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Sunday Reflections (Feb. 3, 2013): Proverbs, All-Male Service Provider Sunday, Engagement

Proverbs

As I tweeted sometime on last week, I continued my series on Proverbs today, looking at chapter 1 verses 20 through 33. The lesson title was “Listen Up! Wisdom is Talking.” To summarize, the passage contrasts the resulting consequences/outcomes of those who ignore (God’s) Wisdom versus those who listen to her.

I am very encouraged by the number of people who are showing up for the class. We are averaging about 45 so far. Praise God!

All-Male Service Provider Sunday

Today we launched what our Pastor calls all-male service provider Sunday. Every 1st Sunday of the month the men of our church will be responsible for serving in all areas of ministry: parking lot attendants, choir members, ushers, greeters, decision team members, etc.

The goal of this is simply to encourage more men to get involved in serving the church. Today was a good start. I’m hoping that more of my young adult peers will take up the challenge and begin using their gifts to build the body of Christ, as God intends.

Preaching Engagement

Next Sunday, February 10th, I will be going over to Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church (www.greaterdallas.org) to preach for my friend, Pastor Stephen G. Brown, who serves as the Senior Pastor. Jesus is doing a tremendous work through him in leading this church. If you have an opportunity, check him (them) out online.

I am truly humbled and honored to serve him and the Greater Bethlehem family through the preaching of God’s Word. I look forward to our time together in worship and fellowship as well!

Well, time to relax, eat some of these Italian Sausage Rotel Nachos that my wife made, and watch this Super Bowl game and entertainment.

Enjoy your day. Go Ravens! 🙂

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Lecrae Freestyles on BET’s 106 & Park’s “The Backroom”

So Lecrae was asked to spit some verses on BET the other day. It’s truly exciting to see mainstream doors opening for brothers (and sisters) like Lecrae to go in and rep Christ. Check out the video. I’ve included the lyrics at the bottom of this post as well. Good stuff!

Lecrae’s Freestyle Lyrics:

Yes, B.E.T. done let me back up in this
Business unfinished plus my ending got an appendix
Menace to your society, lyrics full of sobriety
Body me if you don’t like these policies that I be lobbying
Sick of seeing them hollow hearted get swallowed by Audemars and automatics
I manually give them the manual and I know they panic
When I say Jesus or Emmanuel
Partna I was a cannibalistic fallible animal
People looking for change and they fooled us into thinking it was Franklin
You only get one shot and you drank it
The lost art of thinking coupled with our depravity
Got me praying he’ll free us from this Gravity
Now on a lighter I hope that they bring back ‘The Wire’
Hope Lupe don’t retire hope I leave you all inspired
I’m rewired ironchest, tireless, I am blessed
With the Spirit that resurrects the dead, try and test, yes

You know what it is… 116 Unashamed
Yessir, and we out

Sunday Reflections (December 16, 2012): Sunday Service, A New Year, Sandy Hook

Sunday Service

I was tapped on the shoulder to give an overview of the Church School lesson, which was on Ephesians 4:1-16. That was fun. I always love teaching/preaching God’s Word.

I am getting geared up for my next teaching series, beginning in January 2013, entitled, “Don’t Play the Fool” based on the book of Proverbs. Can’t wait!

Worship service was on point today! We celebrated both those who publicly expressed their trust in Jesus through baptism and those who completed New Members Orientation.

Dr. Karry D. Wesley preached on “Having an Amen Moment” from Ephesians 3:20-21.

A New Year

We have for the most part completed our planning for another ministry year. Excited about all that God has in store for us next year! For those interested in hearing about what Jesus is doing in and through the Antioch Church, I’ll do my best to keep you updated as it all unfolds. Please remember us in your prayers as we seek to continue to be a faithful and fruitful church to and for The Lord Jesus.

Sandy Hook

Those of us in America were deeply saddened and disturbed this past week to hear of the tragic and senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Seeing the pictures of the deceased children was extremely heartbreaking. I cannot even fathom the grief that the parents are having to deal with.

May we continue to pray for the families and friends of those who lost their lives, the surviving children and adults as well as the first responders and officials who will have to deal with the aftermath of this horrific incident, and the churches in that area who will seek to love the grieving, hurting, angry, and confused (May The Lord grant them wisdom).

Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

“Imagine” Cypher Video (feat. Dre Murray, Alex Faith, Christon Gray, and Swoope)

I can’t wait until the We Live As Kings album drops. These guys are a just a few of the solid rappers out there, representing for Jesus. Be inspired! This song is available on iTunes.

Lecrae – Tell The World feat. Mali Music (Music Video)

Hopefully this will set your weekend off to a great start.

The Booth (Round 2) from Flavor Fest 2012 in Tampa, FL

The Booth is a musical spotlight on select Christian Rappers, those known and unknown. In this round we have Ruslan, The Ambassador, and a few more rappers. There is even a little Latino flavor mixed into this one! You gotta love the diversity!

It was a concept that was explored over this past weekend during Flavor Fest. Flavor Fest is basically a convergence of pastors, church leaders, and just Christians in general for a time of worship and biblical-theological training and missions development for those who serve in urban contexts. Go to www.flavorfest.org for more information.

Round 2. Let’s Go!!!!!!

Sunday Reflections (Oct. 7th, 2012): Men’s Discipleship Groups, Assoc. Ministers Training, Worship Service

Men’s Discipleship Groups

Yesterday, we began our first session of discipleship groups for our men’s ministry (Brother2Brother). I began our time vision casting about small groups, which is a part of Antioch’s Philosophy of Ministry and our discipleship strategy.

Our discipleship strategy is what we commit to do as a church, especially through the Christian Education Department, to assist members in their spiritual growth. I’ve labeled it our TLC strategy:

Teach people God’s Word (through classes, conferences, seminars, biblical resources)

Love people into God’s Way (through groups – B2B, Sisters, etc.)

Connect people to God’s Work (through missions and ministries)

As you can see, Saturday’s men’s gathering was an expression of the “L”. For the next eight months, we are focusing our attention on the book of Nehemiah. We are using Dr. Gene Getz’s Men of Purpose study series entitled “Hope Under Construction: Nehemiah.” We had a great time of study and fellowship as we went through the first lesson on prayer in our huddle groups (small groups).

As I tweeted on Saturday, I believe we are missing out on a key component of spiritual growth when we don’t commit to some form of discipleship in community.

Associate Ministers Training

I remember when I was a freshman a college and joined Antioch at that time. One of the things that I came to appreciate about Pastor Wesley was his desire train the ministers who were a part of the Antioch Church. I began preaching at the age of 17 and had been under a couple of pastors. The training that I received under them was helpful, but it was nothing formalized. However all that changed when I came under Pastor Wesley’s tutelage. He came up with a training program that he called, “Project A.D.M.I.T. (Antioch’s Devoted Ministers In Training).” The curriculum covered topics ranging from the prayer life of a preacher to pulpit ethics to sermon preparation and delivery. I was even privileged to lead a couple of the classes.

Well, long story short, he rolled out the project again today to the roughly twenty ministers in attendance. This training has proved to be invaluable to my life and ministry, not only back then in college as an Associate Minister, but even now as a Pastor.

Worship Service

The Men’s Praise Team and Male Chorus led us in worship this morning. Pastor Wesley preached a sermon entitled, “Focusing on the Father’s Favor” from Numbers 13:27-33. We had a few people to respond during the Invitation. We observed the Lord’s Supper today, which we do every 1st Sunday of the month. Overall, it was a good day!

___________________________________________________________

My wife turned another year old on Tuesday. Praise God.

We saw Taken 2 yesterday. It was okay. It pretty much had the same formula as the first one. We are looking forward to seeing Denzel Washington’s new movie, “Flight.” Anything with Denzel in it is bound to be good! And Don Cheadle graces the screen with him as well. Should be a great one.

The State Fair started this past weekend here in Dallas. It’s huge ordeal here in the metroplex. If you want to take a culinary journey, the State Fair is what you need in your life: fried oreos, fried candy-coated bacon, fried twinkies, fried peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, fried cotton candy, just to name a few. I know, crazy, right?! It is a highlight of the year for many of us Dallasites, and motivation to get back in the gym to work off all those calories.

My next book is coming along…slowly. Please keep me and this project in your prayers when you think about it. Thanks.

I have a few speaking engagements coming up this month that I’ll share with you next weekend. I am truly grateful for these opportunities to speak and to preach-teach God’s Word.

Have a great week!

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!

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!

“Chasing After You” (Music Video feat., Da TRUTH, The Ambassador, Jessica Reedy, etc.)

This is the first single from the MOVE compilation album, which will be released on August 28th.

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