Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Friday, November 6, 2009

All In

Today's text for reflection is taken from:

Mark 12:41 -44
Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, "The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all."

I wonder what the world would look like, what the Church would look like, what we as individuals would look like if we lived and loved like the widow in this scripture of focus for today. She truly was all in. Humm- All in, this is a phrase we use often today, we say were ALL IN love, we say were ALL INvested in work, or the stock market, we even say were All INvested into our churches and places of worship. But are we really? A Seminary professor of mine reminded us that if the people of God, the Church was doing it's job then we would not have homelessness, starvation, or many of the social ills we have now. But we are more concerned with giving out of abundance, beautiful buildings, ministries where we don't have to interact with people, and non-challenging prosperity sermons.

However if one day we decide to become more selfless and go ALL IN for God we will transform the world, by showing love, and being in service to, indeed witnessing to all.

Today Go All In, in your walk with Christ. Love Pastor J.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shut Up and Listen!

Sometime God stops us in our tracks and silences us!

Let's look to today's text from Mark 9:30-37

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

Let us pray,
Dear God, thank you for reminding us of the servant hood that you call us to. In a world where everyone wants to be the BEST, the Greatest, and out Front, you silence us and re-focus us on you. Thanks Be to you God, for keeping our mind on HEAVENLY things not on human things.

There are times when we need to just Shut UP and Listen!
Brothers and Sisters, be Successful, be Great today by being the BEST disciple of Christ that you can be!
Be Well, Love pastor J.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dear God how do I know which way to turn?

How do we really lean to and trust God? How do we discern what is of God, what is for us and what we should stay away from? If you are like me you have asked some or all of these questions before. As today's blog focuses on discerning what God has for us I suggest we tun to scripture, lets look to Proverbs 2:1-15.

Prov 2:1-15

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just and fair- every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

I pray that this scripture and today's blog was helpful to you as we all continue to search for God's will for our lives. Be Well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

People can lie on you but they can not conceal your identity!

For me it's been a long day and a longer week! Have you ever had a week where you know that you only survived by the Grace of God? The past couple of weeks I have been lied on, dragged through the mud, disrespected and accused of many negative things, in the midst of being ill because of Sickle Cell and it seemed that the world was falling. But despite all of those negative things in my body and being said about me God continued to bless me and increase my ministry. Blessing after blessing has come into my life, the situations of negativity were resolved with out my integrity being compromised, my body healed on it own and all has been restored.

I know that I am not the only one to have a week and or days like this. When I turn to the scripture I am reminded of Acts 6: 8-11 Let's look:

8 Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. 10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 11Then they secretly instigated some men to say, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.’ 12They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council. 13They set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; 14for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us.’ 15And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Friends as we continue to live in this crazy, mixed up world; remember that people will always lie on you but the God In You (as Mary Mary would say) will not be concealed and will shine through, even your enemies will see the God in you, remember Stephen appeared to have the face of an ANGEL. Go to face your storms with courage and faith knowing that God will always shine through.

Be Well!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thank God for TRUE Friends, they ALWAYS have your back! Hold on Peter was a true friend to Jesus right?

Peter and Jesus traveled together for years, YEARS! They were cool, Jesus told Peter that he would have the keys to the Kingdom, that's how cool they were. Peter told Jesus that he was the Christ, the one, that's how well they knew one another. Peter even cut of an ear in defense of his buddy. But none of that stopped peter from turning his back on Jesus and denying him time, and time again.

But Jesus knew who Peter was, how Peter was, and what Peter would do. Despite all of that Jesus still forgave Peter and Jesus forgives us, our job is to FORGIVE others friends as well as enemies as we live out the love of Christ Jesus in the world. Remember the words of Jesus in John 21: 15-20 Lets Look:
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ 16A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ 17He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ 20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?

Brothers and sisters today go forward loving and forgiving, its the Christian way! Be Well

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Do No Harm, Do Good, and Stay In Love with God!

These 3 rules are a cornerstone to a Wesleyan way of living but they bring us into a special relationship with God!. Daily we should grow closer to God and live more fully into becoming the people that God desires for us to be.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NRSV)

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me.

Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
-John 10:10 (NRSV)

STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD, because he SO loves you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Keep the faith!

It's been a long time friends and there are no excuses but life has been hectic and extremely fast paced. Therefore my words of encouragement today for you and for me are to keep the faith!

Rely on Philippians 4:13 that we can do All Things through Christ who Strengthens Us.

Be strong my Sisters, Be strong my Brothers, Be strong my friends, Be Strong! Be Strong and Know that Christ provides!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Almighty God,

Grant us the strength to follow you, and follow the world, or the wicked. Amen!

As my day progressed today and I became tired and discouraged time after time, I began to question why am I continuing on. I asked myself for what purpose do I toil and strive? I began to think about my relationship with God and how much I love the Lord, when I turned to this Psalm. It reminds me that I love the Lord, and I want to do God's will. Friends when you have a day that never seems to end, a day that is complicated beyond belief, when you find yourself asking WHY? This Psalm is for you.

God grant us strength, empower us to continue.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do you really?

For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
Deuteronomy 30:16 (NIV)

Hello friends, today's text above is taken from the Hebrew scriptures the book of Deuteronomy. The command from Moses, or the law according to Moses is to Love God today and to let your actions prove your love. Therefore I ask the question Do You Really?

If we love God then why do we find it so hard to keep God's commandments and walk in Gods ways? Brothers and Sisters today I just pose the question if we love and confess God then why don't we do better? Why don't we do better in our relationships, on are Jobs, at home, in school , and at church.

Only you know what areas you need to work on so let's agree today, this week, this month to DO BETTTER, because we really do love the Lord.

Until next time Be Well.
Love Pastor J.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sufficent Grace, not what i wanted to hear...

Good morning friends, I pray that God's favor is raining down on you in abundance.
Let's look to today's text from 2nd Corinthians 12:2-10

But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.

In the reflection for today we see Paul encouraging the readers that God's grace is sufficient for him despite the issues (thorns) in his life. Therefore I encourage us to reflect today on the same idea of the sufficiency of God's grace. Imagine Paul's situation, better yet use yourself and your situations that you are going through right now. What are the thorns (issues) in your life right now, today? I am almost positive that when you think about these issues you want them to end immediately! You want God to take them away right now! So when Paul tells us that God's grace is sufficient, well that's not what we what to hear, We Want Results!

But friends I encourage you to rethink this and say with me that there are times when these words of Paul are exactly what we need to hear. We need to hear that no matter how much hell breaks loose in our life, and no matter how many thorns we have poking us God is God. Therefore God is sufficient, God's love grace and mercy are enough to see us through, keep us going, and lead us to the places God has prepared for us (via 23rd Psalm).

Today friends, rely on God's grace and guidance instead of looking for god to be our personal genie or wish master. in the words of Marvin Sapp~ Praise God in Advance!

Until next time be well.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A day like wow!

Have you ever had a day that almost everything went wrong?
let me vent, briefly... Yesterday My computer was on the fritz( no email 4 a week), fixed that and my phone lost all contacts trying to sink with my computer, then my phone went on its own rampage and next thing I know my cable, computer and phone were trying to give me a heart attack! Ahhhhhh!
Then I remembered Luke 10:27:

He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself."

So in other words, brothers and sisters, friends please keep your eyes on the prize when you have a day like wow! This text puts it all in perspective...

Until next time,. Be Well!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meeting the people where they are!

Today I spent time with colleges, going to and fro around the city, indeed the state. We spent the better part of this humid June day together seeking to understand how God would use us to grow God's kingdom. Through out the day we made at least five stops looking at new and interesting ministries areas. At each stop we took time out to survey the land and the people there. We found ourselves praying in front of everything from liquor stores to monasteries, asking for God's will to lead and be done. A few times during the day I found myself reflecting on our scripture of focus this evening from the Gospel of Matthew, lets look:

Matthew 28:18-20 18 -20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age" (The Message Bible).

