Author Archives: Earl J. Griffin, Sr.

About Earl J. Griffin, Sr.

As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker, I can offer you workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching, aiding your personal and professional growth through study and practical application of John’s proven leadership methods. For over 40 years, my tract record as a proven leader has been exemplary both in the United States Army and as a Pastor in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. As a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Mentor, and Speaker, I use this expertise and experience to help leaders grow to their full potential. Coupled with my John Maxwell Certification is my Master of Science degree in Leadership Development, from Walden University. I am uniquely skilled at helping corporate leaders in the areas of human resources development programs, middle and executive leader development programs, and mentoring practices within the workplace. Both my professional time as an Organizational Development Specialist within the United States Army and my tenure as Senior Pastor within my church help me assist leaders in resolving the ethical dilemmas of leadership and developing the cultural skills necessary to lead in diverse multi-cultural organizations. Let's develop a sustainable relationship that benefits both your organization and that helps you achieve your personal leadership goals.

Three Dependable Promises

IMG_024325-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught. 28 “You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life. 29-31 “I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me. I’ll not be talking with you much more like this because the chief of this godless world is about to attack. But don’t worry—he has nothing on me, no claim on me. But so the world might know how thoroughly I love the Father, I am carrying out my Father’s instructions right down to the last detail. “Get up. Let’s go. It’s time to leave here.” (John 14:25-31)

 

Introduction

Charlie Brown is one of my favorite cartoon shows, especially at Christmas.  In one scene, Linus is building castles in the sand. He tells Charlie Brown: “Working with your hands is good therapy . . . It takes your mind off your troubles . . . Whenever I feel depressed, I build sand castles . . . I’ve been feeling pretty depressed lately!” Behind him we see a dozen or so sandcastles. In baseball they tell the story about the rookie who faced the great pitcher Walter Johnson for the first time. Johnson was in his prime. The batter took two quick strikes and headed for the dugout. He told the umpire to keep the third strike–he had seen enough.

Have you ever felt like that? Jesus promised his disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless.” Have you ever felt comfortless? The RSV translation uses the term desolate. Have you ever experienced desolation? For some people this is no joking matter. Depression is the most prevalent and the least treated serious illness in America today. Because it is so prevalent and so potentially dangerous, I am going to list several possible signs:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Shifts in sleeping patterns
  • Lack of energy
  • Agitation or increased activity
  • Loss of interest in daily activities and decreased sex drive
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt or self-reproach
  • Thoughts of suicide

If you or someone you know has at least four of these symptoms and they have lasted for at least two weeks, professional help probably should be sought. Prayerfully, most of us are not troubled enough to need professional help.  There are times, however when all of us need to be comforted.[1]

It is precisely at the point of facing the frightening prospects of the future that we can find a common ground with the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord had spoken more frequently and clearly of His death in Jerusalem.141 During the last supper Jesus had revealed that He was to be betrayed by one of His most intimate associates (John 13:18,21). Finally, He had told Peter that before the night was over he would deny knowing his Lord (John 13:38).

All of this was a most perplexing situation to those who had given up everything to become the followers of the Savior (Matthew 19:27). They saw the future now as something to be feared, rather than that which was eagerly anticipated. They, like many of us, viewed the future as something to be dreaded rather than desired.[2]

Move 1

But Jesus did something miraculous.  He made three dependable promises that would guide his followers through such turmoil.  Beloved, we have those same promises because we follow that same Jesus. He promised the disciples and us, His Presence, His Power, and His Peace.  Let us explore these for a few moments today.

First, Jesus promised his presence. In John 14:18-19, Jesus said of his impending death: ”1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. He went on to say in John 14:18-19, 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.”

He dealt with their lack of faith because they felt their situation would be too overwhelming to live with and to live through.

So, this morning as we face this pandemic with a prognosis of getting worse rather better, we too must examine our faith.  We must answer the question whether we believe in the promises of Jesus and if so, we have to confess and live by our faith.

The writer of Hebrews admonishes us that in difficult times, “35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

We are the church that holds to God’s unchanging hand.  Our ancestors lived through World War II, the Great Depression, Spanish Flu, The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the Middle Passage, Jim Crow, and all types of atrocities but they kept on praising God through it all.  And they did that largely because they kept the faith. We can do no less. Jesus promises his presence through it all.  Jesus said, “Lo, I’ll be with you even to the end of the age.

Second, Jesus promised his power.  “All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28) He said that power would be available and present with them.  According to Luke’s gospel account, Jesus said to them, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  All you need do is wait for it and when that power comes, you will be able to make it in even the toughest of times.  Hallelujah!

Power to get results, to be in control of your circumstances and situations despite the enormous odds against you.  Power to live through pandemics, wars, and natural catastrophes.  Power to endure hatred, oppression, famine and pestilence.  Power to stand to declare that our God is an awesome God.  Power to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ to a world that is teetering toward hell without a path of victory.  We are benefactors of that same power!   Acts 2:38-39 reads, 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And isn’t that good news.  Hallelujah!

Third, Jesus promised his Peace.  Listen to his words in John 14:27,” 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” What is this peace?  Well, it is peace that comes when you have unquenchable faith in the word of God.  It is peace that orders your life when chaos is rampant in your world.  It is peace that is as serene as the picture of a great storm, waters raging, floods destroying, winds ravishing the land,  lightning flashing, and the thunder roaring, and there perched upon a branch in a teetering tree is a little bird, sitting, singing, and unmoved.  That is the peace that passes all understanding that in the face of such odds against his survival that little bird, helpless to the human eye is unmoved.  Why, perhaps because he knows the one that controls the elements, he knows the one that calms the storms and she believes that One will never leave her nor forsake.  That is the peace that Jesus left his disciples and that he has left with those who believe and have faith in His word.

