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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thank You God, I thank you God, We thank you God!

The Psalmist reminds us that we are not decision makers, we don't determine what will happen, who shall be saved, nor who shall be turned away. The text says that God determines who is righteous. That God determines who is accepted and covered. The very interesting thing is that the one stone that it seems should be rejected is actually the one the others depend on.

Recently our church family has dealt loss, it seems as though death and worry are surrounding us. During times like these it's easy to judge, condemn, speculate, and gossip as we search for answers or closure. However it is during these times when God calls us to turn to God who is both our comforter & judge. Let's turn to God to find comfort and safety in times of loss and stress. God opens the Gate, God calls us home and is waiting for our arrival! Let's trust and rejoice in God and in God alone!

Psalm 118 :19-25
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it. 21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. 22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The loving parent!

Today's text taken from Hosea speaks to God undying love for us. God paints himself through the prophet as the ultimate loving parent, offering protection & patience. Have you spoken to your parent to day?

Hosea 11:1-11 ( SWJV) Sirchester W. Jackson Version:

When Israel were a children, I loved them,
and out of Egypt I called my children.
The more I called them, the more
they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the false gods of the world,
and offering praise to idols.

Yet it was I who taught my children to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with an abundance of human kindness,
with bands of love.

I was to them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them.
They shall return to the land of Egypt, the good place that I promised them.
and their enemies shall rule over them.
because they have refused to return to me.

Then violence will rages in their cities,
the grief and pain will consumes their teachers and pastors,
and hustlers shall overtake them because of their schemes.
My people are bent on turning away from me.

To the Most High they will call, father God
but I will not listen then. In that day I will not help at all.

How can I give you up, Children?
How can I hand you over, my family?
How can I make you like the first son?
How can I treat you like you are beloved?
My heart beats with passion within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger;
I will not again destroy my children;
for I am God and no mere human,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in vengeance.Come back to me my children and I will return them to their homes, says the LORD.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Locked down in fear and despair!

Today is Holy Saturday, the day after the death f Jesus on a tree. All of his followers had scattered and most of them were hiding in a house with the doors locked and windows shut tight. They were locked down in fear for their lives and despair because the one in whom they believed was DEAD. Some were feeling guilt like Peter for denying Christ and running away from him. Others were probably lost in worry, panic, anxiety, depression, and on the brink of a meltdown.

As I reflect on the grave nature of this day, I'm sitting on the floor thanking God for the ability to wiggle my toes. Silly you may think, but as I began to wiggle my toes I thought of the many people who can not move their limbs. Some of us live everyday trapped like the followers of Christ. Some are trapped in their minds, bodies, relationships, jobs, debt, and more living locked down daily. Some of us like them are afraid to open the doors of our lives, afraid to speak out and stand up. We live shut off and distant from wishing Jesus were with us, wondering where God is.

This HOLY SATURDAY take time to reflect on what things are keeping you locked up and remember that Jesus can unbind the strongest ties. 1st we must be recognize what our situation and issues are. Today is a day of introspection and soul search Easter morning.- Therefore I'll get out of the way and let you get to it. Be Blessed- Be Well- Love P.J.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Is it finished?

Friends today is Good Friday the last day of Christ earthly life, the day of suffering, pain and sorrow. The scriptures below from Matthew display the last hours of Christ life from the cross. Read these scriptures and reflect on the day and situation. Then ask yourself if Jesus work is finished, or is it left to us to continue on spreading the message of love and peace?

Matthew 27:32 As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots;* 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’

38 Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided* him, shaking their heads 40and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42‘He saved others; he cannot save himself.* He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land* until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘This man is calling for Elijah.’ 48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’* 50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.* 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’*

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's Almost Midnight. What hour does it seem to be in your life?

It's almost midnight! Today is Maundy Thursday (HOLY) Thursday. Today we embark on a sad, denying, betraying and mournful day, today we also embark on a day of fellowship, service and love. Today the history of the church forces us to pause this LENTEN season and focus on the Holy Supper along with Jesus washing the feet of his followers. I leave the scriptures before you asking you to pay particular attention to the themes of hope, love, service and suffering! Feel free to comment with your thoughts!

Luke 22:14-23 14 -16When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, "You've no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It's the last one I'll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God."

17 -18Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said, "Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I'll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives."

19Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory."

20He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

21 -22"Do you realize that the hand of the one who is betraying me is at this moment on this table? It's true that the Son of Man is going down a path already marked out—no surprises there. But for the one who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man, this is doomsday."

23They immediately became suspicious of each other and began quizzing one another, wondering who might be about to do this.

John 13:1-17

1 -2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3 -6Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?"

7Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later."

8Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet—ever!"

Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing."

9"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!"

10 -12Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.") After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

12 -17Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doing what you can when you can- in other words be all that you can be!

MARK 14:1-9 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus* by stealth and kill him; 2for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people. 3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,* as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5 (Judas secretly asked)For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.’

In our text for this HOLY Wednesday we see the Anointing of Jesus at Bethany with oil from head to foot. John's gospel recounts the woman as washing Jesus feet with the oil, while here in Mark she starts at his head. The point of the anointing was that the women was ministering to Jesus while she was able because he was here. She was doing what she could when she could.

John Wesley Methodism founder coined the saying "Earn all you can , SAVE all you can, GIVE all you, ALL the time you can". Meaning do the best you can while you can. The U.S. Army puts it this way "Be all that you can be". The women in the text already knew this, and I believe unlike the 12 she understood Jesus warnings about his impending trial and death. Therefore she wanted to do what she could while she could.Check Spelling

Jesus words in the text to leave the women alone, should speak to us, challenging us to answer the question of what are we doing. How are we being the best Christians we can be for God today. This Holy Wednesday who are we ministering too? Whom are we helping in a time of trial? What sacrifices are we making to God, our fellow human, or our earth. Remember the women used her own precious oil on Jesus it was valuable and precious. Whats you precious and valuable gift again?

Let me know how this text speaks to you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Indecent Proposal, how much would it cost you to sell out?

An Indecent proposal is the name of a movie during the late 80's early 90's. The plot of the movie shines through when a struggling couple embark on Las Vegas to strike it rich at the craps table as a final result to solve there monetary problems. While in Vegas the couple meets an attractive billionaire who offers them one million dollars for a night with the wife, a night where everything goes! The couple agrees eagerly but after the event both the husband and wife regret it.
The Tuesday of Holy Week reminds of Judas accepting to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins. As we reflect on today I ask you how much would it cost, or what would it cost for you to accept an indecent proposal to betray Jesus. Judas was frustrated with Jesus way of doing things, he was confused about why Jesus had so much mercy & compassion with little anger & vengeance. Judas then decided that he would force the hand of Jesus and make some coin at the same time! Let's look at the text:

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests 15 and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. --- What is your selling price? ---

We turn to the blog by joyfulpapist for other insight!

On this day of the Holy Week, Tuesday, a number of events took place. First, Jesus’ authority was challenged in the temple (Mark 11:27-33). This, and the general rejection by Hebrews, fulfilled the ancient prophecy that He would be rejected by his own people (Isiah 53:1,3; Psalm 41:19). Second, Jesus taught in stories and confronted the Jewish leaders (Matthew 21:28-23:36). Then, after the Greeks asked to see Jesus (John 12:20-26), He delivered the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24). Finally, a big moment came - Judas agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Live with Christ as Christ lives with you! (what do you think about this scripture? Please leave reflections!

John 15:1-11 (NRSV)

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Hello family & loved ones- Today I am not offering any reflection for this scripture. Instead I am looking for you to respond with your insights. Let me know how this applies to you or your life, how do you interpret this text. I am looking forward to your responses.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pray then Praise!

Today we take an important note from our dear brother David, as in Psalm 71 13-16 we see him start off by praying an imprecatory prayer (meaning to curse or cause harm) towards his haters and detractors. David here is not praying that his enemies just fall away and leave him alone, oh no he wants them put to shame. David prays his imprecatory prayer and moves on not spending to much time on the negative but allowing himself to be consumed with the praising God. Let's look:
Psalm 71:13-16 (NRSV)

Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed; let those who seek to hurt me be covered with scorn and disgrace. But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all day long, though their number is past my knowledge. I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD, I will praise your righteousness, yours alone.

We can learn from David that there might be times in our lives when we need to pray harshly for our enemies/ haters in our life to get them off of us. However we should not be consumed with the negative rather we should spend more time praising God through positive prayer and acclimation. It seems to me David just had to get some stuff off his chest before moving on and that's alright as long as we remind ourselves to PRAY then PRAISE!!! God is so good we can not neglect to praise our God!

My prayer for all of us it to distance ourselves from our haters and give our ultimate praise to God. I pray for you please pray for me.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How R U Hanging?

It's always a great journey that the Church embarks on during the LENTEN season. We travel both with the Moses and the Israelite people through the wilderness in Hebrew Scripture; while also journeying with Jesus and the 12 in the New Testament Gospels. Both Cannons of text challenge, critique, and call us to accountability during these 40 days (not including Sundays).