Today I believe that my colleges and myself lived out this great commission, by going to meet the people where they were. While no one was baptized and no one gave there lives to God, we did evangelize through getting contact information, emails, informing others of who we were, and praying in public. I believe in my heart that someone whom we came in contact with today was touched or inspired to grow in a relationship with Christ Jesus. I trust that our witness in the various communities today made a difference, which is what I believe the great commission is all about. Being difference makers, turning the world upside down, transforming the world! The great thing is that it was only a few of us, and the best thing is that all it takes is a few! Friends today I invite you to live out the great commission by living your faith out LOUD wherever you go and whenever you are awake.

Till next time, Be Well!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Facing Giants!

In our text today the Israel community finds themselves on the brink of a fight with the Philistines people. Here the Israel army faces a giant called Goliath. Let's look at the text:

1st Samuel 17:1-11 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2Saul and the Israelites gathered and encamped in the valley of Elah, and formed ranks against the Philistines. 3The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armoured with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him. 8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, ‘Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.’ 10And the Philistine said, ‘Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.’ 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

While the Philistines were boasting, big, and bold the people of God the Israelites were afraid! In life we will all meet Giants, the question is will we be afraid to face them or will we face our Giants with courage? How do you face the Giants of unemployment, illness, grades, money and faith? Until this point in our text the people of Israel have been taken care of by God for many years, but it seems that there faith and memory has vanished.

Brothers and sisters when Giants arise in your lives remember what God has done for you and where you have come from. Stand on your faith fearing only what God will do to those Giants on your behalf!

Be Well, Love Pastor J

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Come to Jesus "Just Now!!!"

There is an old hymn that says "Come to Jesus, Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus just now, Just now come to Jesus, Come to Jesus just now.

He will save you, He will save you, He will save you just now,
Just now He will save you, He will save you just now.

Oh, believe Him, He is able, He is willing
He'll receive you, Flee to Jesus, Call unto Him!

This hymn has been in my heart and on my mind all day and has caused me to focus on Matthew 16:24 for today's reflection. Let's look!

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

Christ has called us to comer to him, picking up our possessions, issues and problems and following Jesus. Christ reminds us not to worry about anything or anyone else and come to him. I invite all of you to remember that Christ is constantly calling us into a deeper and more special relationship. All we must is answer the call just now, remembering that Christ saves, heals, protects, and provides. Telling the world that Jesus does not only do these things for you but for everyone!

"Only a step to Jesus! O why not come and say, Gladly to Thee my Savior, I give myself away!" (Fanny Crosby)

Until next time... Be Well

Friday, June 12, 2009

Saying Goodbye...

1st Samuel 15:34-16:1
Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel. The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.

Samuel and Saul were long term friends, after all Samuel did anoint Saul in his youth to become king. But not God has called Samuel to go and anoint another king, meaning that Sauls time is up because of his disobedience.

Like Samuel there are times in our life where we have to part ways, times where we have to say goodbye. Like Samuel it is alright to grieve over our friends and loved ones, but we must understand that there are times when God calls us to separate from them. God has a plan and purpose for our lives and this plan at times calls us to end relationships and distance ourselves from persons who are disobedient to God.

Today ask yourself the question, who is God calling you to say goodbye to in your life?
Until next time~ Be Well.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

When I Grow Up! (Mark 4:30-32)

30 He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’

Many of us feel that we are not important, we are not equipped and we are not able! But because you are God and because you are we are able. Your kingdom provides a place of rest and saftey for us, and we grow in you like a mustard seed. We grow in you as those who once we unable to those who are now capable!

Today friends go out empowered knowing that God increases you daily. Go in the strength and protection of God!

Friday, June 5, 2009

I want to be ready....

Growing up, I remember singing the song I want to be ready, it went like this.

I want to be ready, I want to be ready, I want to be ready….

To walk in Jerusalem just like John,

John said the city was just foursquare,

Walk in Jerusalem just like John

And he declared he’d meet me there,

Walk in Jerusalem just like John.

Oh, John! Oh, John! What do you say?

Walk in Jerusalem just like John,

That I’ll be there at the coming day,

Walk in Jerusalem just like John.

When Peter was preaching at Pentecost,

Walk in Jerusalem just like John,

He was endowed with the Holy Ghost

Walk in Jerusalem just like John.