Move 2 (Conclusion)

And how is all this possible.  Because all of it is contained in the promise of the Holy Spirit.  All three promises are contained in the gift of the Holy Spirit which we have received.  Here what Jesus said about the Spirit in John 14:15-18, “16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

A story was written some years ago about a man who had discovered an amazing inner spiritual peace. He had lost his entire fortune in the stock market crash in the 1930s. He was drinking himself to death. He decided to take his life by walking out into the ocean and swimming past the point of no return. As he came to the edge of the water, he noticed something sparkling in the sand. It was a pale, delicate shell. He stood there, completely captivated by it. Finally, he picked it up. It was so delicate that the least pressure of his fingers would crush it. Yet it was undamaged and perfect. He was puzzled by this fact as the waves roared in upon him. How could a shell remain intact and unbroken in the midst of the tons of seething water?

Suddenly it dawned upon him that the shell did not panic, fight the forces of the water, and seek to forge its own path in the ocean. The shell simply yielded itself to the waters. It has accepted the storms with calmness, just as it had accepted the stillness of the depths of the water where it had its beginning. By yielding itself to the water, it survived. Suddenly the man saw himself. He had been fighting God, disobeying him, and trying to defy the spiritual forces at the heart of the universe. He realized now why his life was troubled, and his days were not worth living. He dropped to his knees and placed his life in God’s hands. He walked away into a new life of faith.[3]

Jesus said the Holy Spirit will comfort, guide, and inform us of how to live in a chaotic world.  Because of the Holy Spirit, we can depend on the presence, power, and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ to endure this current pandemic when hearts are filled with anxiety and frustration.  We can have peace, the peace of God if we continue to trust his word.    I look forward to Pentecost, don’t you?  On May 31, Pentecost season will arrive.  I look forward to another season of being infilled yet again with the presence, power, and peace of Christ through the Holy Spirit.  Let me conclude with this:  Is your life safely in the hands of Jesus? Have you come to know Jesus through repentance and baptism?  If not, I offer Christ to you today!  Only through accepting Christ, can you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Only then can you depend on the promises of Christ’s presence, power, and peace.  Let us pray.

[1] https://sermons.com/sermon/i-will-not-leave-you-comfortless/1348276

[2] https://bible.org/seriespage/32-facing-future-prescription-peace-john-14

[3] O. Garfield Beckstrand II, The Word From The Upper Room, CSS Publishing Company, Inc.

A Mother Cries From Anxiety and Frustration

15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” (1 Sam 1:15-16)

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested[a] as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)

 

Introduction

Black Mothers are so tired. Tired of seeing their young men killed, gunned down, murdered, abused, mutilated, and treated like they are 3/5th of a human being, treated less than one would treat their own canine or feline.

What can young black men and black women do in America?  One unknown writer wrote:  We can’t livestream (#Sean Reed); We can’t go jogging (#Ahmaud Arbery); We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#Bothem Sean and #Atatiana Jefferson); We can’t ask for help after being in a car crash (#Jonathan Ferrell and #Renisha McBride); We can’t have a cellphone (#Stephon Clark); We can’t leave a party to get to safety (#Jordan Edwards); We can’t play loud music (#Jordan Davis); We can’t sell CD’s (#Alton Sterling); We can’t sleep (#Aiyana Jones); We can’t walk from the corner store (#Mike Brown).; We can’t play cops and robbers (#Tamir Rice); We can’t go to church (#Charleston9); We can’t walk home with Skittles (#Trayvon Martin); We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#Sean Bell); We can’t party on New Years (#Oscar Grant); We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#Sandra Bland); We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#Philando Castile); We can’t break down on a public road with car problems (#Corey Jones); We can’t shop at Walmart (#John Crawford); We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#Terrence Crutcher); We can’t read a book in our own car (#Keith Scott); We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#Clifford Glover); We can’t decorate for a party (#Claude Reese); We can’t ask a cop a question (#Randy Evans); We can’t cash our check in peace (#Yvonne Smallwood); We can’t take out our wallet (#Amadou Diallo); We can’t run (#Walter Scott); We can’t breathe (#Eric Garner); We can’t live (#Freddie Gray).

This is frustration produced by anxiety from being Black in America.  Despite raising decent sons and daughters, taught to be respectful, honest, and God-fearing, Black sons and daughters find themselves too often attacked and maimed for no reason.  Murdered, killed, brutalized for being Black in America.

Yes, Black mothers are tired; we are all tired. Tired of making hashtags on social media. Tired of trying to convince America that our #BlackLivesMatter too. All this Spring Quarter we have been studying about justice in our Sunday School Lessons, the same lessons white America reads on Sunday Morning.  Somehow, at the same time white people are learning about justice, most white churches and some black churches are woefully silent on the atrocities being perpetrated on people of color in America and the world.

Throughout history, when anxiety and frustration set in a community, it has been praying mothers who made the difference.  Praying mothers who went before the throne of grace and sought help from a living God, a God able to make a difference and to raise up leaders who would allow peace and justice to reign.  Women who would band together and appeal to the powers that be for justice, action against oppression, and equitable treatment based upon the dignity of all persons and based on the standard of equal justice under the laws of the land.  Beloved, a praying mother, one who cries through her anxiety and frustration due to experiencing evil in the world, is a mighty force for good in the land.  Never underestimate the power of a praying woman.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 1

Hannah is a case in point.  She is miserable.  She is living in a polyamorous relationship with her husband Elkanah and his other wife Peninnah.  Peninnah had sons and daughters while Hannah had no children. Peninnah provoked her often and belittled, humiliated, and frustrated her every day.  The fact that Hannah was barren caused unbearable friction in Elkanah’s household.