This Friday morning we encounter Jesus on the cross in the text of Luke, but Christ who is INNOCENT is not hanging out alone instead he is hanging between two GUILTY offenders of the law. While facing slurs and demeaning comments from the crowd below one of those hanging next to Jesus challenges him looking for a way out of the situation. (A HOOK UP). He says Jesus if you are all of that save yourself and SAVE US! But the other thief understanding that he is paying for his life of crime and does deserve to be on the cross, quickly comes to Christ defense! Imagine that a well known criminal defending God. He proclaims that Jesus is indeed innocent and persuades the other criminal to leave him alone at the same time asking for favor and forgiveness from Christ.

Friends the fact of the matter is that both of these guilty men were hanging there with Jesus but each was doing it very differently. One was looking for a hook up while the other was looking for a hook up escape, the other was hanging around awaiting justice and found compassion. My question today is how do you approach Jesus, how r u hanging?

Luke 23:32-43 (NRSV)

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

looking for hope among the runis--

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NRSV)

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

There are time in our lives when we find ourselves looking for hope in times of tragedy and ruin. Some times these tragedy's are on global scales other times they only effect your family , friends or neighborhood. Regardless of the level or area effected-- your life is left in devastation and ruins. During times like this where do you find hope? How do you put the pieces back together? I heard someone say today that perhaps there is no way you can heal from such brokenness. I disagree with my whole heart, however and serve a God who does heal, and enables me to pick up the pieces. I live the words of INDIA ARIE, who sings that there is indeed hope. Today's text reminds us to turn to God. Friends the situation might be unbearable today but I challenge you to lean not on your own understanding but trusting in God. Today remind yourself and others that there is hope!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The responsibilty of being God's chosen!

With great favor comes great responsibility, as we see in our text today. As those who try to live right and stay in common relationship with God we have a great responsibility to open ourselves up, pour ourselves out and respond to God's call. Mary was hit with a bolder sized request from God and the scripture says that she was highly favored! Wow, here we come face to face with the responsibility of FAVOR! Realizing this kinda of makes you think twice about asking God for that new car! We all love to have God's favor but many times we forget to think about how we enter into a spiritual contract with God and need to hold up our end of the deal.
Well look at the text and decide for yourself if you are being all that you can be for GOD!

Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Say it with your Chest!

Recently Hollywood and the movies have made famously funny the saying "say it with your chest" via Mr. Kevin Hart. The saying has become increasingly acceptable in urban communities and basically means say or do something with energy, vigor and with all your heart- despite the perceived outcome, it will work out. Daily I make decision based on personal, professional, and communal life. These decisions I make after prayer, thought and deliberation of mind /heart. Once a decision is made it's made, rarely do i second guess myself. I trust my heart and I let my yes mean yes and my no mean no! When I look to the text for today, man I feel that the proverb is echoing the words of Kevin Heart, saying say it with your chest- follow your heart and allow God to direct your decisions & paths! My prayer is that we always put our trust in the Lord with our whole CHEST (heart) and lean on God to direct our daily decisions. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I've been thinking I believe! Do you?

Ezekiel 37:1-14 37:1 The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 37:2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 37:3 He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know." 37:4 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 37:5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 37:6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD." 37:7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 37:8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 37:9 Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." 37:10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 37:11 Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' 37:12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 37:13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people.
37:14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act," says the LORD.

This lenten season God have been revealing so much to me, both in my personal life and professionally. All of my new insights have required me to think differently, O yes I've been thinking that I believe in a God who can do anything, anyway, anywhere, anyhow! God ask the prophet in the text Ezekiel can these bones live (well God only you know) in other words God I've been thinking that I believe they can if you say so! We have to recondition our thinking in order to make room for God to make the impossible become possible in our lives. we must believe. I believe, do you?

Robin Thicke R&B singer ask the question when the chips fall can you believe? -
"But can you believe now
When youre on your knees now
Begging and pleading now
Can you believe
When all that youve got is doubt
And no one to pull you out
When your heart is slowin down
Can you believe"

As for me I've been thinking and yes I believe! Do you?

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Championship Mentality!

1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (NRSV)
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Many of us are familiar with the saying that there is no I in TEAM. Michael Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and immediately he made an impact. #23 was the best player in the game but it was not until 1991 that the Bulls won their first championship. When asked sometime later why they did not win until '91 Mike said that the team was not strong enough. Despite how good he was he could not win the championship alone, it had to be a team effort with each person playing their role! Paul's letter to the church at Corinth reminds us that there is no I in TEAM, we all have a role to play and that's how we advance the ministry of Christ. God calls us to have a championship mentality, where it's not about our individual progress but the success of the entire body. The Bulls went on to win 6 titles as a team, I vividly remember Mike passing the ball to John Paxton, Luc Longley, Craig Hodges, B.J. Armstrong, and Steve Kerr during key points that led to their Championship titles. Mike understood that he had to rely on the team. As Christians we need to know that we can't defeat the devil or obstacles in our life along, we must relay on the team. See you at the game- oops I mean see you at CHURCH! All we do is win, win ,win, no matter what!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Feeling like you can't win? Remember God!

