It’s been awhile but I’m Back and I brought God with me!

It’s been a while since I wrote an blog and by a while I mean a couple of years! I’ve been in the transition stage of life where I’ve been super busy being a father, husband, pastor, and christian. But somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten who I was, and who God called me to be. I had a rough last appointment(Church) where i was told that my son shouldn’t be in church because he was just a toddler. I got cussed out in business meetings for upholding righteousness and biblical truth. For some reason the elders of the church find a young clergy person to be a threat to the way they do church! Go figure huh! So we left that appointment and went on to the next one.

I packed up my stuff, family, and knocked the dust off my shoes and went on my way to a new church hoping for a better experience. I took my past experiences with me and trying to keep the peace i bought into the idea of traditionalism. So for the year went by with no problems or any hiccups in the church. I felt like I was doing great but at the same time I felt like I was a failure. I haven’t shared my testimony with anyone in the last year, and it wasn’t because God hasn’t given me the chances to share it, but it was because I was worried about what people would think about me when I shared it with them. The more opportunities I missed to share my story the more miserable I got.

It’s funny how God will make you miserable in life until you surrender to him fully. Tired of being miserable, working on a sermon on saturday afternoon for the next morning, I’m sitting at the dinning room table just listening to worship music and the story of Brian “Head” Welch comes to my heart. I know his story I’ve seen his “I am Second” video a few times and what an amazing story it is. So I put in Brian Head Welch on iTunes and there is a whole list of songs that pulls up. So I click on “Washed by Blood”. The first line says “I know you’ve tried To satisfy Your appetite For too long You wonder why You are alive You’ve lived a lie For too long So now you’re done Life isn’t fun Anymore What’s this life for?” I was blown away, my heart begins to break and tears are now streaming out of my eyes. The Holy Spirit enters my dinning room and gently speaks out to me saying be true to me and not anyone else.

So today let me be the first to proclaim the victory of Jesus, break the trends of the church, stand bold on the Rock, tear the walls down of the church, and bring the gospel to the streets where the people are. For far to long the doors of the church has been closed and the people inside the church has kept others out! I’m no longer ashamed that when I was 21 years old I was convicted of two counts of robbery for being stupid, but it was in a jail cell where someone who loved Christ enough to bring me the gospel and I became a newborn believer in Christ! I told God if he could get me out of this mess I’ll follow him to the ends of the earth. So standing in front of a judge, facing 30 years in prison, I was sentenced to five years probation and nothing else. God held up his end of the deal. He delivered me out of prison, he delivered me out of the pits of hell! Now it’s me time to hold up my end of the deal!

So here goes, all I want is Jesus, no religion, no pulpit, no church, no stained glass windows, no pews, no hymnals, just Jesus! He loved me before I know him! I wasn’t raised in church, but he came to my rescue! I was in jail and he sat me free, I was miserable, and He broke my heart for a life that longs to be just like his! Amen! I’m Back and I Brought God with ME! What a message to tell the world, to tell satan, to the church that’s stuck in it’s ways! I’m Back and I brought God with me! If that offends you then take it up with God!

And oh yeah, I’m growing my hair out for dreadlocks so when someone says hey i like your hair or hey i don’t like your hair, i’ll answer back and say that’s cool let me tell you about my savior named Jesus!

So this is what I would like in return, if this post moves you to take the gospel to the streets, or if you simply just hate this post and you think I’m an idiot that’s cool too. leave me a comment. Tell me your story about the moment you met Jesus, and those moments where you’re still meeting Jesus in radical movements through the Holy Spirit.

Let’s take the Gospel to the streets! I’m Back and I brought GOD with me!!!

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Loving the Unloveable.

The hardest thing I have to do in this life is love the unloveable. Its easy to love people that we don’t know, like the homeless that we minister to, the love the stranger that passes us by in Wal-Mart when we are grocery shopping, or even a person who is in prison for committing a serious crime. It’s easy for us to love those people, because Jesus said to, and so we say in our hearts to people, blessed their hearts, they need some help, and so we pour the love of Christ upon them. It’s easy to love people that we don’t know.

But it’s hard to love the people we know. Especially people that bully us around, people who are determined to have it their way or no way at all. You know those type of people I’m talking about, we label them sticks in the mud. It’s hard to love people who are against everything you say, you preach, you teach, you do, and what you believe in. Then the opposition comes, satan enters into the scene, and heartache starts to rise up in you because of those unloveable people.

