“AN AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT OF UNITY”

When a church or any movement is experiencing revival, they will inevitably feel the attack of the enemy. The devil hates it when God’s people begin moving in a Holy, anointed progression. He will strategically plan a way to try and stop what is going on. The problem is, there’s not a lot he can do. We are the church, and Jesus said the gates of hell could not prevail against it. So, what can the enemy do to hinder it? He can only do what he has always done, and that is to try and destroy us from the inside out. He can’t defeat us, but we can bring defeat to each other. Our unity is what helps bring revival, and when we cease from being united, we will eventually be defeated.

We need to be aware of how the enemy is going to attack. He will try and cause division between the members. Hurt feelings, gossip, and sowing discord is the only successful strategy the enemy has. When one brother gets offended at another, and a sister begins to harbor feelings about another sister, the attack is on. We cannot afford to start fighting each other. That’s what the enemy wants us to do. We have to understand what is going on and turn our fighting toward the enemy and not each other.

None of us are perfect, and at times we’re going to say things we don’t mean. We all have bad days and mood swings. But let us work hard on protecting the unity of our church or group. Learn to forgive and work hard on putting things in the past. If you feel like someone has an issue with you, stop waiting on the other one to make the first move and go ahead, make it yourself. Put aside your agenda, keep your problems off social media, and protect the body of Christ.

We need each other.
We desperately need to build up one another.
We need to choose love over everything.
Give your brother or sister the benefit of the doubt.
Stop chasing rumors and aggressively pursue unity.

“SAFE AND SOUND DOCTRINE”

It’s interesting to have theological conversations with people who base their decisions on emotions versus the Bible. Some don’t have a choice because they have no Biblical knowledge whatsoever. I’m not trying to be rude, but unfortunately, they’ve had no teaching or training in the Word of God. Therefore, all of their decisions are based on what they feel about God instead of what they know. It doesn’t make me angry; honestly, it makes me sad. We have so much work to do as the body of Christ. The gospel must be preached, and those of us that have a knowledge of God and Bible understanding, we must be busy. I know not everyone will accept it, but our job is to share it.

In this fast rhythm of life, people are so busy; many are not taking the time to build an authentic relationship with Jesus. They seem to be lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s a scripture about how it will be before the Lord returns. Because of that, so many see God through their opinion of life. Someone told me recently, I think God wants me to have fun, and if I just do my best, I’ll be fine. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16:25

No matter what you think about God or your opinion about what will happen in the end, everyone will be judged according to His Word. Don’t be fooled by a feeling or misled by your emotions. Build or rebuild a relationship with Him right away. Don’t be caught up in some crazy wind of false doctrine that is blowing. Be faithful to the things that will cause you to grow. Find a church that preaches sound doctrine and a pastor that can interpret the scriptures. Get involved in serving and helping others. Create a safe lifestyle for you and your family. The return of our Lord is very soon; make sure you know what it takes to be ready to go with Him.

“STORIES FROM THE BROKEN”

There is nothing that thrills me any more than seeing people that have been broken and hurt become healed by the hand of God. It’s incredible to watch them transform from having their heads down to seeing them lift it with a renewed joy. I’ve seen them walk in the church discouraged, with no direction whatsoever; then, after a while, through the power of God and the love of God’s people, a transformation begins to take place. Seeing that happen is one of the greatest joys I get to experience as a pastor. That’s marvelous healing and restoration.

As much as that excites me; when I hear a few of their stories of how they got in that condition, it upsets me. You see, many of them have been hurt by other people. Sometimes it’s a church member, then, amazingly enough, a pastor or minister has caused it. Brothers and sisters, I don’t understand this. No matter what a person does or how disappointing they’re actions might be, no one should ever be ok with willfully causing someone hurt. Even if someone makes a mistake, nowhere in the Bible does it give anyone a right to hurt someone intentionally. That is not the Spirit of God.

As pastors, there are times the Bible tells us we have to reprove and rebuke, but there is a difference between that and hurting someone. Something is wrong when a pastor or a church member can justify such actions. If somebody messes up, deal with it and move on. Their failure shouldn’t be the talk of church members at the next gathering. I know people that suffer from real problems, but they can’t get healed from the main problem because now they’re suffering from people that have added hurt to the original issue. If you can’t speak words of healing, the best thing you can do is keep quiet; and that’s putting it nicely.