Sometimes it might seem like to much, like the walls are closing in, like the enemies in our live are Winning! (Charlie Sheen -pun). When these times come look at the poetic yet metaphorical story of Jonah! Remember he was even eaten by a big fish- what big fish is in you life ready to eat you?

Jonah 2:1-10 (NRSV)

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

"I called to the LORD out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol
I cried, and you heard my voice.
You cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
Then I said, 'I am driven away from your sight;
how shall I look again upon your holy temple?'
The waters closed in over me;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head
at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
O LORD my God.

As my life was ebbing away,
I remembered the LORD;
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who worship vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Deliverance belongs to the LORD!"Then the LORD spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.

Let God speak to you always!, Trust in God!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Now is the time to GIVE!

Sisters and brothers I know many of us are barely making ends meet and keeping things together. When we look at our economy and our personal financial situations we feel that we can not spare one red cent! This is why now is the time to give more than ever, as God is always giving us. We must give now, not just in monetary terms but also of our time, prayers, love and compassion. I hear you already saying give to the beggar? Yes! Give to thee non-for-profits? Yes! Give even to the school bake sale, Girl Scouts? Yes & Yes! Then give to the church to? YES. Even more so give to the soup kitchen, give away some clothes, toys, dvd's jewelry give! The world needs it, God wants us to heal the land and it starts with our giving!

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 (NRSV)

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, "The seventh year, the year of remission, is near," and therefore view your needy neighbor with hostility and give nothing; your neighbor might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt. Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, "Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land."

Thought for the day- What are you giving, how has God called you to give?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unrevealed unto it's season....

There is a great Hymn of the Church called Hymn of promise, it speaks about the seasons of life and how everything is hidden until it's season to blossom or bloom. In every seed there is an apple tree, in every winter there is a spring and summer that waits to be, but they remain unrevealed until the proper time. God loves these things, for God did indeed create the seasons, plants and fruit tree. Family God also created us. See what love God has for us that we are called God's own. Our text for today reminds us that we are yet sinners (WE STILL SIN) but there is more to us than meets the eye! There is a season for you and I that has not yet been revealed we must continue to grow and toil until it's our time to bloom in our faith, in our relationships, in our careers. Until this happens stay focused on the love God has for us and keep your eyes on Christ the light of the world. Who knows this season could be your season to be blessed!

1 John 3:1-5 (NRSV)

See what love the Father has given 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. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peace be with you too!

Many Christians live in fear, heck many people live in fear for various reasons. As Christians we should not have any fear, instead we should live in peace and security! In the text for today the 11 are afraid and living in seclusion locked up. It seems as though they had forgotten all the power Jesus displayed over the previous three years. The one whom they called teacher and witnessed raise the dead now seemed powerless to protect them so they were afraid. Let's look:

John 20:19-23 (NRSV)

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." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Friends, our prayer should be to never limit God by our fears but instead to let our faith serve as our strength at all times. Jesus offers us peace, we must choose daily to accept the invitation in our hearts! Today I pray for peace with you!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Looking for revelation?

Looking for revelation? Are you looking on your own or are you listening to where God is sending you? In today's text God is speaking to a man born blind! The man can't see but can hear and listen! We all face times in our lives when we can not see the way. We go through situations where it's like we are blind fumbling and stumbling our way through life. We stumble upon jobs, relationships, church homes, academic endeavors etc; and never find complete satisfaction. We look for truths and revelation all over when we should be listening to where God is sending us. When we follow where God is sending us our eyes are opened. This is where our revelation comes from, from following God's led! Even if, sent into unlikely places with unlikely measures we must follow God.

John 9: 6 After he said this, he spit on the ground. He made some mud with the spit. Then he put the mud on the man's eyes.

7 "Go," he told him. "Wash in the Pool of Siloam." Siloam means Sent.

So the man went and washed. And he came home able to see.

8 His neighbors and those who had earlier seen him begging asked questions. "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" they asked.

9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, "No. He only looks like him."

But the man who had been blind kept saying, "I am the man."

10 "Then how were your eyes opened?" they asked.

11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed. Then I could see."

12 "Where is this man?" they asked him.

"I don't know," he said.