Not only was the tune catchy but it was something about being prepared, something about being ready. This week we have been focused on experiencing God and Christ. It is through these experiences that grow in our knowledge and understanding of God. Our experiences keep us attentive, watchful and ready! let's look to today's text:

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:42-44


Pastor J.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Experiencing Jesus: Leads to New and Eternal Life!

Good morning all, I pray that all of you are healthy and well both in mind and body. Yesterday we spoke about experiencing God, and today we look to the text of the Gospel of John 3 where we experience Jesus.

Let's look to the text:

John 3

Born from Above

1 -2 There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we all know you're a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren't in on it."

3Jesus said, "You're absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it's not possible to see what I'm pointing to—to God's kingdom."

4"How can anyone," said Nicodemus, "be born who has already been born and grown up? You can't re-enter your mother's womb and be born again. What are you saying with this 'born-from-above' talk?"

5 -6Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.

7 -8"So don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be 'born from above'—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God."

9Nicodemus asked, "What do you mean by this? How does this happen?"

10 -12Jesus said, "You're a respected teacher of Israel and you don't know these basics? Listen carefully. I'm speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don't believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can't see, the things of God?

13 -15"No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.

Nicodemus was a well respected teacher and leader in the community,but he still had questions that could not be answered and a void that could not be filled. So he went to have an experience with Jesus at night while it was still dark! Christ told him that he needed to be born over, to become a new person with new values and new directions.

Friends despite what you have accomplished, or what you have yet to do Jesus calls us into relationship with him through baptism yes! But also through a constant renewing or our mind. Everyday we should change growing closer to God. John Wesley would simply say that everyday we should grow closer to God through Christian Perfection.

So if you are new to the church or if you have been born and raised in the church twenty plus years ask yourself this question daily: How am I better Christian today than I was yesterday?If you are not, then be reminded of today's text and go in prayer to have an experience with Jesus. This is the way to a great life here, and eternal life with God.

Until next time, Love Pastor J

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Experiencing God!; takes away guilt and removes sin!

In today's text for reflection the prophet Isaiah has an experience with God, but because of his sin, and the sinful nature of the people in his life he knows that he is going to die because he is in the presence of God.

This text reminds me of some ways the Church is viewed. Time and time again I have herd people say that they won't come to church because the building might burn down due to there sins or past. Its funny that today we still think like Isaiah, and just like with Isaiah God surprises us with forgiveness and redemption. Let's look to the text!

Isaiah 6

Holy, Holy, Holy!

1 -8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Master sitting on a throne—high, exalted!—and the train of his robes filled the Temple. Angel-seraphs hovered above him, each with six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew. And they called back and forth one to the other,

Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
His bright glory fills the whole earth. The foundations trembled at the sound of the angel voices, and then the whole house filled with smoke. I said,

"Doom! It's Doomsday!
I'm as good as dead! Every word I've ever spoken is tainted—
blasphemous even! And the people I live with talk the same way,
using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I've looked God in the face!
The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!" Then one of the angel-seraphs flew to me. He held a live coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with the coal and said,

"Look. This coal has touched your lips.
Gone is your guilt, and
your sins wiped out." And then I heard the voice of the Master:
"Whom shall I send?
Who will go for us?" I spoke up,
"I'll go.
Send me!"

In the end it turns out that Isaiah was exactly where he needed to be, in the presence of God. Instead of being ashamed, worried and afraid the prophet should have been rejoicing because of God's grace and purpose for his life. We are the same way in stead of avoiding the Church and a relationship with God; we should run into the presence of God! Gods grace and mercy is sufficient for us also, and God has a plan and purpose for our lives just like the prophet Isaiah.

Friends, know that your past sins and activities are not enough to keep you from experiencing God. God is the one source of completion, redemption and acceptance for all of us. Whatever you are going through, whatever you have done, know that God is calling you into a deeper and stronger relationship where your past is forgiven.

Until next time~ Be Well!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Are you in the house?