Hannah wanted a child, yearned for a child, and she understood that if she got in the presence of God, God would answer her plea.  She prayed so diligently, until she had prayed herself weak.  Her voice was gone, but her lips were still moving.  Her voice was gone but her heart was still praying.  Her voice was gone but her spirit had touched heaven and it appeared as if she was in a spiritual stupor.  She had become so engrossed in the act of prayer until Eli thought her drunk, that tells you how out of touch he was. Lord, have mercy! Sometimes, those we expect to be able to tell when we’re in the presence of God, just are not there.  They are dealing with their own drama and mistake you getting your breakthrough for foolishness.  But hold on, God knows and God hears your heart’s cry.

Hannah said to Eli, “No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.” Hannah had pressed her way into the presence of God, she knew the key was getting before the throne and getting her petition before him.  So, she pressed her way and once the man of God knew what was going on, he added his faith to her faith, and said, “Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.” I’m telling you this morning that a praying woman, a determined woman who lays it all on the altar will hear from heaven beloved.  God will hear and God will answer!  Hallelujah!

 

Move 2

Nothing is more powerful than a woman who cries out of her own personal anxiety and frustration when evil has come and devastated her world.  Evil has come inside her front door and taken the life of her child.  Such is the case of the mothers of those children whose names I called.  Imagine the anxiety and frustration each mother feels. What sustains her, what calms her, what allows her strength to be emboldened rather than weakened?

The key can be found in Hannah’s actions and in following the advice of the writer of Hebrews.  Hannah demonstrates the power of prayer to effect change in your situation.  The Hebrew writer suggests prayer as the key to getting God’s attention and bringing justice to bear on unjust situations.

According to Jack Scott’s May 8th article in The Red & Black Online Newspaper, “On Feb. 23, Gregory and Travis McMichael killed Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black jogger, in Satilla Shores in Brunswick, Georgia. After two months, a full video of the killing and a wave of public outrage, the men were finally arrested on May 7. The case will go to a grand jury, but only after the end of a statewide judicial emergency currently in effect until June 12. The two-month delay is a failure of justice all on its own, but even more so because the case’s outcome is legitimately uncertain.”[1]

From February until May 8, Wanda Cooper, Ahmaud’s mother had to cry out of her anxiety and frustration.  No news reports on CNN or MSNBC, ABC, or CBS.  No headline news or NBC coverage.  For 90 days, this mother had to suffer the disrespect and disinterest of white reporters on the local and national level.  In their eyes, it was just another story about another black child killed in America.  It was not frontline news material, rather the antics of Donald Trump and his handling of COVID19 received their attention.

But God heard the cry of this mother.  How do you know that God heard her Reverend.  Because she declared on her Facebook page, “God is My Strength,” even before this incident occurred.  And since this tragic killing of her son, she has had the support of the Lord as she goes through frustration that would certainly destroy a person who does not depend on God. This is her baby boy, a son that she had just celebrated his birthday and encouraged him to continue being the son she knew and to accomplish those things she knew he could accomplish.  Running for him was regular, not some strange occurrence.  And so she never thought two white men would pull up on her son with a third trailing in the rear and take his life.

One mother said, “My emotions have not changed much. I still look to God for revenge and justice. However, I am very angry and I am very tired. And if Ahmaud’s mother isn’t, then something is severely wrong. I am numb in some way. I found myself asking what more does God want us to do? Asking God what is it that we are not doing as a people, to where we are forever bound to this life of torture, this fast track to death, and this existing but not living state. But when I think I hear the answer, I feel exhausted and paralyzed from depression and weariness. That’s where I am.”

When you have reached your breaking point, remember God is working behind the scenes.  The writer of Hebrews declares, “14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested[a] as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The video surfaced garnering national outrage.  The cry for justice drowned out the cry for racism and bigotry.  The campaign for justice is in full effect.  Arrests were made and the investigation is ongoing.  Ahmaud Arbery’s deaf will not go quietly into the night.  His blood is crying from the ground and our God is orchestrating the actions to follow.

God’s grace and mercy will sustain Wanda Cooper and Ahmaud’s father because God is their strength. And so finally, we have come to far to be tired.  Evil is ramping up its attacks on our personhood and our liberties.  There is too much work to do for us to get too tired to fight these atrocities.  So rise up church, rise up and call on the Name of the Lord.  The battle is not over, let us lift high the royal banner of the Lord. This battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s.  And our God hears the cries of a mother out of her anxiety and frustration with the troubles of this world.  Amen. Amen. Amen.

[1] https://www.redandblack.com/coronavirus/opinion-georgia-must-change-laws-that-enabled-ahmaud-aubrey-killing/article_32f3962e-9106-11ea-9815-af9094cf42ee.html

Embracing A New Normal

IMG_0243

This is an exciting time for Christendom. I’m reminded of the scripture found in Isaiah 43:16-21, MSG Bible, “This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—they lie down and then can’t get up; they’re snuffed out like so many candles: “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.  It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’ —the coyotes and the buzzards—Because I provided water in the desert, rivers through the sunbaked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose, the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.”

COVID19 has created a new normal in this global society for years to come. Even the church has been affected. I illustrate:

  • Churches have remained empty, but functional
  • Ministers are learning to adapt from traditional building worship to online, teleconferencing, and live streaming platforms.
  • Steward Boards and Officers are creating ways for members and friends to give online, by mail, or text to give.
  • The class leader system is resurfacing due to necessity of the hour.
  • District, Regional, Episcopal, and Connectional meetings are being reshaped for online delivery.

