Monthly Archives: May 2013

Book Spotlight: It Happens After Prayer

hb charles

Author: H.B. Charles, Jr.

Vocation: Senior Pastor of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida

Church Website: http://www.smbcjax.com

I came to know of H.B. Charles, Jr. a little over 5 years ago when he came to preach during a minister’s institute that my church was hosting here in Dallas, TX. We would later connect via Twitter and at the Kingdom Agenda Pastors Summit (facilitated by Dr. Tony Evans). I have since been following his ministry there at Shiloh and online through his blog: http://www.hbcharlesjr.com. For the past two years, Pastor Charles has been the guest preacher at our Spring Revival. Our church has been richly blessed by his faithfulness to biblical expository preaching.  If there is anything that H.B. is passionate about (in addition to Jesus, his family, and the Shiloh Church), it is preaching! He writes about it, reads about it, and teaches on it. He bleeds preaching! I have been encouraged and inspired by his passion and commitment to rightly dividing the Word of God.

Back Cover Description:

Life’s inevitable difficulties and disappointments can discourage us from praying, but our response should be to pray anyway and keep praying. Whatever our want or need, God invites us to come to Him with confidence, believing that He is able to answer – and He will answer.

We can pray for:

  • Forgiveness like David
  • Wisdom like Solomon
  • Healing like Hezekiah
  • A child like Hannah
  • Deliverance like Jonah
  • Mercy like the ten lepers
  • Salvation like the thief on the cross

But are you convinced that prayer works? Even when you don’t get the answers you want? In It Happens After Prayer, Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. motivates and encourages us to respond to the challenges of life with prayer, to pray without ceasing, and to pray with great expectations.

Are you ready for a new level of earnest, passionate, God-sized prayers? Don’t let another day go by without praying and seeking the face of God, because it happens after prayer.

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This book is one that I have prioritized on my reading list. I purchased my copy on Amazon, but I am sure it is also available for order wherever Christian books are sold. Be sure to get yours today.

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11 Keys To A Healthy Marriage

Why eleven? It’s an odd number, and it seems so arbitrary, doesn’t it? Well, it is definitely an odd number, but it is not random, and here’s why.

It was eleven years ago on this very date that I married my High School sweetheart. It has been a wonderful and, at times, challenging journey. But one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. We, like all marriages, have had our ups and downs. But, by God’s grace, we stand here eleven years later stronger, wiser, and better.

So as we celebrate our wedding anniversary, my wife and I want to share 11 keys with you on how to have a healthy marriage. We definitley don’t know it all and have much married life to live, Lord willing. But we have learned a few lessons along the way. You will not find these to be new, groundbreaking, or complex, but we pray they will be beneficial to you nonetheless.

11. Have fun!

Hopefully you married (or will marry) someone who is your friend; someone who you love to be around and do things with. Your spouse should not only be your soulmate and teammate, but also your PLAYmate.

Whatever you two consider to be enjoyable, keep doing it! And it wouldn’t be a bad thing for you to venture out and do something that you normally wouldn’t do. Take a trip to some place that you’ve never been. Try a different restaurant. If you are predictable, do something spontaneous. You get the point.

Marriage shouldn’t be a drag. So enjoy life with your spouse.

P.S. – Don’t take yourselves too seriously. It’s okay to also make fun of each other. Just be careful about pushing your spouse’s buttons. Not doing so can turn a playful, breezy moment into a serious tornado of conflict.

10. Celebrate your spouse

I’m sure there are enough things that you could complain about regarding your marriage. But we want to encourage you to focus on the good concerning your spouse and your relationship. This doesn’t mean that you don’t deal with what is wrong or not so good, but that shouldn’t be what consumes your focus and energy. If it is, it won’t take long before you and your spouse become miserable and your marriage turns toxic.

Celebrate how God created your spouse (physical and personality traits).

Celebrate your spouse’s strengths, skills, intelligence, wisdom, etc.

Celebrate your spouse’s achievements.

Celebrate your spouse’s spiritual growth.

Celebrate special days (e.g., birthday, anniversary, etc.).

9. Communicate respectfully and listen attentively

If your physical health is significantly affected by what goes IN your mouth, then your marital health is similarly affected by what goes OUT of your mouth. You can sicken your marriage by spewing out rotten words. Prayerfully guard your words and resolve to only speak words that will in the end build up and not tear down. And if you fail to do so, be sure to apologize.

Listen just as much, if not not more than you talk. We won’t tell you to not formulate in your mind a response or rebuttal to your spouse as he or she is still talking (some people have to do this or else they will forget) – although doing so, we believe, is wise. Just please make sure that you fully hear your spouse out.

8. Surround yourselves with people who can speak into your marriage

It not only takes a village to raise a child, we believe it also takes one to sustain a healthy marriage. Having mature Christian brothers and sisters who love us and whom my wife and I have given permission to ask us hard questions, counsel, and gently yet firmly call us on the carpet as needed has been a tremendous expression of God’s grace in our marriage. God has used them to get us over some hurdles in our relationship, and to keep us on the right track.

7. Date your spouse

To this point, some people don’t feel like it takes all of this to have a healthy marriage. We are not saying that you HAVE to do this or your marriage is doomed to fail or won’t be all that it could be. We actually know a couple who has 20-plus years under their belt and don’t go on date nights and probably never will.

Whether it is a date night, pillow talk, etc., the point we are simply making is that all of us need to constantly be spending quality, uninterrupted time with our spouses.

6. Pray for and with your spouse

Pray when things are good and when they are bad. Pray when you feel like it and when you don’t. Pray before, while, and after having difficult conversations with your spouse. Pray when you have major decisions to make. Pray for contentment. Pray for spiritual growth. Pray for blessings. Pray to steward those blessings well, if God grants them. And when you feel like you have prayed enough, pray some more!