All week People have called and come into my office asking what is the purpose of the church, asking why do we need to go to church. My answer to these questions probably surprising to some were straight forward and simple. I answered each and every one of them saying that we Need To Be In The House! We must go to church to be with the people of God, church is where the community of God gathers; therefore it is the house of God. Simply put as Christians we need to be in the house. Our text for focus today says it better than I can let's look to ACTS 2:

Acts 2

2When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Friends I ask you are you in the house? Being spiritual is good, being a loving Christian is great but if you never take time out to go to the house of God something is missing. As a Christian we are called to fellowship and worship with the people of God! Are you in the house?

If we are not in the house, then we might miss our blessing, at times we miss the experience of the Holy Spirit. Understand that those people outside the house won't understand whats going with you or in the house. Outsiders and on lookers might question our sobriety and intentions.

However for those in the house, something special is taking place. For those in the hose power is bestowed upon them, they are able to communicate, they are able to get along to, to fellowship and go forward in ministry.

I pray today that if you are not in the house, you come on in and if you are in the house I pray that you stay!

Until next week, Be Well

Love Pastor J.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who is in control?

REFLECT, on Who you are and Whose you are!

What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
Oh, look—the deep, wide sea,
brimming with fish past counting,
sardines and sharks and salmon.
Ships plow those waters,
and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them.
All the creatures look expectantly to you
to give them their meals on time.
You come, and they gather around;
you open your hand and they eat from it.
If you turned your back,
they'd die in a minute—
Take back your Spirit and they die,
revert to original mud;
Send out your Spirit and they spring to life—
the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.

31 -32 The glory of God—let it last forever!
Let God enjoy his creation!
He takes one look at earth and triggers an earthquake,
points a finger at the mountains, and volcanoes erupt.

33 -35 Oh, let me sing to God all my life long,
sing hymns to my God as long as I live!
Oh, let my song please him;
I'm so pleased to be singing to God.
But clear the ground of sinners—
no more godless men and women! O my soul, bless God!

Reflect on who is in control!
Love Pastor J

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Waiting on a Miracle

I know that in today's troubled times many of us are hoping and waiting for a miracle. We are in desperate need of a special blessing and something big to happen in our lives. Today's blog is for all people who find themselves in situations like this. Let's look to the text:

Romans 8:22-25
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Today's text from Paul's letter to the Romans reminds us to be patient. To be patient while God works is always a hard task, especially when we feel so desperate. However I still find myself echoing those same words that we must hope for what we do not see and wait patiently trusting God for our deliverance!

Brothers and Sisters be faithful and trust that God is working in our lives and in our situations!

Until Next Time, Be Well!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Have a job to do?

Acts 1

To the Ends of the World

1 -5Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but "must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon."

6When they were together for the last time they asked, "Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?"

7 -8He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."

Do you have a job to do? Today millions and millions of Christians will journey into churches around the world, to pray, praise and worship God. The tragic things about this glorious day are that 1) it only happens once a week. 2) Many of the persons who will find themselves in their magnificent churches believe that that is there only requirement of God. Many Christians think that the only job they have to do is to go to church.

In our text today Jesus through the words of Luke reminds us that we have much work to do as Christians. The work is to go out, go out to the cities, the suburbs, the rual areas even to the ends of the world preaching the gospel. Friends yes we must go to church, yes we must worship, pray, praise and be filled with the Spirit. But then, we must go out to tell the world all that God has done, all that's going on and especially of the redemptive love of Jesus Christ.

On this Memorial day weekend, after church is over, while you are on your way to the Bar-b-Que, during half-time of the big game, tell someone about the goodness, grace, and love of God. On this day go and be Christ witnesses for it's your job as Christians.

We all have a job to do!

Until next week,

Be Well,

Love Pastor J

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bigger than we can imagine!

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:16-19

These words from the Apostle Paul should remain in our hearts today, because they remind us that we can not even grasp how deep the love and power of Christ runs. So today whenever you feel down, when you get upset and angry reflect on these words from Paul with me. Let's pray that no matter what happens this day and weekend that we come to know and grasp better the love that God has for us. With this love in mind all other failures and distractions are put into perspective. Thank God that God has our back! Yes thank God that God is bigger than we can even imagine!

Until next time....
Be Well, Love Pastor J

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The road of the faithful!