Indeed, this is a new normal. When I was in the military, we had an exercise called running in place. It was excellent for getting our heart rate up but did little for moving forward. There was forward momentum nor forward progress. I wonder if we are changing to reflect God’s new move or just running in place, waiting for things to return the way they were.

I believe this is a time to examine our ways as a denomination. I believe we should ask the question what rituals, meetings, gatherings, modes of operation and methods have become too cumbersome to serve this present age. This is a challenge for our College of Bishops, General Officers, Presiding Elders, Pastors, and Lay Leaders.  We can not assume that we will ever go back to business as usual. Can we discern what God’s new normal is for our church?

Matthew 9:14-17, MSG Bible, reads, “A little later John’s followers approached, asking, “Why is it that we and the Pharisees rigorously discipline body and spirit by fasting, but your followers don’t?”

15 Jesus told them, “When you’re celebrating a wedding, you don’t skimp on the cake and wine. You feast. Later you may need to pull in your belt, but not now. No one throws cold water on a friendly bonfire. This is Kingdom Come!” 16-17 He went on, “No one cuts up a fine silk scarf to patch old work clothes; you want fabrics that match. And you don’t put your wine in cracked bottles.”

In the age of G5 and Corona Viruses (of which many other strains will arise in the coming months) what of our structure can we renovate to “serve this present age.”  In a cultural slang, we have heard it said, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.” Meaning, preserve the essentials, throw out the excessive or nonessential. This is the question for every leader and the College of Bishops are wrestling even now to establish such distinctions.

This is new for us all and we all must support our leadership, adjust to the new normal, and remember our theme for this quadrennial which I doubt was designed to address this pandemic but which certainly is apropos for this pandemic.  Our theme is “Getting back to the basics as we envision our way forward taking care of God’s business.”  This is both prophetic and relevant for our present circumstances and for moving forward into our new normal.

Let us unite to pray, fast, and seek God’s hand at work in this present age.  Are we the church being led by God’s Spirit, able to answer this challenge, and meet the needs of the present age or are we kicking and screaming to return to the old way?

Well I believe conditions force us to rethink what is Methodist and what it means to be a Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. I believe we have the right leaders, in the right places, to receive from the Lord – through collaboration, deliberation, and experimentation – to guide us boldly into this new normal.

The Louisiana Region Annual Conference is strategically forming a plan to move from the precautions of social distancing due to the Corona Virus pandemic to one which will address the critical facets of the brick and mortar Annual Conference in light of the new normal.  To that end, we have cancelled our normal Annual Conference and are looking at the legal and traditional requirements to necessary for the Teleconference Annual Conference format.

We trust that the good people of the Louisiana Region will engage in this discussion with your Pastors, Presiding Elders, and your Bishop.

 

Three Reasons to Wait on God

 

Job 38:1

And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm

Introduction

Some of you grew up like I did. When thunderstorms would arise, mamma would call us in the living room, make us sit down, turn out the lights and caution us to be quiet because every time it thundered that meant God was talking.

 

And now, finally, God answered Job.  Job had been through hell. He lost family, property, wealth, and reputation. All while maintaining his integrity and clinging to his finite knowledge of God. After praying and fasting, while enduring his affliction along with emotional trauma, God had said nothing.

 

And Now, Finally, God Answered. Can you hear Job’s exasperation? Job, the man God loved.  Job, the man God bragged to satan about his righteousness and faithfulness. Job suffered without hearing a Word from God. Can you with Job the test of his faith?

 

And now, finally, God answered. God chose to answer Job in God’s own timing. God chose to answer Job from within the eye of a violent storm. From a interlude, a quiet place, within a violent storm, before the worst of the storm would pass. God answered Job from within the eye of the storm. From the eye of the storm that Job was in or the eye of the storm God created just from which to talk to Job.  But Job had to be still so Job could hear God’s answer. Is there a storm raging in your life? Are you expecting, are you listening for God?

 

Transition

 

The text says:  And now, finally, GOD answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. Job has waited.  Job is suffering. He and his friends have debated the righteousness of God and the sinfulness of man and how justice is administered within that context. And now, finally, God speaks from the eye of a violent storm. In other words, God has decided God has heard enough of human reasoning about a situation that God created. Lord, have mercy.

 

But the question I’m wrestling with in this text is what does the context of God’s answer say about God?

 

Move 1

First, it says God knows. God knows everything concerning you.  Job declared, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.”  God is intimately aware of what you’re going through. God is not in some far off universe, taking care of other things and leaving you holding the bag.  No, God, the Holy Spirit is present in the earth and God knows what you’re going through.

 

Our ancestors left us the knowledge of the spirit world complete with angels, ancestors, and God.  This world is not our home nor is it the only dimension of existence.  And declared to us that God operates in every dimension.  They said God is everywhere present at the same time and God knows all things.  Somebody say God knows.

 

Beloved, nothing that you experience is experienced apart from the knowledge of your God.  He knows.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 2

But let us move on.  Second, it says God is Sovereign. God answered Job from within the eye of a violent storm.  God met a storm with a storm. And spoke with Job in the most dangerous, deceitful part of the storm.  It’s called the eye of the storm.

 

The eye of the storm is the only peaceful part of the hurricane. … The center of low pressure in the storm is the eye. The lower the central pressure, the fiercer the storm, and the higher the winds – nevertheless, the eye is calm and peaceful.

