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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Ultimate Connection!

We are almost toward the end of the year- 2011 is around the block and I pray that you are closing out this year preparing for a new one with open arms!

We can take courage from remembering that God takes our efforts and blesses them, bringing results far richer than anything we can possibly imagine — and certainly far beyond any specific outcome we might narrowly envision. Therefore do the best you can with what you can and dismiss what you can’t do forget about what others would want you to do and just focous on God, family and you! Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish far more than we can ask or imagine, to him be glory.-Ephesians 3:20-21 (NRSV)

Dear God please help us to rely on you and trust in our ultimate connection this upcoming year through our ever growing relationship. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Keep Walking, Keep Talking

James 1:19-27
Listen to the Word and Do What It Says
19 My dear brothers and sisters, pay attention to what I say. Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. 20 A man's anger doesn't produce the kind of life God wants.21 So get rid of everything that is dirty and sinful. Get rid of the evil that is all around us. Don't be too proud to accept the word that is planted in you. It can save you.

22 Don't just listen to the word. You fool yourselves if you do that. You must do what it says.

23 Suppose you listen to the word but don't do what it says. Then you are like a man who looks at his face in a mirror. 24 After looking at himself, he leaves. Right away he forgets what he looks like. 25 But suppose you take a good look at the perfect law that gives freedom. You keep looking at it. You don't forget what you've heard, but you do what the law says. Then you will be blessed in what you do.

26 Suppose you think your beliefs are right because of how you live. But you don't control what you say. Then you are fooling yourselves. Your beliefs are not worth anything at all.

27 Here are the kinds of beliefs that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows and children who have no parents are in trouble, take care of them. And keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.

Friends, I believe that this scripture speaks for itself. Therefore my prayer for all of us is that daily we move forward walking, talking & living the word of God. Not just listening.

Be Well, P.J.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Resentment or Forgiveness

Thank God it's Friday, for many around the world today begins the weekend and Friday is met with great joy and promise. As I reflect on the week and all that has happened, my mind continues to wonder to Florida where this week a tragic shooting event happened during a School Council Board meeting. Unless you have been out of the country you probably heard about this story. I bring it up because the person who interrupted this meeting seemed so angry, so upset, so fed up and full of resentment for his family's situation. I realize that life is hard and at many times unfair. However if I have to choose between holding on to resentment or letting go and forgiving, I choose forgiveness 100%. Harboring resentment in our hearts and lives will eventually kill us. Today's scripture speaks to forgiving and letting go.

Matthew 18: 21-22 (NRSV)
Then Peter came up to Him and said, Lord, how many times may my brother sin against me and I forgive him and let it go? As many as up to seven times? Jesus answered him, I tell you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven!

Rather than resenting those who wrong us, we need to love them, and we can express our love by blessing and praying for them. We do this because Christ loves us; and we do it for His sake, because we love Him. What's that you say, bless and pray for those who wronged us? Yes! We ask God to bless and have mercy on those who hurt us, we must wish good things for them, time and time again. If we can't bring selves to do this then that means we are still holding ill feelings of resentment toward them. So I say to you friends today choose forgiveness over resentment and start today.

God today help us to forgive, even those who have hurt us so deep. Amen.

Be well this weekend, P.J.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Who Can? God Can!

Leonard Ravenhill (1907–1994), a British evangelist, once said, “The greatest miracle God can do today is take an unholy man out of an unholy world, make that man holy, then put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” After I read this today I began to think about my life and the CHURCH. This is exactly what God does for us as the church and as individuals.

When we find ourselves overwhelmed, down and out, forgotten, lonely & hopeless we ask ourselves how can we get out, who can help us. Well God can and God will if we allow God to do so! I find strength in the words of Leonard Ravenhill, but I find even more comfort in the words of the Apostle Paul found in 2nd Corinthians 5:16-20

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view,* we know him no longer in that way. 17So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself,* not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Who can? God can change loneliness into happiness, sickness into healing, brokenness into wholeness. Who can? God can! Try God our for yourself, be made new!

Holy Spirit we pray that you would work through us in our lives and situations. Help us to be the new creation of God! Amen.

