIRST things FIRST. (Matthew 6:33) The strange thing is this--those who have been apart of the church for any length of time--KNOW, all too well, that what I say in this blog is so true. The only thing that really allows me to voice all that is aforementioned is the fact that I LOVE the church and I LOVE God's people. This provokes me to 'speak the truth in love'.

I don't claim to be very old--though I know I am about to sound archaic....but
- what happened to the days when coming to church EVERY Sunday was just a given?
- what happened to the days when the average tenure of church membership was, on average, more than 15 years?
- what happened to the days when people made church a priority?
- what happened to the days when Bible study and Sunday School attendance just made sense?
- what happened to the days when parents made their children come to church and fathers and husbands led the way?
- what happened to the days when the Pastor could correct people out of line and people would straighten up?

I feel like a Dinosaur, almost extinct. Maybe I am naive and this day never really existed in the church. But I do know that it was better several years ago than it is today! I KNOW that there are those whom God will transform into true Christian disciples. It is my prayer that more churches that are Christ-centered, Bible-teaching congregations will experience a greater influx of true disciples. Why? Because these inflated-church freeloaders won't get the job done....Period!!!