 

God said time out to both storms and showed his sovereignty over both storms.  The storms in Job’s life and the storm he came to speak with Job from. This shows us Beloved that God is Sovereign over any circumstance or situation you face in life. God is not intimidated by any storm that comes up in your life. Lord, have mercy.

 

Move 3

Third, it says God can be trusted and that God wants us to trust Him.  Trust His Knowledge, His Judgement, and His Power all of which are rooted in His love. I hear Job speak his faith when says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”

 

Job is determined to trust God despite the violent storm he is experiencing in his life.  All his foundations have been destroyed, his reputation, his family, his prosperity.  Yet, Job holds on to his faith. Job keeps on praying, refusing to accuse God of injustice concerning him, and praises God no matter how tough his life gets.

 

Job is determined to trust God even if he died.  He declares, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.”  Anybody here determined to trust God even unto death.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 4 Conclusion

The fact of the matter is that there will be storms in your life.  But be of good cheer, because God your God knows all about you. Not only that, but your God is Sovereign over your life.  Is there anything too hard for God?  So, beloved you can trust God when you can’t trace God.  Hallelujah!

God came to Job in the eye of a violent storm, the winds were gushing over 120 mph, the rain was falling with cyclone force, the trees were toppling over, and the roofs were torn from the foundations, property was demolished and God came to Job in the eye of a violent storm.

Somebody say, the storms are passing over hallelujah!  The context of God’s answer indeed says that our God is an awesome God.  He knows, He is Sovereign, and He can be trusted no matter the test.

 

 

We Need Rhema Words of Faith

In my view, anyone who elevates the Bible above all other literature, cultures, and morays is doing it a disservice. The Bible should be interpreted in context alongside all the other bodies of knowledge handed down through generations. Was the gospel Paul preached written prior to him preaching or did he claim a new Spirit revealed gospel? In the 1st century, he was labeled a heretic by the religious community. His gospel survived because he fashioned it to answer a dilemma regarding the salvation of Gentiles and their status with Jews. It was in his mind a new revelation and he suffered to give it Birth. We have such challenges to salvation in our time that need bold voices to speak and reveal what God is saying in our time. Anyone who lives by scripture and verse has not allowed the Spirit to speak. Even Paul cautions against such dogmatic positions. I’m sure Paul did not envision his letters being canonized in a book by an oppressive regime and given as the final Word of God in any matter. In fact, Paul urged people to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for understanding and deeper insight. Even the Law of Moses was not final for Jesus in many sermons reinterpreted it and issued a new edict based on a higher knowledge of God’s Intention. We should be students of the Word engaging our total being in a conversation with God and the Word people have shared regarding God’s Word revealed to them. The Holy Spirit empowers such boldness and I pray for more disciples like Paul who will take the steps to hear a fresh word from God in this season and not a stale cultural bread steeped in the past.

Learning to Live Apart from Jesus

Learning to Live Apart from Jesus

John 16:4-15 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

4 But I’ve told you this so that when it happens you’ll remember what I’ve told you. I didn’t tell you this at first, because I was with you. 5 “Now I’m going to the one who sent me. Yet, none of you asks me where I’m going. 6 But because I’ve told you this, you’re filled with sadness. 7 However, I am telling you the truth: It’s good for you that I’m going away. If I don’t go away, the helper won’t come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 He will come to convict the world of sin, to show the world what has God’s approval, and to convince the world that God judges it. 9 He will convict the world of sin, because people don’t believe in me. 10 He will show the world what has God’s approval, because I’m going to the Father and you won’t see me anymore. 11 He will convince the world that God judges it, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 12 “I have a lot more to tell you, but that would be too much for you now. 13 When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won’t speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come. 14 He will give me glory, because he will tell you what I say. 15 Everything the Father says is also what I say. That is why I said, ‘He will take what I say and tell it to you.’

 

Introduction

Today is Pentecost Sunday.  But what is Pentecost? This celebration of Pentecost is derived from the Celebration of the Festival of Weeks, originally a Harvest Festival observed by the Hebrew People of Israel during the time of Moses well into the modern era. Exodus 23:16 says “Celebrate the Festival of the Harvest with the first produce harvested from whatever you plant in your fields. “Celebrate the Festival of the Final Harvest at the end of the year when you harvest your crops from the fields.”  It occurs on the fiftieth day after the Passover, a celebration of Freedom from Egyptian Bondage by the Hebrew People.

From whence does this term arise in Scripture? On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon those followers of Jesus who had gathered together in Jerusalem. Acts 2:1-4 records, “When Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Passover, came, all the believers were together in one place. 2 Suddenly, a sound like a violently blowing wind came from the sky and filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 Tongues that looked like fire appeared to them. The tongues arranged themselves so that one came to rest on each believer. 4 All the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.”

What happened on the first Pentecost continues to happen to Christians throughout the world today, though usually not in such a dramatic fashion. We rarely get a heavenly wind and tongues of fire anymore. Nevertheless, God pours out the Spirit upon all who put their faith in Jesus Christ and become his disciples (see Romans 8:1-11).

Christians are meant to live in the presence and power of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit helps us to confess Jesus as Lord (1 Cor 12:3), empowers us to serve God with supernatural power (1 Cor 12:4-11), binds us together as the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-13), helps us to pray (Rom 8:26), and even intercedes for us with God the Father (Rom 8:27). The Spirit guides us (Gal 5:25), helping us to live like Jesus (Gal 5:22-23).[1]

But it didn’t start out so easily.  Jesus was labeled a blasphemer by the church of his day, cast out of its synagogues, put on trial for heresy, and finally crucified as an enemy of the State.  Jesus had to persevere in his struggle to convince a dying, hierarchal, oppressive religious system that he had found a new living way.  A new way to view God that of Father.  A new way to express God’s concern for humanity, that of Mother.  A new way for humanity to interact with one another, that of brother and sister and friend.  Jesus taught the love of God, the Compassion of God, and the Mercy of God toward all people most especially sinners, outcast, and rejected in society.  He came to liberate, celebrate, and bring justice within society.

