Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sunday Reflections (Sept. 30th, 2012): My Next Book, Men’s Conference, etc.

My Next Book

Back in February of this year, the Lord blessed me to publish my first book, “Beyond the Dream: Transitioning from a Dream to its Fulfillment in Your Life,” through Winepress Publishing. I thought that I would be able to take a break from writing, but God placed it on my heart to begin a second one. So back to the computer screen I go. It is a joy to write, but it is also a lot of work. I am praying once again for the discipline and perserverance to get it done.

Men’s Conference (The Embassy Church)

Yesterday I was honored to share with the men of The Embassy Church at their men’s conference. I was assigned the topic: “Keeping Your [Sexual] Desires Under Control.” Here’s the outline of what I covered:

1. Understand God’s created order

God made humanity and, as far as sexuality (or sexual identity) is concerned, established two sexes: male and female (Genesis 1:27, 2:18-23).

With each gender comes a corresponding sexual desire for the opposite sex. God made men for women and women for men. And this sexual desire is to be embraced and acted upon in heterosexual marriage only (Genesis 2:25)

Any blurring of this clear distinction between the sexes is unnatural, to say the least.

2. Embrace what God considers sexual sin

Anything that is accepted and acted upon outside of God’s created order is sinful. For a few moments, I want us to examine what God considers to be sexual sins.

  • Sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Hebrews 13:4)
  • Adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9; Hebrews 13:4)
  • Homosexuality (Romans 1:24-28, 32; 1 Corinthians 6:9)
  • Orgies (Galatians 5:21)
  • Lust (Matthew 5:27-28)

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12-20), God desires that we abstain from sexual immorality. Not only are we to abstain from illicit sexual acts, but also from illicit sexual fantasizing. We see this in Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:27-28. Although this passage deals specifically with adultery, I do believe there is a broader concept in play, namely sexual impurity of the heart.

So when we consider Jesus’ words – those he spoke while on earth and those he spoke through his Apostles as they were led by the Holy Spirit – concerning lust, there is a whole range of things that now come into view that we are to abstain from:

• Pornography
• Strip/Gentlemen’s Clubs
• Phone Sex/Sexting
• Sexual dancing

3. Know your position in Jesus

Romans 6 tells us that because we believe in Jesus, our old self has been crucified or put to death (vs. 3-6). In Christ, we have been freed from the controlling power of sin (vs. 7, 17-18). Because Jesus died to sin, we are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (vs. 9-11).

4. Acknowledge your sinful sexual proclivities

Part of keeping your desires under control is being humbly honest with the one or ones that are or have been out of control. What I mean by that is you need to be brutally honest about what sexual temptations you have a weakness for.

5. Follow the Holy Spirit

Galatians 5:16 and 25 tells us that we need to continuously keep in step with Holy Spirit. To keep in step with the Spirit fundamentally means to obey God’s Word, which tells us to live holy and pure lives sexually. It means, according to Colossians 3, that we need to put to death or rid ourselves of sinful behavior and begin to live or practice those things that are line with being God’s holy people, like being compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, etc. (vs. 5-14).

6. Avoid sexually stimulating situations

According to Romans 13:14, we don’t need to make provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires

7. Realize there are some real and harmful consequences to sexual sin

We can learn about these consequences from other people’s examples (1 Cor. 10:6-13). Some of you are too arrogant, thinking that it (adultery, sex before marriage, porn, etc.) happened to other men because they were weak or foolish, but it won’t happen to you.

Paul says take heed lest you and I fall.

8. Pray preemptively

We are in a battle, gentlemen! We are fighting against the flesh (1 Pet. 2:11), Satan (Eph. 6:10-12), and a world “league” – of which we used to be a part – that is under his control/management (Eph. 2:2-3) that participates in and promotes all types of sexual immorality. Therefore, we need to begin to go on the offensive in our prayers. We need to pray for our focus to be on Jesus and His Truth and against the temptations of our flesh, Satan, and the sinful world system that we live around.

Sunday Worship Service

Our Impact Student Ministry Choir led us in worship at our Worship 2 Experience and Pastor Wesley preached on “I Can’t Stop Praising His Name” from Psalm 145:8-15.