Healing follows kindness. We can’t restore what we’re not willing to forgive. Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” There isn’t one of us that is perfect. That includes all of us pastors. It’s a sad day when mercy is missing from our message and actions. It’s taking me several years and a lot of criticism, but I am so glad to be the pastor of a church that loves everyone and shows mercy to all. From our stage to the parking lot are a group of mess-ups, misfits, and imperfect people. But I can promise you this; they can recognize someone broken and hurting when they walk through our doors. You know why? Because they remember when it was them.

Do you want to be like Jesus? Go looking for the one lost sheep that needs to come home. Promote healing, not hurt. Be a restorer, not a divider. Remember, Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples; IF YOU HAVE LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER.”

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (Day 2)

DAY 2

“RHYTHM”

As you get ready to kneel before the Lord this morning, I want you to focus on one word. Rhythm.

Here is the definition of rhythm:

A strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound.

Day 2 is about understanding rhythm. It’s about getting into a repeated pattern of prayer. You see, once something becomes a rhythm, it just automatically happens. The problem occurs when our prayer life is out of rhythm and we have no set pattern whatsoever. Before you know it, you’ve gone an entire day and haven’t communicated with God. In my opinion, whatever the priority is in your life, should become a pattern in your life.

This is why Daniel was such an amazing prophet of God and example to everyone. Daniel not only prayed, but he had a pattern of prayer. Three times a day he would kneel before the Lord and communicate with Him. This is how Daniel was able to rise about so many adversities in his life.

– He endured the pressures of living under a pagan government through the rhythm of prayer.
– When his co-workers conspired against him, he overcame with the rhythm of prayer.
– After being thrown into a den of lions, he makes it out alive through the rhythm of prayer.
– He was able to prophesy God’s Word because he heard God’s voice through the rhythm of prayer.

Make up your mind today, that you’re not just going to pray, but you are going to reach a new level in God through the rhythm of prayer.

Daniel 6:10

When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

21 DAYS OF RHYTHM, RESTORATION AND RELEASE (DAY 1)

DAY 1

“BEGIN AGAIN”

As a Christian, a disciple of Christ and minister of the gospel, I find myself in a familiar place. I simply call it, “The Begin Again Place”. This is not a play on words, but rather a personal reminder to me, that when things are getting a little crazy and I’m not exactly sure what to do, I have to go back to where things began with God and me. It’s not that I’m having to start over with the Lord, but sometimes life can cause me to become distracted and I find myself drifting. The closer I am to God, the less worried and stressed I become when difficult things come my way. So, the best way I’ve found to get back where I once was, is to “BEGIN AGAIN”.

I am the lead pastor at Point Of Mercy Church and I have felt led of the Lord to start a 21-day prayer, fasting and Bible study campaign. I’m calling it, “THE BEGIN AGAIN PROCESS” and it starts today. As a church, we are facing several things that we need direction in. As a pastor, I understand that I am the shepherd and I have to lead this flock where God wants us to go. If I’m not where I should be in my relationship with God, then I won’t be able to hear and see where He’s wanting to take us. Also, if the congregation isn’t where they should be, the enemy will be able to hinder their progress.

We are a church in a very trying season. We have faced a lot of adversity, but I understand, that where much is given, much is required. Sometimes, God allows things to happen just to test the strength and endurance of His people. I have said for many years, If God is allowing you to go through something, it’s because He believes you can endure it. He wouldn’t let it come your way if He didn’t believe in you. With that being said, God must really believe in Point Of Mercy, because we are going through a time sifting. When this season is over, we will know and understand two important things.

1. We could have never made it without renewing our relationship with God. (BEGIN AGAIN)

2. Through being tested, we discovered who was really with us.

So, here we go, it’s day one of the “Begin Again” process.

Perhaps, as you’re reading this, you find yourself identifying with us. You’re not lost, but you’ll admit that you’ve been in a drift for some time and you need to get back where you once were. Let me encourage you to “Begin Again”. Go back to where you started with God. Be renewed with 21 days of prayer, fasting and Bible study. As crazy and hectic as life may be, make time for restoration. Get back to the place where God’s voice was louder than the noise.

Day 1 starts with a repented heart.

God, please forgive me for allowing certain things, (you can be more specific) to cause me to become distracted from what Your purpose and plan are for me. Today I’m returning to you for a renewal in my heart, mind, body and soul. Let me be broken in your presence and determined in my environment, to keep you front and center in all I do. Amen.

Hosea 6:1
Come and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn so that He may heal us; He has stricken so that He may bind us up.

ALL THE WAY

Everything you need to serve God, will eventually be tested.