Pentecost, then, is about liberation, celebration, and justice.  Pentecost signifies that the oppressed in the world who accept Jesus Christ as Lord have received power for living.  And this outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers, frees believers to live lives being led by the Spirit that do not conform to the worldview of those without such a relationship with God. The aim of believers is to live as Jesus lived meaning to meet the challenges of spiritual evil and wickedness with the same clarity of thought and power as Jesus.  Believers who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit move to a different level of knowledge and understanding.[2]

Move 2

Because of Pentecost, the world is constantly being introduced to Jesus Christ, the revolutionary man who preached justice, lived justly, and died on behalf of justice.  And the church knows that the world we live in is not a just world.  Oppression and oppressors are thriving while God’s people are living under heavy weights of persecution and injustice.  The life and message of Jesus is far reaching in its influence in the world.  The church witnesses that the manifesto of Jesus is being realized though not yet and declares that a day of reckoning is at hand.

The Holy Spirit empowers the church that makes the mission of Jesus Christ its own and brings hope, healing, and help to those in need.  A Pentecost Church is a church on the forefront of advocacy for the poor, widowed, orphaned, and immigrant.  A Pentecost Church speaks life to those engaged in alternative lifestyles, addicted to money, sex, and power; the Pentecost Church speaks a word to those on the brink of suicide reminding them that evil cannot win.  Reminding them that God has a remedy for evil.  To all those like David who think the powerful elite have it made.  The church says be patient, keep serving the Lord because Justice is coming.

For I hear James the Church Moderator declare in James 5, “Pay attention to this if you’re rich. Cry and moan about the misery that is coming to you. 2 Your riches have decayed, and your clothes have been eaten by moths. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be used as evidence against you. Like fire, it will destroy your body. You have stored up riches in these last days. 4 The wages you refused to pay the people who harvested your fields shout to God against you. The Lord of Armies has heard the cries of those who gather the crops. 5 You have lived in luxury and pleasure here on earth. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered people who have God’s approval, even though they didn’t resist you.”

Thus, equal pay legislation, reform of our criminal justice system, advocacy for universal healthcare, welfare reform, and social security issues are all things that Pentecost Churches fight for.  They fight for the least of those among us and they stand to speak truth to power.  But not only do they advocate, the Pentecost Church creates.  The Pentecost Church creates programs to educate, employ, and liberate those for whom society is intent on denying freedom.  The Pentecost Church is not a begging church, it is a Church inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit to make a difference in its community and in the world.

Move 3

So, while we’re apart from Jesus, we are instructed by the Holy Spirit to do the works that Jesus did.  Jesus did not allow the Law of Moses to restrict his activity in the world, rather he reinterpreted the Law of Moses to better fit his understanding of who God is.  Jesus did not sit idly by and quote scripture to keep from influencing the world for God.  Often from the mouth of Jesus, we hear the words, “But I say unto you…”

When these words were spoken, people knew a change in attitude and behavior was expected to spring forth. When the church hears the world minimize people based on their socio-economic standing, lifestyle, neighborhood, and race the church uses these words of Jesus to say, “You have heard what the world says, but up in here we say unto you . . .

The Spirit looks at the “letter” but is not confined to the “letter.” The Apostle Paul writes, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”[3]

It is in the context of such a life-giving word followed by action against evil that the Pentecost Church impacts lives.

Finally,  “A twelve-year-old boy was saved at a revival. Later, his friends questioned him about it. One said, “Did you see a vision?” Another said, “Did you hear God speak?” The boy answered all of these questions with a simple no. “Well, how did you know you were saved?” they asked. The boy replied, “It’s like when you catch a fish, you can’t see the fish or hear the fish; you just feel him tugging on your line: I just felt God tugging on my heart.”[4]

The Holy Spirit tugs at hearts exposed to demonstrations of God’s power in the world. I trust that he is tugging on yours today.  There is much work to be done, “the world is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God.  Beloved, a Pentecost Church can live apart from Jesus because it sees itself doing the work of Jesus, speaking the words of Jesus, and having the same results of Jesus.  Beloved, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to help us live apart from Jesus.  Amen.

 

References:

[1] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markdroberts/series/what-is-pentecost-why-does-it-matter/

[2] 1 Corinthians 2 differentiates among the world’s wisdom and the wisdom of those led by the Spirit.

[3] 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

[4] http://ministry127.com/resources/illustration/he-felt-god-tugging-on-his-heart

Pentecost is a Justice Movement

Slave owners selectively chose certain black men and women to teach how to read; the slaves thought themselves special. The slaves went about teaching other slaves to read and most of the time the Bible was used to do such education. Can someone tell me why the slave owners would choose the most difficult book to comprehend to use as a teaching aid to black slaves?

Anyone can learn to read; its the critical thinking piece, however, that is necessary to become learned. Slave owners taught black slaves how to read, interpret, and fight to ensure nobody questioned, analyzed, or contradicted those words and created schools to reinforce the basic teaching they gave them. It is still the same today. Blacks fear to lift their eyes above the words and think for themselves. The Bible with its fear of hell, fire, and damnation, has enslaved people for generations and those who gave it to us and other (so-called) minorities gave it to us because it served their purpose.