Good morning all, I pray that you are both healthy and happy. As Christians I believe that we all want to be faithful, truthful and righteous under God. However we also know that the road of the faithful is a hard road to travel.

Especially when the world, friends and others constantly remind us that we have the choice of choosing another road! The road of the wicked is not only less stressful but at times seems to be more FUN!

I am so glad that we don't fall for the seemingly easiness of the wicked road and stick to the road that God would have for us. Aren't you? During our times of indecision, and confusion I invite you to focus with me on Psalm 1. let's look:

Psalm 1

1Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night. 3They are like trees
planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

4The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

We all must live our own Christian journey, and chooses which road we will follow. I pray that you and I always walk the faithful road, regardless of how hard it seems at times. Won't you walk with me?

Until next time... Be Well!

Pastor J

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I will trust in the Lord, I promise!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own
understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He
shall direct your paths.
- Proverbs 3:5,6


I will trust in the Lord, till I die! The words of this spirit filled song come to mind as I sit here and recap the day and it's events. As the church we often find ourselves singing and reciting these words, but do we really mean them? When the chips fall and the storms of life come blowing in do we still trust in the Lord? When life throws us a curve ball do we still trust until we die? When loved ones die, relationships fail, employment terminates, and friends disappoint... do we still trust?

Today's text for reflection from proverbs reminds that God is sovereign and will direct us at all times. believe me I know during the storms of life it is very hard to trust in God, but trust we must. As those who are called the church, as believers, as persons with both individual and collective testimonies we must trust in the Lord always.

Sisters and brothers I encourage you and ask you to lean on God during the good and bad days! Promise to keep the faith and trust in the Lord always. I believe this faith and trust will indeed lead us into a closer and more loving relationship with God, the church, and the humankind.

Until next time... Trust On!
Love, Pastor J

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What are you holding on to?

I counted how many car, beer, and clothes commercials that came on during the basketball game yesterday. Somewhere around 125 I got sidetracked as well as frustrated. I realized how caught up our culture is on material possessions. We equate our own personal value to all that we own or possess.

In today's short text we are reminded of where our focus should be. Let's look to the text from Ecclesiastes 5:15.

Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.

This text reminds us that we come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing, all we have is our faith and all we are known for is what we have done and accomplished while we were here. So in other words where is your focus as you go through life daily? What are you seeking and what are you going after? What are you so hell bent on holding on to?

Brothers and Sisters, today I challenge you to redirect your thoughts and actions around the one paradigm that we all will leave this world as we came in! Therefore we must be intentional about what we are living for, so that our living is not in vain!

Until next time... Be Well, Pastor J

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reaching Out!!!

You have seen them, on the streets. You have seen them asking you for change in front of your favorite store, you've seen them in police cars or behind bars, you've seen them in nursing homes and adoption agencies. They are the marginalized, they are the forgotten and left out, they are the others whom mainstream society does not want to talk about or deal with. They are the imprisoned, homeless, the elderly, the poverty stricken, the parent less.

In our text today taken from Acts 10:34-43 we see Peter preaching to the Gentiles about God's inviting love for all. For all! 34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

Just like Peter came to realize that God's love is for all and that as followers of Christ we are called to reach out to all of Gods people inviting them to experience the love of God! You and I must reach out to those so called others, the ones society has forgotten and remind that God has not forgotten about them and that God loves and invites them into a relationship.

Friends today lets reach out to someone whom our culture has turned there back on. Reach out through service, prayer, kind words, monetary support, tough and hugs. no matter how you reach out, just reach out we must.

Until next time Be Well,
Love Pastor J.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Surface Love?

We are taught and told as Christians from our toddler years on to love one another. As we grow we try to live out loving one another. We tell everyone brother, sister I love you with the love of Christ Jesus. We say these things, but most times we don't mean them. We love each other with a surface love! Surface love is a love that is superficial, a love that in generic and can be replaced by the word caring for the common person or common good. Surface love is a love that is concerned for someone generally but not specifically. Surface love is not the love of Christ Jesus.

Our text today comes from John 15: 18-20

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

18 ‘If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, “Servants are not greater than their master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

Jesus calls us to love each other as followers of God. Jesus did not love on the surface but to the depths of the soul.