Be Well, P.J.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Watch What You Say- Speak Love & Life

This morning I woke up thinking about all the things we say and do that hurt one another. One episode of Sid the Science kid (my nephews favorite cartoon) reminded me of my grandmothers saying "that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me". I used to agree with Sid and my Grandma when I was younger but as an Adult, African American Christian male I know the statement is false. Words do hurt, sometimes even more than sticks and stones! Words can be filled with hate, and used to control others emotionally, mentally and socially. Words can lower self esteem and be used as a form of abuse. Therefore as Christians we in the words of recording artist T.I. need to WATCH WHAT WE SAY! Let's look to scripture for clarification:

James 3 (Message)

When You Open Your Mouth

1 -2Don't be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.

3 -5A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

5 -6It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

7 -10This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can't tame a tongue—it's never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

10 -12My friends, this can't go on. A spring doesn't gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don't bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don't bear apples, do they? You're not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

As James reminds us, we all will mess up and trip up. I know that you get upset and want to tell people off or give them a piece of your mind. However Friends I encourage you to Watch what you say, today speak nothing but love & life! Remember words do cause pain.

Loving God help us to speak life, and love to all despite how they come at us, enable us to watch what we say as we represent you. Amen.

Be Well, Love P.J.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When you know Better, Do better!

So today brings a new group of joys, concerns unknown issues. Despite what the world gives us today, we know who God is and as those who know God we know better. Because we know better we are required to do better!

Today's text speaks to it better than I can let's look:

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (Romans 8:6-8)

We who know the love, word, and grace of God must allow ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. As those who know better we must do better!

Dear God, guide us always in our minds, hearts, and through our actions. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Be Well, P.J.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Earn 2 Give

John Wesley said "Earn all you can, Save all you can and Give all you can!"

If you know me then you know I like to read, learn and I'm a news sponge. I wanted to share a CNN story and scripture with you.
Today's Scripture Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving]." 2nd Corinthians 9:7- This scripture comes to mind was I read this story and my heart was moved to tears. for reflection is "

The new hungry: College-educated, middle-class cope with food insecurity

Come Christmas dinner, Rolanda McCarty, a 36-year-old single mother, usually goes all out.

Her table last year featured a rosemary-and-oil rubbed turkey and a sweet ham. She prepared fresh collard greens according to her grandmother's recipe. The dessert -- a rich butter pound cake -- was made from scratch.

But after being laid off from her technical recruiting job in January because of the struggling economy, there will be no fancy holiday feast, no family members pouring into her downsized one-bedroom apartment. She will rely on what she has: canned vegetables and microwavable meals from her community food bank. "It was a little bit embarrassing," said McCarty of accessing the food pantry at the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry for the first time last month. "But you know, I have to do what I have to do to survive."

It is perhaps around the holidays, a period of celebration often centered on food, when there is no clearer reminder for many once middle-class families of what life used to taste like. McCarty, who is college educated and served in the Air Force for four years, describes herself as "an independent person," who earned $38,000 a year before the economy took a turn. But McCarty, along with millions of others, represents a growing group of middle- and working-class individuals who are "food insecure," which means they have difficulty feeding one or more of their household members at some point last year because of a lack of money.

Today, thank God for what we have, and remember for the sake of others to EARN all we can, Save all we can, Give all we can All the time we can! I have been so blessed, I must give all that I can. Our society seems not care but as Christians we must, I will!

Be Well, P.J.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What's on your page?

I remember in elementary school the 1st time I saw how invisible ink worked, I thought it was so cool. The mere concept that you could write something secret that only one special person could decoded and not your teacher was profound. I saved my taking out the trash money and immediately brought a set of invisible ink pin set and began to send such top secret messages as "do you like me" the boy next to me smells like onions, and can we play at recess". Those were the good ole day's but in reflection today I understand God to reveal Godself in the same secret way! GOD writes on the pages of our lives in INVISIBLE INK, WHAT'S on YOUR PAGE?

Jeremiah 29:10- 14 10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Family God knows what we cannot yet see, wait until the season of revelation, stay the current course of faith and let God work work.

Dear God, keeps us as you have kept us this far by faith and transform us into the servants you require in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Love, P.J.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Take care of yourself...!

As I grow older and more mature my tolerance for nonsense has lessened and my awareness of my own health has heightened. I know that God wants all of us to take care of ourselves, but now I feel the need to personally take better care of myself in all ways. So I have decided to do just that, when it comes to my physical, mental & emotional health. Todays reflection comes from Paul's 1st letter to the Church at Corinth:

1st Corinthians 10:29-33 (NRSV) 29I mean the other’s conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgement of someone else’s conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 32Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

God want's us to take of both our Spiritual and Mortal bodies, friends today I simply say take care of yourself, guard yourselves, do good, do no harm, and stay in love with God. Let's honor God by taking care of all that God has given us. Amen!

be Well, P.J.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask God for help!