The descendants of slave owners still violate the teachings of the Bible and do so with impunity because Black people refuse to think critically about what they are reading and remain paralyzed to create a new ethic for the issues of our time. Could the Bible be the real “Willie Lynch Letter”?

Stop regurgitating to me what the Bible said, I need more of what the Holy Spirit has revealed as a result of your own study and critical analysis unless you believe that the interpretations of your Anglo-Saxon Scholars are the only valid ones available. This is my prayer, Lord, free me from the confines of words on a page and liberate me to a world of knowledge only revealed by your Holy Spirit through intentional study, meditation, and prayer.

Nat Turner was taught how to read; he had a natural zeal for it. But why did his reading result in an uprising while other slaves’ reading resulted in conformity to the slave owners rules? For me what transpired was Pentecost! And Pentecost always results in nonconformity. Pentecost is a justice movement not bound by literal words on a page. Pentecost comes with power to change the world! Help me Holy Ghost!

Post-Resurrection Power for Pre-Resurrection Failure

Subject:  Post-Resurrection Power for Pre-Resurrection Failure

Text:  John 13:21-32
21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

 

Introduction

Well, it’s been about 3 years and much has happened.  Jesus intentionally chose 12 men to follow him as disciples and women raised funds to ensure his ministry would be successful.  But for this moment let us consider what happens when your inner circle breaks down when it betrays and denies you right before your very eyes.  For this is not a backdoor affair, this is a public denial by those whom Jesus handpicked to take his ministry to another level. That is the case within our text.  The entire 12 abandon our Lord when he should have been able to count on them most.  It’s amazing what pressure on your convictions can produce.

So Jesus is seated at the table with his disciples, breaking bread with them and the Holy Spirit gives him a glimpse of what he will have to endure in the coming days.  Among this revelation, Jesus sees Judas, his treasurer betray him, his closest ally, Peter denies him, and then the other 11 desert him.  Talking about a vision from God, Jesus certainly had one.

These are not strangers, these are close associates, his disciples.  Men who supposedly have left all to follow Jesus, all ambitions, all worldly pursuits, all worldly desires for power and prestige.  Men who have traveled with Jesus across the Palestinian valleys and the Judaean hills.  They have crossed the Sea of Galilee with him, even endured criticism of him, and have had intense debates regarding theology with him.  They know him, and yet they don’t know him as well as they should. The fact is it is in the hour of greatest adversity, that they get a chance to discover that they are not who they think they are.  They are not the courageous 12, they are more like the hateful 8.  They’re a hot mess; they are pre-resurrection disciples in need of post-resurrection power to be effective witnesses.  Hallelujah!

 

Move 1

This turn of events, this traumatic incident in his life, caused Jesus to reflect on the words of King David, the Psalmist King.  King David, when faced with the dire circumstance of betrayal, lamented in Psalm 41:9, “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”   I wonder if he was being prophetic or if Absalom’s betrayal hurt him just as much as Judas’ betrayal tormented Jesus.  But let us move on, it’s lunchtime and we cannot linger here.

It is traumatic because Judas does not betray Jesus until Judas is blessed by Jesus.  It is only after he receives the bread that Judas yields himself to Satan.  Can you imagine that?  You bless your inner circle and then your inner circle betrays you.  Lord, have mercy!

That’s a message all by itself; let us move on.  The Holy Spirit gives Jesus a vision only of betrayal, denial, and abandonment or so it seems; because despite his tortured soul at this revelation from the Holy Spirit, Jesus sees what will happen post-resurrection.

 

Move 2

And that’s why we celebrate Holy Week.  We assemble because we understand the blessing of post-resurrection.  Yes, when pressure is applied, we may fail, but that’s pre-resurrection.  Yes, we may betray friends, deny allies, and even abandon loved ones in their hour of greatest need, but that is pre-resurrection.  Pre-resurrection happens in the face of unforeseen circumstances wherein we thought we could stand only to discover the pressures of life beat back our resolve and revealed our cowardice.

How many times have we resolutely proclaimed a stand for righteousness, justice, and equality only to back down in the face of our opponents?  How often have we made vows to God only to see ourselves fail to fulfill our vows?  This is the stuff of pre-resurrection. Stuff we are called to overcome with post-resurrection power.

But isn’t it good to know that there is fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein and sinner’s plunge beneath that flood lose all their guilt and shame.  I’m so glad that God has given us a solution to our pre-resurrection blues.  For I hear the Apostle Paul declare, “When I would do good, evil is always present within me.”  And then Paul asks the Questions:  “Who shall deliver us from these pre-resurrection struggles?”  “I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!” These words led the hymn writer to exclaim, “What can wipe away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus!  What can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus!’

I stop by here on this Wednesday of Holy Week to share with you that there is post-resurrection power for pre-resurrection failure. His Name is Jesus.

And if your inner circle breaks down, if your life has been turned upside down just remember that it was in a similar incident that Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.” It is in that hour when your entire world is turned upside down, that God will get some glory out of your life. It’s a matter of perspective

Sometimes, you have to be left alone, ostracized, rejected and abandoned in order to see the glory of God in your life.  Remember beloved, God is not dependent on your friends or your associates to use you.  God does not need you to get over 1,000 social media followers in order to make you a sponsor of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Jesus saw his betrayal, denial, and abandonment as an opportunity for God to be glorified and so should you.

 

Move 3

Let us pray.  Heavenly Father, may we be able to surrender our will to yours, our friends and family to you even in pre-resurrection circumstances.  For we believe that your post-resurrection power is more than enough to bring glory to your name.  Let us view our situations as Christ viewed his:  as an opportunity for you to show up and show out.  Bless your word today, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Is the Church Leading the World to Jesus Christ?