Friends, today I encourage you to start new loving relationships; not founded on surface love but on true love. Love everyone desperately as Jesus would have us love. Love those who hate you, who speak ill of you and those who even stab you in the back. Love all of Gods people.

Be Well!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bus Stop Ministry?

One morning a Christian woman was on her way to work and arrived at the bust stop as she usually did. But this morning was different, there was only one other person at the bus stop, a young man who was crying uncontrollably. The woman asked the young man if everything was alright and he answered with a loud sigh No! They began to converse and the man shared that he had lost his job, his wife, and was loosing his home. The women shared her story of how she used to be unemployed, homeless, and lonely until she visited her church and heard the word of God. She informed the man that God was good, Jesus is real and that everything in her life changed. Her church helped her find a place to stay and soon she found a job, later she found new love. The women was late for work that day, but a few Sunday's later she saw that same man walk through the doors of her church. When she approached him after church to ask why he had come, the man replied because no one had ever explained the love of Christ and the role of the church to me like that before.

In today's text for reflection Philip is able to share his testimony and witness to an Ethiopian, just like the Christian woman in the story. Let's look:

Philip and the Ethiopian
26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopiand]">[eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.

31"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:
"He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before the shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth."

34The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" 38And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Just like Philip, and the Christian woman we must ask ourselves how do we share our testimony, and where. What bus stop ministry experiences have you had? How do you tell others about our risen savior Jesus Christ? God provides opportunities for ministry in the strangest and seemingly insignificant places, therefore today's question is how are we responding to these opportunities?

Brothers and Sisters, let's pray: Today God prepares us to answer the call to witness in all the places we go and to all the people we encounter, being like Philip who ministered to the Ethiopian.

Until next time, Be Well
Love Pastor J.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yes Jesus loves Me, for the bible tells me so...

I vividly remember my Sunday School days and Easter Sunday plays singing the song Jesus Loves Me. I would recite YES Jesus Loves Me for the bible tells me so, at home and in school. It's amazing how simple things used to be back then, in my youth, everything was short and to the point.

Nowadays, with the hectic hustle and flow of life things can get out of control quickly, and at times I have often found myself wondering where is God, and does God really love and care about me? It's not as simple as saying the bible tells me so, we need to see, feel, and believe that we are the beloved of God especially when the world seems to hate us.

Today's text comes from 1st John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

I find comfort in this text, when I'm ready to act up, when I'm ready to blow up, when I'm ready to give up. Because it reminds me of the gift of Christ and the sacrifice of Jesus, it reminds me of the love of others. The love of my family and friends comes to mind, the love of church members and youth groups, classmates fill my heart. Then I realize again that no matter how hard life can be at times I know love and I know God because of the love I receive and give daily. Therefore I can make it, therefore I can succeed, because Jesus loves me first. Therefore I know what love is and i can go on!

Until next time, Go on in Love
Be Well!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pointing the finger!

So I was speaking with a group of friends last night, and we were extremely upset because one of our friends never does what they say they will. One of us constantly makes promises and never keeps them, they always make promises and commitments just to break them. So of course we were angry and we began to talk badly about that person, not only did we call them out but we pointed out how lazy, inconsiderate and trifling they are! Imagine us, a group of young adult Christians speaking to a person we call friend like this.

Have you ever gotten into a heated debate or argument and experienced a situation like this one? Have you ever lost your cool only to regret it later like I did and said things that you really did not mean which were hurtful or even harmful?

Once the conversation was over, and everyone had went there own ways my heart was heavy. I mean I really felt bad about how I had treated my friend and I wish I could have taken back the thing that I said. Then to make things worse I read our text for today. Lets take a look:

1 John 3

1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

After I read this passage of scripture I felt even worse because it reminded me of how great Gods love is for us. God loves us so much that God forgives us and offers grace and mercy to us all. I was too busy pointing the finger at my friend; while I was pointing out their short comings I should have been showing them the same love, grace and mercy that God always shows me. We all have been wronged and have wronged someone along life's journey. Therefore we should not point the finger but rather remember that Gods offers us forgiveness and calls us to forgive others in love, righteous, and truthfulness.