So you try to avoid them at all cost, but every time you turn around it seems like the unloveable just pops up. So what do you do, do you just quit, move and go live somewhere else? it would be easy to do that, but the chances are that most of us don’t have the resources to do that. So in the words written in read, we find our answer. Love your enemies. I truly believe that was a hard thing for the apostles to do as well, and they were the ones that was hand picked by Jesus. But if Jesus took the time to teach the twelve that he had hand picked, then maybe we need to spend some time loving our enemies as well. Wouldn’t our hearts that was hand picked by Christ, when we first felt conviction of the Holy Spirit? I believe so!

So when it comes to loving the unloveable, then we must do exactly what Jesus taught us to do and that’s to love them. Its hard, but with pray we can get there. Pour the love of Christ on them. Because when you do that, it just makes them madder. Love is better than revenge anyday!

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Inspirational for dealing with Guilt.

For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25.11 NRSV)

Sometime back the newspapers told of a man who walked into the police station to confess a crime he had committed fifteen years before. The reason for his confession?: “I have not been able to get it off my mind.” Here was a man willing to subject himself to punishment in order to restore his peace of mind.

Some of us are troubled and we don’t even know why we are troubled. The issue is unresolved guilt. Today is a time of repentance. It is a time for confession of our sins and the beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ.

Dear God, please forgive me and heal me from my guilt. Amen.

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Weekly Devotion

O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit. 
(Psalm 30.3 NRSV)

Richard Lederer collects funny signs. Some of these are simply the result of people in foreign countries having difficulty translating into English. He says that at the entrance to a hotel swimming pool on the French Riviera there is a sign that reads like this: Swimming is forbidden in the absence of a savior. Maybe the person who put up that sign knew English better than we may suppose. Not only swimming but life itself should not be lived in the absence of a Savior.

Kenneth Filkins has caught this beautifully in a poem entitled “The Pit.” Let me share just a little bit of it with you:
A man fell into a pit and he couldn’t get out.
BUDDHA said: “Your pit is only a state of mind.”
A HINDU said: “This pit is for purging you and making you more perfect.”
CONFUCIUS said: “If you would have listened to me, you would never have fallen into that pit.”
A NEW AGER said: “Maybe you should network with some other pit dwellers.”
A SELF-PITYING PERSON said: “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.”
A NEWS REPORTER said: “Could I have the exclusive story on your pit?”
An I.R.S. MAN said: “Have you paid your taxes on that pit?”
A COUNTY INSPECTOR said: “Do you have a permit for that pit?”
A REALIST said: “That’s a pit.”
An IDEALIST said: “The world shouldn’t have pits.”
An OPTIMIST said: “Things could be worse.”
A PESSIMIST said: “Things will get worse.”

Are you in a pit? Let Jesus pull you out.

God of heaven, pull me out of the pits of my life. Amen.

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Pastor’s view of Sunday

we had three great services sunday. I preached on the second rule that John Wesley had which was do good. I used the scripture in the gospel of Matthew 25:35-40. 

Jesus addressed the crowd about being righteous and he explains his teachings with the example of sheep and goats. Sheep were on the right hand side and this was the group that Jesus was proud of. The second group was goats and the goats didn’t please Jesus at all. The sheep feed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave drink to the thirsty, visited the poor and sick in other words the sheep did good. The goats did the not. 

In the message I talked about what is written on a tombstone. There is a birthdate signify when your life had begun and then there is a death date signify when your crossed over into the after life. But between those two dates there is a little line the two dates called a dash. The dash tells the story of the our lives. The question is in the dash were we a sheep or were we a goat? Did we feed the hungry, did we give drink to the thirsty, did we clothe the naked, did we visit the sick and those in prison, did we do good? When we leave this world headed into the afterlife if our friends could write on the dash of our tomb stones would they write they did all the good they could do for all who needed it, in the all the ways they could help out, forever? 

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Weekly Devotion

Mark 1:9-15

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

I received a prank call a couple of months ago from what I can expect was some bored yet creative teenagers who just punched in 10 random numbers to see who they could annoy at 3 a.m. I was comfortably sleeping in my bed and shot up to the sound of the call wondering who could possibly be in trouble to find myself talking to someone who was asking to speak with Iona Pigg. I had to chuckle a little bit but it was quite the discombobulating feeling to go from such a range of emotions, startled-concerned- relieved-annoyed-amused, in one moment. I felt so warm and comfortable in my bed and a moment later I was shaking with so much emotion that I couldn’t go back to sleep.

The Gospel story in Mark takes us through a similar situation; Jesus being baptized-Jesus being tempted- Jesus proclaiming the Good News. When was Jesus supposed to catch his breath? While I’m sure there were some details between the lines that the author of Mark is omitting, I have a feeling even to Jesus this period in his life could have felt a little discombobulating. I can imagine God’s call upon his life during baptism was affirming and encouraging. I can imagine being in the wilderness for forty days might have felt lonely and even scary. I can imagine his friend John being put in prison causing frustration yet inspiration for his mission.