  • Faithfulness.
  • Patience.
  • Love.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Happiness.
  • Trust in God
  • Faith in God.

You are more than welcome to add more words, but rest assured, the words on this list is where every child of God will be tested. These are the things that you must have to finish the course that is set before you. So, like any smart commander, the devil is going to strategically attack you in the areas that will cause the most damage and effect. From the cares of life and even your job, the enemy is working and looking hard for ways to cause you to stumble.

If you’re are struggling in one of these areas today, just remind yourself that the enemy is afraid you’re going to be victorious. Lift your head up, put your trust in God and be determined to make it all the way!!!

TELL IT LIKE IT IS

I don’t know if you’ve talked to God today. Maybe you haven’t started your morning devotion yet or you may have gotten so busy, that it has slipped your mind. It’s even possible that you’re going through a trial and your’e just not sure of what to say. I think some times our lack of knowledge on how to approach God, keeps us from communicating to Him on a consistent basis. He is the Almighty God and the King of Kings and I think we feel verbally inadequate in our prayers, so we become insecure about communicating with Him. We think our words need to match His greatness and if we can’t say those incredible things, we don’t say anything at all.

God wants to be praised, in fact, He made us to give Him praise. With our lips we glorify and magnify His matchless name. We lift our hands in surrender to His Holiness and we applaud the royalty of His Kingship. But the truth is, we don’t always have to come before Him with fancy words and beautiful superlatives. Don’t misunderstand me, we should be thankful and bless His name, but there are times we need to talk to Him in a human way. Let me remind you that you are humanity coming before divinity, so you be who you are and let God be who He is.

You’re probably asking this question by now; “WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME TO DO THEN”?

Let me make this very plain. “TELL IT LIKE IT IS”!!! Talk to God on your level, not His. He understands you are only human and He doesn’t want you to approach Him by being something that you’re not. It’s ok to tell exactly how you feel. In fact, I believe that’s what Jesus meant when He said, “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him”. John 4:23

He’s saying for us to to be honest when we come before Him. Tell it like it is…let Him know you’re weak and you’re not sure what to do next. It’s ok to express your sadness and that your heart is completely broken. It’s even alright to share your frustration with Him. Be transparent with a God that already knows your heart. Be open about where you are currently and the personal struggle that you’re having. Talk to Him like you would your best friend or close family member. You are not being disrespectful by being open and honest.

There have been times that I prayed and told God I didn’t know what to do next and I was putting it all in His hands. I’ve even told Him I didn’t understand certain things that He allowed to happen in my life. I didn’t say it in a way of anger as if I was blaming Him, but I expressed my human frustration and lack of understanding. He didn’t curse me or send His judgements, but in time He revealed things to me that helped me understand in a better way. Have all of my questions been answered? Absolutely not, but I speak the truth to God an let Him know my trust is a journey and sometimes things happen that reminds me that I’m not there yet.

I want to encourage you today to talk to God on your level. Say how you really feel and how hard the struggle is. Let Him know you’re not going to stop serving Him, but the burdens you’re carrying are very difficult to carry. Whatever you do…don’t stop talking to Him because you think you can’t be yourself some times. Drop to your knees, look toward Heaven and “TELL IT LIKE IT IS”!!! You may be surprised what happens.

ANOTHER YEAR

Forty-seven years ago today, I made my grand entrance into this world. I don’t remember anything about that day, but since I was the first born of my mom and dad and also the first grand-child on my mother’s side, they said it was a very exciting day. That all happened in Wilmington, North Carolina. Here I am forty-seven years later in Nashville, Tennessee with an awesome wife, five amazing children and a wonderful son-in-law. I can truly say that God has blessed me.

I was thinking yesterday about what I might write about on my birthday. They say, as you get older you gain wisdom through your personal experiences. Well, if that’s the case, there are a lot of things that have happened in my life in the last several years that I could write about. So, what could I say from all of those events? What is it that I’ve learned to say after so many different life circumstances? I’m a minister of thirty-three years, so what are some words of wisdom I can offer now?

Honestly, at forty-seven, it’s not what I’ve learned to say, it’s what I’ve learned NOT to say. Instead of having more to say through all of my personal experiences, I find myself talking less and listening more. I don’t really care for the sound of my voice, so it doesn’t bother me if it’s not heard in a room of many voices. There was a time that I needed to have the last say, because that means you’ve closed the deal, but as I’ve gotten older, that just doesn’t matter to me. I can be right and be quiet. I don’t have to be loud to prove a point…somehow in time, things seem to just work out.