Durable marriages are made up of dependent spouses. Pray as if your marriage depends on God…because it does!

5. Keep the intimacy aflame

Admiration and affection should be constant staples in your marriage. And a consistent diet of loving sexual intimacy never hurt a marriage. As far as it depends on you, don’t sexually starve your spouse. The more the merrier!

4. Accept each other

All of us have idiosyncrasies that we bring into the marriage. This is not an issue of right or wrong, but rather different ways of doing things. The sooner you accept these things about your spouse and learn to work around or in spite of them, the better.

3. Serve one another

What can I do today to serve my spouse? Asking this simple question will revolutionize your marriage. Why? Because many of the root causes of the problems we encounter in marriage have to do with selfishness. Can you imagine the type of marriage you would have if both of you look out for the other’s interest and not merely your own?

2. Forgive sincerely and reconcile quickly

It is possible that your spouse will sin against you at some point during the course of your marriage. And I am not referring to just major transgressions, like adultery. There are a number of ways we can sin against each other: using harsh words, maliciously doing things that we know will irritate our spouses as a way to make them suffer for what they did against us, lying, etc. Forgiveness, therefore, is a must, if your marriage is to survive these moments.

But it’s not enough to forgive; reconciliation is needed as well. You’ve got to come back together, and be willing to trust and put your heart on the line again. With that, let me say this to the offending spouse: If reconciliation is going to happen, you need to have sincerely repented to God and your spouse, and you will need to demonstrate fruits of that repentance. In other words, you need to say and show that you are sorry.

1. Keep Jesus at the center of your lives and marriage

Jesus’ perfect life, redemptive death on the cross for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead is the source from which all healthy marriages flow.

Submitting yourselves to the Lordship of Jesus will position your marriage to last a lifetime. He can keep your marriage, and even put it back together again, if you both will obediently follow Him.

We have seen Him do it, not only for others, but in our marriage as well.

Book Spotlight – Manhood Restored: How The Gospel Makes Men Whole

manhood

Author: Eric Mason

Vocation: Founder and Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Church Website: http://www.epiphanyfellowship.org

I was first introduced to Eric online via the Acts 29 Network. What intrigued me about him was his unwavering commitment to the Bible and his passion to see the Gospel of Jesus impact urban communities (and beyond) – with an intentional focus on reaching men but not to the exclusion of women – in the power of the Holy Spirit through the agency of the local church. I have since followed his life and ministry from afar, and was honored to meet him in person at the Kingdom Agenda Pastors Summit (led by Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church in Dallas, TX) a year ago.

Back Cover Book Description:

The earthly crisis within manhood will remain until Jesus returns, but in Christ a man is pointed toward the gospel as the vision for renewal. Manhood Restored by exciting new pastoral voice Eric Mason combines theological depth with practical insights, putting men in step with a gospel-centered manhood that will enrich every facet of their lives.

The Scope of Manhood

Mason begins by looking first at why God created man, at the differences between man and woman, and what should drive the purpose of a man during his time on earth.

The Problems in Manhood

Mason analyzes the false icons that lead to cultural caricatures of men – the businessman, the thug, the playboy, the athlete, etc. – then makes a connection to the cross-cultural fatherhood crisis by looking at what men do to fill the void when their relationship with Dad or God is not there.

The Redemption of Manhood

Mason sets Jesus as the true standard of biblical manhood, looking to His perfect example to redeem and restore a man’s life in the areas of sexuality, home, and work.

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I have already selected and ordered this book – along with its supplemental resources: study guide, video teaching, and leader kit – available for purchase at here – as the curriculum that we will use during the new ministry program year (fall 2013) of our Men’s ministry here at my church.

Make this book a part of your library, ministry, or church. I am certain it will be a tremendous blessing.

Book Spotlight (New Blog Category)

From presidents to doctors to inventors to bus drivers, African Americans have made significant contributions to American society at large. This is no less true when it comes to the Christian evangelical world, all of which is by God’s grace and gifting.  Our songs have been adopted and adapted. Our sermons and services (worship and also outreach) are lauded as being Christ-centered, biblically-solid, holistic, creative, rich and jubilant. The list could go on and on.

But what I am most excited about is our (specifically Black Pastors and Theologians) contribution to Christian literature, particularly in the categories of Theology, Biblical Studies, and Christian Living.  African American believers have been writing such works for decades; persons like Dr. Tony Evans, Dr. Cleophus J. LaRue, Thabiti Anyabwile, and my Pastor, Dr. Karry D. Wesley, to just name a few. So this is not a new phenomenon.  However, it is the new crop of Black evangelical authors, of which I am grateful to be a part, who are publishing Christ/Gospel-centered, biblically-faithful books that encourages my soul, and I want to do my part in promoting them.

So with that, I am introducing a new category here on my blog entitled “Book Spotlight.” This will not be posts reviewing books in their entirety and marking out strengths and weaknesses, but rather, as the title suggests, simply highlighting them with the hope that you will support by purchasing a copy or copies.

It is my sincere prayer that this feature will direct you to books that after reading them will produce spiritual fruit in your life (or in the lives of others) to the glory of God in Christ.

The Witness

A Black Christian Collective

Trillia Newbell

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Cam Triggs

For God's Glory

Henry Ballard, Jr.

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

D. A. Horton

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Stephen G. Brown

Be encouraged by the preaching + teaching + writing of Stephen G. Brown

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

THE WIRE

by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

Desiring God

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Ligonier Ministries Blog

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Vertical Church

Just another WordPress.com site

Tim Challies

Informing the Reforming

H.B. Charles Jr.

Living, Leading, & Loving Like Jesus

Kraig Lowell Pullam

My thoughts. My reflections. My journey.... On pastoring, preaching, leading & learning.