Archive | February, 2020

Brilliance Lost

6 Feb

Honestly, I haven’t been sleeping well this week.  And I don’t know why.  But that is another conversation for another day.  Two nights ago, I woke up around three with a BRILLIANT thought on my mind.  And, I mean, I recognized the “brilliance” of it so much that I almost grabbed my iPhone to post it on Twitter or Facebook so I would have a record of it.

The key word in that last sentence is ALMOST…..

Since then I have racked my brain trying to remember it, exactly how it phrased itself in my mind.  I can’t remember the exact words, but it revolves around the truth that EACH OF US is responsible for our level of satisfaction and happiness in life.  Modern society makes it too easy to blame others for our circumstances or our failures.  Granted, no one will ever succeed in every endeavor.  We will all fail and we will all fall short at times.  There will also be moments in our lives where we have absolutely no control of the circumstances around us.  And herein lies a worthy truth:  We cannot control the world around us, but we CAN control how we respond to it.  And we can control WHERE we place our faith for navigation!  Think about that.

It is way too easy to blame someone else when the going gets rough or the going never gets off of the ground.  Blaming someone else or finding an excuse alleviates our feeling of responsibility and allows us to escape “adulting.”  Too many people fall into that trap.

YOU are able to control how you respond to everything you face.  The wise man and woman will “trust in the Lord with all (of their) heart” and He will guide you through even the toughest paths.  Place your faith in Jesus Christ and just WATCH how God will work through it all!!!

Don’t be fooled!!

5 Feb

In the days before modern banking technology, how did a teller or bank employee spot a counterfeit bill??  Have you ever thought about that?  TODAY, there is all kinds of technology on that new, crisp $100 bill that enables businesses and banks to KNOW that bill is the real deal.  But how did they spot things like this 100 years ago??

Some of my long-time banking friends remind me that the human brain is the most complex computer on the planet!!  Spotting a counterfeit was something bank employees were trained to do, not only by learning the methods of those who produced false bills, but also (and mostly) by STUDYING THE REAL THING.  When they studied and KNEW the real thing, they could easily spot the counterfeit.

So … How can we keep ourselves from being fooled today by counterfeit theology?  By counterfeit holiness?

I have been at Ebenezer Baptist Church for almost 25 years now.  First as the Minister of Youth and Recreation (for 4 years), then as the Interim Pastor (for 18 months), and since then as the Pastor.  Honestly, I have struggled in the past few months for God’s vision in my life and ministry.  And then He gave me an assignment that has consumed me!!  My job is to make sure Ebenezer is ready to pass the baton to the next generation….  For years now, I have studied and received training on the next generation and how to reach them.  I have nudged Ebenezer towards a position to be ready to do this.  I have encountered resistance, but truthfully NO ONE likes change (so that is to be expected).

But I have uncovered another fact with which to struggle.  Something I believe will plague the American church more than others around the world.  We are too quick to judge a book by its cover.  We accept outward appearances as gospel truth and do not work to see what is on the inside.  In other words, we could easily fall into the world’s trap of judging others based on the outward instead of the inward.  If we cannot overcome this, the North American church will suffer terribly in the next few decades.  We MUST see past the outward and look at the inward.

Why are we in this place?

  • Because media has conditioned us to look for the appealing, sleek options rather than diamonds in the rough.
  • Because it takes more work to get to know someone.  Quite frankly, it is easier to accept an outward appearance or a social media image than it is to actually invest in a person and get to know them.  Investing in another person will take time, energy, and we might have to get our hands dirty.
  • Because we DO NOT like change, and if we accept those who do not think exactly like us, or act exactly like us, or dress exactly like us, it might just change our environment and we do not like that in the least little bit.  Changing will move us into the future, and we like the past.  It is comfortable and nostalgic.
  • Finally, sometimes we equate our programs, traditions, and habits with holiness.  We forget that holiness is found in the state of someone’s heart, not in their hair color or their choice of clothing.

How do we overcome this??  Simply by LOVING GOD with all of our heart, mind, body, soul, and strength and by LOVING EACH OTHER with Christ’s kind of love.  If we will just concentrate on doing those two things well, God will fill in the blanks on the rest.

Don’t be fooled!!  Look past the outer package!!!