When I council people, I try to make sure and get them talking so I can learn everything I need to know about them by listening. I don’t spend the entire time showing them how much I know about the Bible or whatever the reason is why we’re there. Whether they are married or single, if I can get them to talk long enough, many times the problem becomes very obvious and the solution is not too far behind. And guess what, if I’m asked a question that I don’t know the answer, I’m alright to answer, I don’t know. There was a time in my ministry I thought I had to know all the answers and if I didn’t, I should still act like I did. Now that I’m older, I don’t have all the answers and I am totally cool with saying that. The Bible tells us to study to show thyself approved, not talk to show thyself approved. Study more…talk less.

One thing that hasn’t changed and probably never will in any of our lives, is people criticizing us and saying things that are untrue. When I was younger and I found out someone was doing that, I would hunt them down and let them know I didn’t appreciate what they were doing. The problem was, I got tired of chasing down every rumor. I wore myself out trying to straighten all my critics out. Yes, it hurts our feelings, but all we can do is be who we know we are and keep moving on. There are some former friends I could call and give them an ear full, but if I have to do a lot of talking to keep a relationship alive, I’m not so sure it was ever that strong to begin with.

Even Jesus was faced with people lying and criticizing Him and His response was amazing. He never opened His mouth. Even though He was innocent, He chose to be silent and let time prove the truth. As hard as that is to do, it’s the right thing to do. There are times you want to speak up for yourself, but I’ve learned that nothing goes in your favor any better than time. Hush and wait. Your response to that will tell you how old you are.

So, after forty-seven years, I have a lot less to say than I did after twenty-seven years. It’s not about knowing what to say, it’s about knowing when to say it and sometimes it’s best to be silent. As crazy as it sounds, it takes time to learn how to talk less. Sometimes the greatest response is in no response and I’m still learning what NOT to say.

WHAT PART OF GO DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

I get it…you’re busy, you have responsibilities, you’re working hard to make ends meet and you barely have any time for your family. I understand how real the stress and pressures of life are. However, we cannot just ignore the words that Jesus spoke right before He ascended.

Matthew 28:19
Go therefore, and make disciples all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

For a follower of Jesus Christ, “GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES” is our mandate. We don’t just try and fit it in our daily lists of things to do, it is supposed to become a part of our everyday life. In my opinion, I believe the enemy is working hard to get us so busy working outside the Kingdom, that we’re too busy to work for the Kingdom. If we’re not careful, we’ll get so wrapped up in getting ahead, yet spiritually we could fall behind and not even realize it.

“Go and make disciples” is what Jesus commanded us to do. When we are committed to doing that, then we are doing the work of God. According to God’s Word, He blesses those that obey Him. I can promise you, when you are faithful to His Word, He is then faithful to your work. I want to encourage the followers of Jesus Christ to obey the great commission and make disciples of all nations.

WHAT PART OF “GO” DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

BE THE CHURCH

Ephesians 4:1-3 (NKJV)
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

The Apostle Paul wrote these words and it is very obvious, in his writings, that he worked hard for the unity of the church. In all of his letters, the churches with the most problems were the ones that allowed division to come in among the members. As long as the church body was united, they could overcome any problem that would come against them.

He used a simple process in verse two for all churches to follow.

  • Lowliness, (humility).
  • Gentleness, (kindness to one another).
  • Long-suffering, (being patient with one another).
  • Bearing with one another in love, (be available to help carry each others burdens).

Paul knew, when these four things were taught and practiced in the church, it would keep peace and harmony among all the members.

This process should continue to be taught and practiced today. As a pastor, I can’t just teach these things, but I must be an example for each one of them. Not only me, but also the ministers that work under me as well as the other leaders in my church. Unity starts at the top.

I am convinced, that in these last days, the body of Christ must be united more than ever before. We don’t know what all is going to come against the church, but as long as we are standing together, there is nothing that can overtake the church of Jesus Christ. We must pray for unity, teach unity and above all, practice unity.

Those issues that can happen between people are so small in comparison to the spiritual attack that is on our churches today. Stop hanging on to some insignificant issue that is causing a hinderance in your worship. It’s not worth it. Our attention must be on reaching our communities and cities with the Gospel and not focusing on petty issues that are blocking our vision. It’s time to unite as the true church of Jesus Christ!!!

Be humble!
Be gentle!
Be patient!
Be available!
BE THE CHURCH!!!