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The month of October is going to be eventful for me. In addition to my regular job responsibilities and ongoing ministry meetings, activities, and initiatives, I have a few preaching/speaking engagements lined up. But the most importantly I will be celebrating my beautiful wife’s 33rd birthday this week!

It’s all for Christ. Have a wonderful week!

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By His Stripes We Are Healed – A Promise of Divine Physical Healing?

I have heard this saying, which is loosely based on passages like 1 Peter 2:24c, for a while now.

Some preachers implore their congregants to believe and declare it. Some prophets and evangelists come on television and radio, exhorting and even commanding those watching or listening to give a seed-faith offering to enact it.

“Believe, declare, and enact what?” you ask? Our healing; healing from physical sickness, that is. Based on some people’s interpretation of this portion of the verse (and some others), we as believers have a divine right to physical healing (and health). What they mean is if we encounter sickness of any kind, all we have to do is prayerfully and confidently apply our faith, and God WILL (as in obligated to) heal us because that was one of the things that Jesus accomplished for us in his beatings and death on the cross.

As I heard one preacher essentially say, “When Jesus was beaten on his back, that was for your healing from back pain, spinal injuries, herniated disc problems. When He was struck in his face and on the head, that was for your healing from sinus infections, migraine headaches, head colds, and the like.” That may sound facetious to many of us, but unfortunately he was dead serious!

But is 1 Peter 2:24c a promise from God of physical healing for us to claim? The answer is no, and here’s why: context.

One of the general rules of biblical interpretation is that when reading a verse (or a portion of it) of Scripture, we must consider that verse in the context of the whole – the whole passage (the verses surrounding it), chapter, book, testament, and yes, even the entire Bible – to determine its meaning.

In this case, we don’t have to read back far to see what Peter means when he writes, “By his wounds (or stripes) you have been healed” (ESV). Actually, all we have to do is read the entire twenty-fourth verse: “He [Jesus] himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

This verse clearly speaks to Jesus healing us of our sin. We were like sheep that stray from their shepherd (vs. 25). Our sinfulness separated us from God, but Jesus brought us back through His suffering and death on the cross for our sins.

Now, if we were to go back further in chapter 2, we would see that Peter was seeking to encourage and exhort Christian servants in particular, who were suffering at the hands of unjust or harsh masters (vs. 18ff), to:

1. Endure unjust suffering for doing good (vs. 19-20),

2. Emulate the example of Jesus in suffering of not sinning or returning evil for evil and of entrusting themselves to God who judges justly (vs. 21-23), and

3. Embrace afresh the fact that Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross results in us dying to sin and living the type of life or doing the things that God requires, even in the face of being mistreated (vs. 24).

Am I saying that God doesn’t heal? No (He can, if He chooses to; and He has and will in many cases. Praise God!).

Am I saying that we shouldn’t pray and believe God for personal healing or for that of others? No.

Am I saying that sickness is a part of God’s original design of our human existence and is not an effect of the Fall? No.

Am I saying that we should desire to be sick for the glory of God and to wear it as a badge of spiritual maturity or as a sign of being “anointed” or “oily”? No.

What I am saying is that 1 Peter 2:24c is not a promise from God for physical healing, but is rather a reality of spiritual healing that was achieved by God the Son, Jesus, dying on the cross for our sins (and being raised from the dead) and that is applied to all who turn from sin and trust Him as Savior and Lord.

It is a reality that strengthens you (and I) to righteously endure suffering, so that those who do not know God through Jesus, “may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).

Sunday Reflections (Sept. 23rd, 2012): YOLO, Antioch’s 26th Church Anniversary

YOLO (You Only Live Once)

That was the title of a message I gave at Paul Quinn College’s Chapel service on this past Friday from the book of Ecclesiastes chapters 11 and 12. Here is a sketch of what I brought out in this passage:

There is a book of the Bible written by a man named Solomon who is now in his older years seeking to share his wisdom and reflection with us the younger generation about our human experience in this life. It is called the book of Ecclesiastes.

He reflects on topics such as: work, self-indulgence, living wisely, wealth, and wisdom and knowledge.

If anyone had the qualifications to speak on the things that he addresses in this book, it was him. He was the wisest man in his day. He had what many of us seek to obtain after we graduate from college: Position, Power, Popularity, and Possessions (He reigned as the King of Israel after his father David).