“Dear friends,
I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.” (Jude 3-4, The Message Bible)

I look to the church to lead the world to Christ. What I see baffles me! I remember well how when I received a call to Christ and Christ’s gospel, I went to my beloved Willard W. Allen Lodge No. 108 and bid farewell to my brothers. They were happy for me that I had discovered my life’s calling and understood my decision to fully commit myself to the of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Is the Church transforming culture or is culture transforming the church? Are the two so intertwined until they are no longer singularly recognizable? Grambling State University has the Bayou Classic, a game that alumni and well-wishers look forward to each year. I daresay they have supporters committed to going to this one game even if they miss all the others. They prepare for it in advance to include budgeting, putting in time off at work, scheduling reunions, etc. It is of the utmost importance to them.

Do you as a supporter, no as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ have that one service, that one day you have committed to the Lord and refuse to substitute for anything else? For me, it is the Holy Communion Service. Despite what I have going on, it is my commitment to be at my church partaking of the Lord’s Supper with my members. I do whatever I can to keep this commitment above all others.

Jude warns us of confusing our commitment to Christ with that of our worldly pursuits and aspirations. I love the Lord and the Lord’s Church; never would I forsake her for obligations to any other group I’m affiliated with. Do you have such loyalty to your church?

The world stands in need of disciples of Jesus Christ leading the fight for their souls. They do not need associates, friends, comrades that flock to the same worldly pursuits as themselves. They who have not God, need those who do to become recognizable and distinct from any other group. The world needs our light to shine its brightest at this very moment in history. I urge you to consider whether your witness leads others to Christ or to something someone, some place, else.
In His Service,

Make This The Year of Execution!

 

People often decide to move forward with their plans after they reach a certain degree of certainty that their plans will be successful.  However, when it comes to moving forward in the things of God, that is not always possible.  God frequently leads us to the next step after we’ve completed the first.  God seems to insist we walk by faith and not by sight.  And often, God does not fill in all the blanks; God leaves certain details out of his instructions and still commands us to move.  See Numbers 13 where God challenged his people to move forward into the promised land with only His Word as guarantee that they would inherit the promise.  But they hesitated; they balked; they were paralyzed with fear not because of what they knew but because of what they didn’t know.  They didn’t know how God would act and so they refused to move forward.  God did not provide all the details.

“. . .. So when we are confronted by indecision, we need to move forward despite our doubts or confusion. We need to move forward, even if we’re only taking small steps. Those steps, regardless of which direction they go in, are likely to give us new information and experience. Our actions send ripples into the world. The situation may change or reveal itself in a new way once we have moved to a new vantage point.  Think of your life as a movie you are watching. You are midway through the movie and you don’t know what is going to happen. But you’re not supposed to know what is going to happen. The movie is not over yet. This is the challenge posed by the demon of indecision: Can you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Can you co-exist with confusion and not-knowing and take the next step?”[1]

God is calling us to move forward; to execute the plans he has given us for ministry in our several contexts.  I challenge you to obey God and do just that.  This year let us resolve to act; to act in concert with the known will of God and then to expect God to show up and show out. Each of you have dreams and aspirations of God making your life better.  You have prayed about it, you have discussed it in great detail; yet, you have not acted in line with your conversation.  You have procrastinated, hesitated because all of the blanks have not been filled in. You may ask can we do it? Who will help us? Where will the money come from?  Among others.  You declare you’re waiting on God and I declare God is waiting on you.  Make this the Year of Execution in your church, in your life, and in your community.

Trust God’s Word found in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”  Amazing, God has planned for your success; the question is “Why haven’t you acted based on God’s plans?”  Perhaps you’re afraid or perhaps you just can’t handle of the stress of not knowing.  However, when you do not move in concert with God’s plans, the stress of indecision, the stress of inaction, becomes even greater. The truth is we often try to wait until we feel like moving; rather than simply moving in faith.

Trudy Boyle confesses “My number one stress creator is not completing a task I have set for myself or following through promptly. The stress is compounded when I take on more than I can deliver in the allotted time. And my final penchant, which makes up what I call my “stress triangle” is to ignore the whole lot until the last sixty seconds!  How do I let this controllable stress occur? The honest answer is that I sometimes let my feelings boss me around. One of the puzzling lessons I have learned is that, more often than not, I do not feel like doing most of the things that need doing.[2]

Margie Warrell[3] gives us seven (7) strategies for moving past the fear that causes us to procrastinate which leads to our inaction.  I challenge each church to use these strategies as you plan your agenda for the upcoming conference year.  Here are the strategies in a nutshell:

  • Write down your goal and give yourself a deadline.
  • Break your goal into small pieces.
  • Visualize the future you want.
  • Harness fear.
  • Build accountability.
  • Reward progress.
  • Act bravely daily. Starting today

Finally, understand that God rewards action based on his Word.  His Word will not return to God void.  If it doesn’t work, the lessons you learn by doing it will be immeasurable for your future action.  Don’t allow the fear of failure to keep you from your destiny in God.  Make this “The Year of Execution!”

 

 

[1] Krech, G. & Anderson L. (2003). Defeating the Demons of Inaction: Indecision Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.org/library/public/defeating_the_demons_of_inaction_indecision.php

[2] Boyle, T. (2003) The Stress of not Getting Things Done. Retrieved from http://www.todoinstitute.com/library/public/the_stress_of_not_getting_things_done.php

[3] Warrell, M. (2013). Why You Procrastinate, and How to Stop It. Now. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2013/03/25/why-you-procrastinate-and-how-to-stop-it-now/#3b4e73481837