This text brought me right back down and now I must go and apologize to my friend, praying that they give me the same forgiveness God already has. From now on I promise to be careful who I point the finger at, because as the old saying goes when you point one finger out ~ there are three more pointing back at you!

Until next time Be Well, Love Pastor J

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

May a blessing and anointing be upon you!

May a communal blessing and anointing be upon you!

Today's text comes from the book of Psalms, as we take a moment out to pray for one another, to love one another and to support each other. The text reminds us of how good it is when we live in unity. As Christians we should remind ourselves that we are called to live in community, (spiritual community). Let's get busy living so that we can be the anointed people of God we have been called to be. If we do this, the anointing will be poured all over us, running over

Psalm 133

A Song of Ascents. 1How very good and pleasant it is
when kindred live together in unity! 2It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron,
running down over the collar of his robes. 3It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing,
life for evermore.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where do we go from here?

When Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was asked during the peek of the civil rights movement what's next? He simply replied that there were only to ways to proceed, either in community or chaos. I imagine that after Christ died, was dead and buried, then resurrected leaving the eleven disciples on there own; they were faced with the same situation. Where do we go from here? Community or Chaos?

In our text today the disciples could have separated and went their own ways preaching there version of the gospel or just keeping there experience of Christ to themselves both ways probably would have led to unorganized chaos. However they stayed together in community, sharing, supporting and encouraging one another. Let's look to the text.
Acts 4: 32-37 32
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). 37He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Today as I look at the church through the lens of this text, I find myself asking the question where do we go from here? The Church seems to have more chaos ensuing, and growing than it does community. Members don't get along with each other and no one gets along with the pastor. The youth and young adults are grouped together and marginalized while the seniors are dismissed as if they don't even count.

So I lift up the question where do we go from here? if you didn't guess the answer is to strive towards community. We must press less toward individuality and press toward community! We must share, network, celebrate and pool resources. If our current economic state has taught us anything, its that we need to start living more communal.

Where do we go from here? I believe that God is tyring to tell us something! Lets start by loving our neighbor, and living together.

Be Well, Love Pastor J

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thank God for Judas...

It's Good Friday everyone, yes! I remember when I was younger I would always ask why was it called Good Friday when Jesus died, after such torture? As I grew I began to understand, and that's why today I say thank God for Judas...

Let's look to the text

John 20 The Resurrection of Jesus 20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes. Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look* into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ 14When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

15Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew,* ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained

In the text we see it's the glorious Easter morning. Jesus is risen, we are forgiven and offered redemption, God has done exactly what God said that God would do!

Usually Judas get a horrible rep, but thank God for Judas, the Judas people in our life, and our Judas experiences because if it was not for them then we would not have the EASTER MORNING Celebration of redemption, renewal, forgiveness, and resurrection.

We have traveled with Christ this entire week of ups and downs, and now we are witnesses to the Resurrection and the glory of God! As you go through the ups and downs of life encountering Judas experiences keep the faith and keep constantly reminded that your breakthrough is coming, that Christ paid the price, that you have a glorious victory in GOD!

So thank God for the time of trial and testing which strengthens the TESTIMONY!

Be Well this Easter Weekend. Love Pastor J.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Facing our Fears!

Today is what we in the church call Maundy Thursday, the faithful night before good Friday, where we celebrate communion, we celebrate the washing of the disciples feet, and we even see Jesus at his most vulnerable place praying in the garden. In short we see Jesus facing his fears. Let's look at the text:

Luke 22:
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

28 ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 ‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded* to sift all of you like wheat, 32but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ 33And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ 34Jesus* said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.’
Purse, Bag, and Sword.

35 He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ 36He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ 38They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.

39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial. 41Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ 43Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.]]* 45When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.

Here we see Jesus facing the worst time of his life, sad, scared and nervous but he is still facing his fears. We must be like Jesus understanding that our lives will be challenging, our Christian walks will require much of us but we must face our fears FAITHFULLY. Remember like he did for Peter Jesus prays for us to give us strength and keep us during the time of trial. Our job is to act on faith.

Today and this week don't be afraid to stand on faith and face your fears.

Until next time, Be Well!