At the outset of and at various points throughout this book, he states that all these things (i.e., man’s activity under the sun), in and of themselves and as ends of themselves, are vanity (1. fleeting or transitory, 2. futile – it is to no advantage/useless/meaningless, and 3. incomprehensible).

As one commentary said about this book, “the dominant mood of the book is pessimism, but the author, Solomon, was no pessimist, cynic, or skeptic as some critics have claimed. He was a believer who sought to destroy people’s confidence in their own efforts, their own abilities, their own righteousness…”

But he also sought to direct us on how to truly and fully live this one and only life that we have been given under the sun. There are four commands that Solomon gives us in Ecclesiastes 11 and 12.

1. Rejoice in your youth (11:9)

God says through Solomon, “Enjoy life, particularly when you are young.”

Solomon encourages us to do what our hearts desire. But he knows better than just to give us a blank check. He knows well that our hearts or our human nature is bent towards wickedness, so he tempers our desires or passions with the sobering reality that God will bring us into judgment (vs. 9b).

This should cause us to pause and give some serious prayer and thought to the decisions we make in this life.

Enjoy life within the parameters that God has set. Enjoy life in light of God’s judgment.

2. Remove vexation (worry/sorrow/disturbed) from your heart and pain (also could mean “evil”) from your body (11:10)

Solomon essentially instructs us to take care of ourselves psychologically and physically (spiritually – by putting away evil). Why? “For youth and the dawn of life are vanity (i.e., fleeting).”

Stop fretting (resolve to no longer waste your emotional energy on things you can neither change nor control) and stop abusing your body in your young age (or stop doing evil).

3. Remember our Creator, God, in the days of your youth (12:1-)

Dr. William D. Barrick said the following regarding this verse: “Remembering one’s Creator involves more than mere memory or acknowledgment. For the Hebrew writers, “remember” involves action, or allowing the objects of remembrance to “shape one’s perspective in the present.” First, we must “drop our pretence of self-sufficiency and commit ourselves to Him.” If an individual neglects serving the Creator in intentional obedience to His Word, “the capacity for joy will be lost.”

4. Respect God and do what He commands (12:13-14)

Dr. Barrick quotes Daniel J. Estes when he writes, the advantage (meaning, fulfillment, satisfaction) “resides not in human achievement apart from God, but rather in human connection with God.”

Our lives will only find true fulfillment and satisfaction in relationship with God. Solomon says it this way in Ecclesiastes 2:24-25, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil [work]. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

You only live [this life] once, so live it in relationship with God and in light of eternity.

Antioch’s 26th Church Anniversary

Today we celebrated our church’s 26th year of being in existence. God has truly been good to us! We had two guest preachers today (well, one was really not a guest.).

At Worship 1 (7:30 a.m.), our Pastor’s oldest son, Chris Wesley (Youth Pastor at Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington, KY), preached on “It’s Coming!” from Genesis 50:24-25 and at Worship 2 (10 a.m.), Dr. R. Timothy Jones, Senior Pastor of Peaceful Rest MBC in Shreveport, LA, preached on “God’s Will for Your Life” from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It was a great time of worship and Word. We saw around 20 youth and young adults respond to Jesus in repentance and faith today! We are looking forward to baptizing them and discipling them in the way of Jesus!

We will conclude our church anniversary month this week with a three-day revival with Pastor Jimmy C. Baldwin Sr. (Shiloh Christian Community Family Life Center) from Baltimore, Maryland.

Well that’s about it. Have a great week!

P.S. – Thanks for your patience with my lack of posting over the last few weeks. This month has been super busy and I am still learning how to best manage all that is going on. Again, thanks for reading my blog and sticking with me.

Sunday Reflections (Sept., 16th): Conference Season, 21, The G.O.S.P.E.L.

Conference Season

Well, our conference season concluded yesterday with our Sisters Summit ’12. There were over 800 women who attended the conference on Saturday. It was great to see women sitting to study and standing to teach the Bible. Our Sr. Pastor’s wife, Cheryl Wesley, was the closing session speaker. She did a phenomenal job teaching and challenging the women to fight against sin and the ways of the world, and to resist the enemy through the wielding of “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word” (Eph. 6:17b).

Needless to say, I am one exhausted brother. But the last few weekends have been well worth the time and energy expended.