Our world has become so independent and isolated, to the point that human contact is almost irrelevant, relationships are welcome but not necessarily needed. Religious beliefs are considered a good thing morally but not really effecting the lives of the people who believe. It seems as through the advancements of medicine, engineering and medicine we have developed a go-at-it-alone culture, where we only depend on our-self. However the truth of the matter is that in life we need the help of others and especially the help of God. Our Christian journey is a race that we can not win alone, so today know that God has placed people and entities all around you to enable you along the road. All we need to do is ask, God! Today ask God for help along the way. Lets look to Paul for our scripture for reflection this morning:

Philippians 3:10-14 (NRSV)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Friends, press on today. As you press on toward your goals know that you can't survive alone so ASK GOD for HELP! Ask God to send you help along your way.

Merciful God today our prayer is simple we just ask that you send us help along our journey. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bad Intentions?

As I sit in front of the television this morning watching CNN, stories about faulty $100 bills, Wiki leaks, Mrs. Edwards battle with cancer, Washington Democrats lobbying for tax deals, and just the massive drama of the day- my mind began to wonder. I began thinking about how many people profit off of harming, hurting, slandering others. Some people wake up with bad intentions and even find joy in harming others, emotionally, physically, socially, & mentally. As I reached the point of frustration & agitation God calmed me down through the revelation of today's scripture:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

This scripture comes from Genesis the last chapter when Joseph is speaking to his brothers who wanted to kill him and then sold him into slavery telling their father he was murdered by a wild animal. Wow, if your life has been anything like mine then you know some people who were once close to you that had bad intentions for you. Therefore Joseph story I understand far to well, but despite the bad intentions of his brothers Joseph is not angry because he understands that God keeps us in spite of others ill-intent. Friends trust that no matter who has bad intentions toward you today, God is covering you to accomplish great things.

Dear God enable each one of us to see the bigger picture and trust in you even in desperate situations, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Be Well, P.J.

Friday, December 3, 2010

There's Time

Christmas is almost here, and in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season people tend to walk around on EDGE. Per a telephone conversation I had this morning I say to myself and all of you calm down there is still time to get the items on your check list done. it may not happen this very instant or even today or this week but there is still time. There is indeed a time for everything and so I say pace yourselves. Do not let anyone push you to the limit, take your joy or stress you to the point of insanity this Christmas season. Take life one step at a time casting your cares on God remembering that there is a time for Everything, and there is still time for you!

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Dear God grant us peace and serenity this season, give us the strength to endure all of the pressures, pessimistic, and attitudes of the times guided by your will and living in your grace. Guard our mouths, thoughts and keep our hearts focused on you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Is your worship for real?

The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."
Isaiah 29:13-14 (NIV)

Is your worship 4Real?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holding our Heads High!

The past few weeks have been extremely hard for me, as the Thanksgiving season transitions into Christmas I reflect on the painful loss of my 1st Cousin Raymond to suicide two years ago. The pain of loosing my cousin is some baggage in my life that I have been carrying and know now that I need to let go of. I recently preached a sermon about letting go of baggage that weighs to much for us to carry and give it to God! As today is World Aids Day, December 1st, I cannot help but to reflect on the loss of life to this deadly virus. Forty million people worldwide struggle with this illness. 2.3 million of them are children, 70 plus percent are considered African, African American or Black. As I reflected the following scripture reminded me in spite of trauma, tragedy, and illness we must keep our heads high:

2 Corinthians 4:8-15 (New International Version)

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

The Apostle Paul's words pour strength into my saddened Spirit this morning. Paul writes to the church at Corinth who is under immense strain and persecution saying don't quit, don't give up hold your heads high, because you carry Jesus, who lived, died, and rose. The Jesus we bear defeated death and can defeat all diseases, issues, problems. All of this for our benefit so hold your heads high today trusting that LIFE is at work in each one of you! For God alone has the last say so, in time of sickness, death, suicide and disease. Let others see the Christ in you so that they also may come and find strength, faith and salvation.

Loving God today we pray fore persons everywhere living with HIV & Aids, God please give the the courage to live boldly for you, the strength of Paul's words to not be perplexed or dismayed but to turn to you who is able always. Today give us comfort and peace in our lives, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Until next time, Be Well P.J.