Within our own journey of Christian discipleship we see similar strands of the experience of Jesus. We often feel affirmed, lonely, scared, frustrated and inspired; sometimes all in one moment. We can find the good news in knowing that as people of God Jesus knows our journey. As the Spirit led Jesus, we so too are led through our own life’s journey (discombobulating experiences and all) connecting us with others who are along the path so we might know that God is near. We will then be led with others to places where the Good News of God’s kin-dom needs to resonate and come to fruition. We will be inspired along this discombobulating journey to live into the vision God has for the world.

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Ash Wednesday Service

We had a good crowd and wonderful service for the beginning of Lent. The Ash Wednesday Service that we had around 30 people showed up. We received the elements of Holy Communion, I preached a message, then had the imposition of ashes placed on our foreheads.

The message I preached was about forgiveness of sins, turning back to God, and practicing spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and giving. We have a need for forgiveness, but we must be honest with ourselves and God and confess our sins. Then we can receive the free gift of grace called Forgiveness. Then we turn back to God and he takes our brokeness, and gives us new life. Then we feel compelled to draw back to God and then we become more like Christ as we follow the examples that he has set before us in prayer, fasting and giving.

Lent is about giving up something special to us, and drawing closer to Christ in the 40 days by praying when we would normally do whatever we gave up that meant a lot to us.

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Pastor’s View of Sunday Service.

we had three great services sunday. I started a sermon series on John Wesley’s three simply  rules. Starting with the First rule Do no Harm. I used the scripture from Romans 12 and chapter 13. where the apostle Paul said that we should be careful about doing the things that Jesus has already warned us about. Such as lying, cheating, coveting, murder, stealing, and so on. 

There are two different point of views about not doing in harm. The first group is called deontology which comes for the word deon which means obligation. They believe it’s simple not to doing any harm as long as we follow the rules. The next group is teleology which means end or purpose. So Teleology believes that some actions that are questionable is ok, has long as the end is ok. For example the means of war. War is ok, as long as the end result is peace. But teleology has means that some of our simple actions aren’t so innocent and simple. Such as watching TV, or sitting on the couch. If watching TV keeps us from drawing closer to God, or sitting on Couch keeps us from leading our neighbor to salvation in Christ, then is our simple and innocent actions are very harmful. 

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Remembering the mission field

When tragedy strikes everybody flocks to the scene of the crisis to help the victims for the next few months. Money is poured out in communities, volunteers are made up of thousands of people, non profit organizations have to turn people away for a few months because everybody wants to be the first on the scene to help the needy. 

Then after the desire of the crisis has worn off, everybody returns home, the mission field goes from crowded busy streets flooded with volunteers to only empty ghost towns. The mission field is all but forgotten. This has been the case for a very infamous city, called New Orleans. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and destroyed all of the city. People responded to help, and for the most part of the city has been restored. Has the Super Bowl XLVII has held there last week, and Mari Gras is undergo right now, and all the beads that are being tossed to and fro there is still a part of the city that has not been restored to it’s former glory. The historical lower Nineth Ward. 

In 2010 it was said, that less than 20% of people have returned to their homes in lower Ninth Ward in NOLA. Hope hasn’t been restored to those who are still falling victims of Hurricane Katrina, and that’s because the people have forgotten about the mission field. 

The Apostle Paul in every letter that he wrote in the New Testament he always said that he remembered them always, and always praising God for the good work that had begun in them. He always remember every place that he went and preached the gospel at, and he prayed for them on a daily basis. May we be like the apostle Paul and remember the mission field and pray for the people of NOLA on a daily basis. Because they still need help, and they need to have hope and faith restored to them. 

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Weekly Devotion: Fruit of the Spirit

In Galatians chapter 5 the Apostle Paul warns us about the works of the flesh. He tells us that the works of the flesh are the opposite of the works of the spirit. Matter a fact the works of the flesh is what brings pleasure to the flesh, such as lust, envy, greed, adultery, murder, slander and so on. 

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, and self-control. When we display the fruit of the Spirit then we are evident that surely God is working in us and through us for his glory.  But here is the question how many times do we really bare the fruit of the spirit. 

It’s funny that we will spend a large amount of time making sure that we look presentable everyday before we officially start our days at work, school, or where ever we may go. We will dress up nice, make sure we smell good, because we want to make sure that we make a great impression on people. Because it’s about us, and nobody else. We want people to remember us, but when we do that or have that mentality that is the works of the flesh. See when we walk in the spirit then we dress ourselves in the spirit, and it’s the spirit that is the most important thing and that is what we want people to see in us. 

So today may we start walking in the spirit and not in the flesh, so everybody that comes into contact with us will see the spirit of the living God in us and not see us. 

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