21

That number represents the people who we baptized today! Seeing all types of people come to personal faith in Jesus and obey him in being baptized, publicly identifying with him and his redemptive work for our sins, is an awesome sight to behold. We celebrated after each one was baptized. This time is also instrumental in reminding us of the Lord Jesus’ mission for his church: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV).

It was an honor to be able to play a role in carrying out a part of his mission this morning.

The G.O.S.P.E.L.

Today, I had the opportunity to preach to our Jr. High and High School students (some College students were present as well). I came from Romans 1:16 and entitled the message, “Unashamed”. The basic objective of the sermon was to educate them on what the gospel is and encourage them to not be ashamed to proclaim or share it with others. Here is a rough sketch of the body of my sermon:

What is the gospel? It is the Good News of Jesus. What’s the good news?

It is summarized in 1 Cor. 15:3-4.

Jesus died for our sins
Jesus was buried
Jesus was raised [from the dead] on the 3rd day

Sins? Are we really that bad? Well, let’s look at how the rest of Romans chapter 1 describes the human race.

We suppress God’s truth by our unrighteousness (vs. 18b)
We ignore God and exchange His glory for that of idols/false gods (vs. 21-23, 25)
We embrace sexual perversion (vs. 24, 26-27)
We commit all kinds of unrighteousness or sins (vs. 29-31)

Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. Why was Paul not ashamed? Because everyone else was coming out of the closet? No. Because his parents, relatives, or spiritual mentors were not ashamed? No. Paul was not ashamed because he knew the nature of the gospel. He knew the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (vs. 16). So let’s break this down.

“It [the gospel] is the power of God for salvation”

Only the gospel (i.e., Jesus’ redemptive work) is capable of saving us (“is” is present tense – the gospel is not just some old story that your grandparents and mine believed and that just worked back in the 60’s. The gospel is relevant for every generation because it is the only thing that saves us).

Saves us from what? From our sin and the wrath/eternal judgment of God (Rom. 5:9, Eph. 2:3, 5:6 – God’s wrath is future, but also present).

“to everyone who believes,”

The gospel saves only those who apply it to their lives by faith. Notice that we are not saved through our works (i.e., coming to church, reading our bibles, being good/moral, not committing the “big sins,” like having sex before marriage, drugs, murder, stealing, being baptized, etc.), but only through faith in Jesus.

We can’t earn salvation through our works (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“to the Jew first and also to the Greek (non-Jew).”

The gospel saves everyone who believes, no matter a person’s race, background, gender, social status.

It is for blacks, whites, hispanics, indians, chinese, etc.

It is for hindus, muslims, mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Satan Worshippers, atheists, agnostics, church-going non-Christians, unreligious.

It is for all the cliques in your school: the rockers, the skaters, the outcasts, the jocks/athletes, the mean girls, the gangstas/thugs, the bookworms or nerds, the bullies, the weed heads, the lesbians/homosexuals, the promiscuous.

It is for those who live in:

Americas: USA, The Bahamas, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Caribbean Island of St. Lucia

Africa: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan

Asia and Oceania: Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Korea, Taiwan

Europe: Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom

I concluded the sermon by encouraging them to go into the world and proclaim the gospel in prayerful boldness, and I did this by playing a song by Lecrae off of his recent album Gravity entitled, “Tell the World” feat. Mali Music. Take a listen.

Finally, as a part of explaining what the gospel is, I showed a video of a spoken word piece by Propaganda. In it, he turns the word gospel into a helpful acronym – G.O.S.P.E.L. Watch.

Have a great week!

Remembering 9/11

Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Although it has been 11 years, I remember that day as if it was yesterday; a day that many of us will never forget.

I remember exactly where I was when news stations began to report about an American Airlines’ plane crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

We had just been dismissed from one of my George W. Truett Theological Seminary classes, which at the time was being held in the education wing of First Baptist Church in Waco, TX. I walked out of the classroom and saw some of my fellow seminarians standing in front of a T.V. watching the news.

As I approached, I saw a tower engulfed in flames and smoke billowing up into the clear sky. As I stood and listened, the reporter recounted the details about American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the tower. We were all still unclear as to how something like that could have happened. “Surely it was an accident,” I thought to myself. We were all perplexed as we stood in front of the television, discussing what had just occurred and informing other students about the incident as they filed into the room to see what all the commotion was about.

And then it happened.

A second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, with great velocity, violently flew and crashed into the South Tower of the WTC. We were in utter shock.

And then we heard it happened again.

A third plane, Flight 77, crashed into the western facade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

What was up to that point only speculation had quickly become fact. These were not accidents, but planned acts of terror. America had just been attacked.

As information trickled out about who was behind this and how was this carried out, all of our eyes were glued to the images on the screen of the two towers in New York. We knew that people were dead; not only those on the flights, but also those who were in or near their offices or cubicles at and around the planes’ points of entry.

Office paper and debris were strewn across New York’s skyline like confetti. People could be seen hanging out of windows trying to relieve themselves from the heat and smoke and signaling for help.

Help was indeed on the way in the form of NYPD officers, NYFD fireman, and EMS Paramedics. These brave men and women approached and ran into those burning towers without a second thought, prepared to carry out their job of rescuing and treating as many people as they could.

Our hearts were saddened to hear the reports of people jumping to their deaths and knowing that hundreds of others had already perished from the attacks. Yet we were hopeful, not knowing the daunting problems the firemen were facing on the inside, because the rescue operations were underway.

And then the unthinkable happened.

The South Tower collapsed and then the North, with officers and firemen still inside and people still trapped.

Our hearts sunk as we stood in front of that television screen, watching tons of steel and stone crumble to rubble and knowing that in those moments lives were being lost.

In the ensuing weeks and months, we saw our country pull together to comfort the bereaved, help in the search, rescue and recovery efforts, and serve the hurting.

In the midst and aftermath of all this, the inevitable topic of God and the problem of evil and suffering surfaced.

If God is all powerful and loving, why didn’t He do anything to stop this evil from happening?

It was and still is beyond me and any of us to answer these types of questions dogmatically.  Although I do know that God has (and will) sovereignly averted many evil, sinful tragedies (and that He is not the cause of them), I don’t presume to know the mind of God in every situation such as 9/11. But what we as Christians believe and know from what God has clearly revealed to us in the Bible is that He has done and will do something about evil and suffering in this world.

Jesus, God the Son, came to this world in human flesh to deal with the root cause of human evil and suffering: sin. This is why he lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins, and rose bodily from the dead. He did this so that you and I, among many things, could be reconciled with God (becoming His children and no longer His enemies), our sins could forgiven, our sinful hearts and eternal destiny could be changed, and our life experiences (both good and bad) would work together for the good, all by turning from our sin and trusting Him.

And one day, when He returns, He will do away with all evil and suffering.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” (Revelation 21:1-5a, ESV)

Jesus is our hope, both in this life and in the life to come.

For those who lost loved ones on 9/11, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sunday Reflections (Sept. 9, 2012): Men’s Conference, A “Political” Sermon, etc.

HALFTIME Men’s Conference

We had a great time in worship and in the Word at our men’s conference yesterday. It was great to connect with some of my friends, Pastors Bryan Carter, Stephen Brown, and Dr. Maurice Pugh. According to reports I received, the sessions were phenomenal!

I was honored to teach two sessions on “Obey the Refs”, which dealt with men submitting to God-ordained human authority. Here is my outline:

I. The Submission Trick Plays

A trick play is designed to deceive the opposing team. Two major trick plays associated with this idea of submission that many men have fallen for are:

a. Submission is a woman’s and/or child’s responsibility. That is not true. The act of submission to authority is applicable to men as well. It [submission] is fundamentally a part of the human experience.

b. Submission strips you of your manhood and significance.

II. One League Under God

If we turn to and look at Genesis 2 and 3, there we will see that we were created as a league of humans to be under God’s authority. And you will notice that Adam, the man, was especially to obey God since he was given the command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17, 3:11).

III. Playing (Living) By Our Own Rules

Ever since that fatal day in the garden, humanity has rebelled (and continues to rebel) against God.  The Bible describes us this way, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent (insulting or injuring someone out of pride), haughty (overestimate of one’s means and merits, despising others or treating them with contempt – looking down on them), boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Romans 1:28-31).

We see the reality of our rebellious nature and choices throughout the Bible and even in our current day.

The Golden Calf – Ex. 32

Pharaoh and the Plagues – Ex. 7-12

The People of Israel Doubt/Disobey God and don’t take the land of Canaan – Num. 14

Israel is defeated by AI due to Achan’s rebellion – Joshua 7

Saul loses his kingship because he disobeyed God – 1 Sam. 13:8-14, 15:1-26

Time of the Judges – Judges 2:11-2

Our position before God is one of an enemy (Romans 5:10a), someone opposed to God, which holds ramifications in our relationships with others as well, particularly those whose authority we find ourselves under

This is a major problem for us because our rebellion comes with repercussions, namely God’s righteous judgment against us for our sins. But thank God that has been changed through the righteous life and redemptive work of Jesus for our sins (Romans 5:10).
We are now children of God because of Jesus (John 1:12-13). We have peace with God through Jesus (Romans 5:1).

As a result of this, God now rightly positions us as it relates to those in authority over us.

IV. The G.O.A.T of Submission

Our greatest example of a man in submission to authority is our great God, Savior, and Lord Jesus. God personally got on the field of life to save us from our rebellion, as we just covered, and to show us how to humble ourselves under authority.

  • He was (and is) submissive to God the Father (John 5:30, 6:38; Matt. 26:36-42) and God the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 18-19).
  • Jesus also submitted himself to God-ordained human authority (Luke 2:41-51).

If Jesus submitted himself to authority, we can do no less.

V. Executing Submission

a. Know Your Position (in Christ)

We are God’s children. We are loved. Our value and significance as men are ultimately grounded in Christ and not in our Circumstances; it is found in our Position in the Lord and not in our Positions in this Life.

Some men believe that it makes them less of a man if they have to submit to someone else’s authority. Your identity and significance as a man is not rooted in the rank that you hold, but in the relationship you have with Jesus.

b.  Listen to Your Coach (Holy Spirit)

Turn to Galatians 5:16ff and note the word “dissension” in verse 20. It means a desire to put yourself forward, a partisan and factious spirit. But when we listen to our coach, when we are led by Him, He produces fruit in our lives that is applicable to this subject of submission.

The question becomes then: How do we hear from Him? He always speaks to us through the Bible and according to the Bible. Let’s turn to 2 Timothy 3:16.

The Bible is God’s Book. It is profitable for:

Teaching – The Bible instructs us about God, Humanity, and Life.

Reproof – The Bible chastises (disciplines) us.

Correction – The Bible restores our lives to a right state.

Training in Righteousness – The Bible directs us on how to live a life that reflects Jesus, which pleases God.

c.  Follow the Plays (the Bible)

So what does the Bible say about submission, about us obeying the refs (i.e., human authority)?

There are four submission play packages, each with a corresponding “situation on the field”.

1. Submission as it relates to your parents. (Ephesians 6:1-2, Colossians 3:20)

We are to obey our parents.

We are to honor our parents.

Paul continues in Ephesians and says that we should honor our father and mother. What does it mean to honor them? We respect them in how we think about, speak to, and act around and towards them.

We provide for them when they are in need, especially when they are widowed (1 Timothy 5:3-5, 7-8).

2.  Submission as it relates to your church.

According to Hebrews 13:17, we are to obey (listen to, yield to, comply with) and submit to (deference to their leadership) our leaders (Elders/Pastors, and by way of extension -Ministry Leaders/Deacons). Why? For they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account to Jesus

3.  Submission as it relates to your employer.

We are to obey our employers/bosses/managers with the utmost seriousness and sincerity, as we would Christ, not by way of eye-service (i.e., jobs performed only under the boss’ watchful eye), but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. (Eph. 6:5-8; cf. also Colossians 3:22-25).

In 1 Peter 2:18-25, Peter addresses another reality here that we need to consider when it comes to submitting to our employer/boss/manager/supervisor. We are to submit to our bosses, managers, supervisors, even those who are unjust (unfair, surly – bad tempered/unfriendly, froward – a person who is difficult to deal with).

4.  Submission as it relates to your governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; cf. also – 1 Peter 2:13-17)

Is there ever a time when we are not to submit to human authority?

Yes, whenever human authority goes against divine authority. In other words, if a human authority seeks to order us to do anything that is in clear violation of God’s Word, we are not to comply.

What if the issue I have with an authority figure is not sinful in nature but a difference of opinion, philosophy, or direction? How do I handle that?

  • Pray for yourself and the person in authority, and about the situation. Ask God for humility, perspective, wisdom, and discernment.
  • Seek godly counsel.
  • Understand that there may be other variables that played into the decision-making process that you may not be aware of.
  • Rate the issue at hand. Is it a battle that involves you and if so, is it worth fighting?
  • Talk with him/her in person, respectfully.
  • Own up to any mishandling or misunderstanding of the issue on your part.
  • Exercise caution when thinking about venting your frustrations to others, particularly co-workers.
  • Keep the big picture in mind. Is this issue going to significantly impede you from doing what you were hired to do or the company/org/church from fulfilling its overall goal or mission? If not, then you submit to the decision and/or direction.
  • Stay in your lane, unless asked by your supervisor/leader, to momentarily come over into his/hers. In other words, do what you were hired to do. Don’t focus on things that you cannot change or control.
  • Appeal to a higher authority (HR, the head of your boss, pastors/elders), if the situation is significant enough to warrant such action and only after you have done all that you can do to try to resolve it.
  • Leave well, so far as it depends on you. Don’t blow up the supervisor, pastor, leader, organization, dept., company, church, ministry on your way out.

A “Political” Sermon

Dr. Karry Wesley preached a topical message today entitled, “The PC Sermon” from Hosea 4:1. The sermon was about the politial climate that we are in and what should our response be as Christians. And, no, he did not endorse either candidate, neither directly nor indirectly. He handled the subject well. It was a timely message.

Sisters Summit ’12

We are anticipating over 800 women in attendance! We are finalizing all of our preparations this week. As you did for HALFTIME, please pray for the Sisters Summit ’12 . Thanks.

Have a great week!

If You Speak It, It Shall Come? A Look at Proverbs 18:21

If you’ve been around the church world for a good length of time, you’ve probably heard these kinds of statements made about our words:

“Speak it [whatever you desire] into the atmosphere; speak it into existence.”

“Whatever you say, you shall have.”

“God spoke the world into existence, and since you are God’s child, you have that same authority and ability. Whatever you want, speak it and it shall come to pass.”

“Your words have the power to create.”

Those who are proponents of this type of teaching generally use Proverbs 18:21 as a point of reference. But is that what this verse means? My brother in Christ and Senior Pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, H.B. Charles, Jr., succinctly tackles this verse and the aberrational doctrine that has spawned from its misinterpretation here.

 

Sunday Reflections (Sept. 2, 2012): Antioch’s Got Talent, Student Conference, etc.

Friday – Well, we kicked the Labor Day Weekend off on Friday with an event we call “Antioch’s Got Talent” (yes, it’s a spin off of America’s Got Talent show). It’s just a fun time for our members to showcase their talents as we celebrate the Lord’s goodness in bringing our church into existence 26 years ago.

Saturday – On yesterday, over 400 students gathered together for our Impact Student Conference to worship God and to be taught His Word. The conference was centered around the theme “Not Ashamed” based on Romans 1:16. It was great to see Jr. High and High School students worshiping Jesus and being challenged, encouraged, and equipped by the Word of God.

Sunday – At the beginning of the year, I implemented an initiative in our Church School (Sunday School). On the 1st Sunday of each month, each of our Church School classes are studying and going through John MacArthur’s “Fundamentals of the Faith” workbook. Today I had to sub for one of our teachers and teach on the subject of prayer. We had a great time in the Word.

Dr. Wesley preached a sermon entitled, “A Message and a Miracle Meant for the Masses” from Luke 5:17-26.

Pre-registration ended today for our Men’s (Halftime) and Women’s (Sisters Summit) conferences. If you haven’t registered, don’t fret. You can show up on the Saturday of either conference and register on-site.

This coming week – Please be in prayer this week as we prepare to host our Halftime Men’s Conference. If you are wondering what to pray for, here is the big objective for Saturday: that men will embrace and live out Christ-like humility in every area of their lives through prayerful dependence on and submission to the Holy Spirit. Also, would you join me in praying for young men, like myself, in their 20’s and 30’s that God will capture our hearts in Christ so that we might spend our lives for Him and not waste our youth on sinful pursuits, and that the church will begin and/or continue to partner with God in doing what He wants us to do to reach, disciple, and deploy them to serve in His church and engage in His mission? Thanks.

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