Who are you; to me?

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One of the most challenging experiences in my life has been the search for and the making of new friends. Though I am friendly, approachable and love dialogue and conversation, developing friendships has required far more effort and focus than I recall as a child.  Truth is, many things change as we grow. We are wiser, have less time to invest, and have developed walls (from past experiences) that both protect us and hinder us.  It is these guards that have become seemingly more important as the quality of person-hood and standard of morals and ethics have deteriorated.  heart

A message preached by Bishop TD Jakes struck a cord, leading to these thoughts.  He said,  “Disappointment is the result of misjudged expectations.”    Though his context was different, I applied it to my current thoughts and realized that I have missed the beauty of many relationships because of the role I mis-identified them as and the expectations that accompanied them.   One must understand that there are many roles and needs we have when it comes to relationships.  It is the desire and thirst for a good friendship that causes us to place hope I potential and make us vulnerable to those who display friendship traits as a way to gain access.

Our expectations cause us to mislabel, and mislabeling leaves things improperly identified and breed further future frustration.   Not labeling properly today, leaves a window for future frustration and hurt.  It is this act that causes the most wounds and scars, leading to what seems to be permanent damage, and result in one accepting or adopting the notion that they can make it through life without friends.  This is delusion.  We need people!  We need to be in relationships!  We need each other!

God is teaching us to value each relationship based on His intent for them and not our desires for them in our lives.  As opposed to searching for a friend, I have learned to value and appreciate each relationship for what it is in the moment.  Not rushing to give titles, not projecting expectations, or declaring jurisdictions.  Simply finding value in each conversation and encounter which has lead to a more fuller life, less stress and fewer disappointments.  I have learned that in every encounter, I must ask myself, “Who are you; to me?”  And then, I must accept the answer, properly label and press forward.  While the scripture is true, “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), we must be patient knowing that the best bonds take time.

#PastorJDO3

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Enabling Verses Disabling…Isaiah 1:17

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Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do what is right!  Promote justice!  Give the  oppressed reason to celebrate!  Take up the cause of the orphan!  Defend the rights of the widow!

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Though many scriptures were addressed in the Tuesday study, these two open the door to this blog title, creating great questions and opening up great dialogue.   We began by defining, orphan, widows, and the poor, which placed an important backdrop on the lesson.  As one stated, the is a difference between poor and poor mouth (also pronounced “po’ mouth”).  Though we acknowledged that there are abusers of people and systems, the Bible brings us to the important realization that there are some that are truly poor and in need, and informs us that we have a responsibility to share our wealth with them.

Psalms 68:5 became the base of our study, as it describes God as “father to the fatherless and advocate for widows.”  This reveals God’s character to us.  And a father is more than an inheritance; He wants to be the provider, protector, sustain-er, source, teacher etc to those who are without a covering.  Though He covers us all, He makes the effort to ensure that the needs of those who don’t have an earthly source have their needs met.  He does this not by throwing money from heaven, but by instructing His people as to His desires, and places the responsibility on those He is blessing and caring for, to extend the same hand and favor shown to them, to those that are in need.  A revelation shared by PastorJDO3, “We are not just to study God’s character, but are called to emulate it!”  Many times, we see what God would do, and then take the perspective that we are not God, but in this, we are not only instructed to, but we find that Jesus set and example and a mark for us to shoot for in His time here, that lets us know that we have a responsibility not just to live from our wealth and to store up our wealth, but that we have to see it as an avenue to do the work of the Lord.

Doing this work, brings us to our title, “Enabling verses Disabling”.  In sharing our wealth, we open doors for the divine to minister and direct people towards His will for their lives.  As those in need pray, their confirmation is often found in the amount of people that are willing to listen to the Holy Spirits directing to be generous.  This reminds people that despite their circumstances, God is still working and speaking, and gives hope to those who would otherwise be hopeless.

On the contrary, when there are people in need that we neglect to render aide to, we disable God’s ability to build up hope and faith in Him and His ability to speak and to provide.  Their prayers will seemingly go unanswered, when the truth is; the request was heard, the instruction was given, but the not followed.  Many opportunities are missed because of our selfish behavior, and our disobedience to God’s Words and the leading and pulling of the Holy Spirit to act and take a stand for justice.

Wealth is a blessing and a responsibility!  We must make sure our wealth doesn’t become our treasure.  We have to insure that we don’t allow it to become our God, our source, our peace, our comfort, our lord; remembering that God is a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:24), and that anything that stands in front of Him shall be tested and burned down!

In conclusion, our enabling conversation continued into praying for discernment.  There are some that need our financial wealth, and others that need our financial structure.  There are many that are in a poverty-like state because they have bad stewardship principles, not a lack of resources.  With discernment, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us the best way to help those God places in our path!

#PastorJDO3

No Friend Left Behind! John 15:15

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John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Sunday, I was blessed to share the Word at First Met, The Place Where You Belong!  The message, No Member Left Behind, addressing the powerful Words of Jesus to His disciples, “…I have called you friend…..everything I have learned….I have made known to you.”

In this passage, Jesus gives the disciples the title “friend,” a title that gains much appreciation in context of the text.   First, we issue the title “friend” too soon, and use it very loosely.  I found it powerful that Jesus walks with them 3 years, allowing them to get to know him, pressing through tense times, disagreements, disappointments, and disbelief, knowing that their relationships would be challenged in the future publicly and privately; is able to opens His mouth and title them FRIEND.  This title was given with much thought, not from one evening and or having one piece of common ground.  Calling us brother and sister is done with full knowledge of the past and an even fuller knowledge of the future.

Furthermore, Jesus encountered them on one level and spent time pouring into the disciples and maturing them.   He says that He has taught them everything He has learned.  This is where the title is drawn from.  Jesus refuses to take His knowledge and wisdom to the grave.  He unloads and imparts into them determined not just to see them on His level (as though that is possible) he gives them knowledge, trains them, and the leaves with them the power to achieve what He tells them will be greater things.  He cares about them so much, that He provides them with with instructions to accompany the wisdom and knowledge.

As believers, we must take this attitude towards each other.  The love that we have is to be shared with each other as Christ shared it to us.  He distributed it equally, making sure that each friend was filled and fulfilled.  We too have something to offer to each other.  Being members of one body, our job is to serve one another distributing what God as given us to all, that none might go lacking.   He did it for us, let us commit to doing it for others.

#pastorjdo3

If It Happened to Them!! 1 Corinthians.10:1-12

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Here is a blog just published for our church community. It’s a good thought about our need to assess ourselves in God and why we must score and rate ourselves in Christ.

The Body Church

1Co 10:1  For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.  1Co 10:11  These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 1Co 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  

Reading this passage was so very interesting.  The opening statement, and what I consider a closing argument to a dialogue designed to help the hearer be of sober judgment about their place in Christ, and their journey in faith.  Paul reminds the readers about our forefathers, that were the privileged to lived through Moses Vs. Pharaoh, witnessed the Cloud provided by God in the day, and the Fire by night, and then…

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Confronting the Creation about the Creator (Session 3)

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Group Though for today. How do you confront culture?

The Body Church

Tonight’s study, an important one, picks up from last weeks study on our culture, that is saturated with the spirit of idolatry.  In the midst of this culture, we as believers are asked to be Daniels, refusing to bow, and willing to take the stance to demonstrate and vocalize the truth about who God is, worshiping Him despite obstacles, and without fear.  Knowing this, we must set in course a plan of action as to how to confront a culture that is law suite happy and offence sensitive.  Paul sets a great example for us in the 17th chapter of Acts in verses 22-34.

While others are conforming, checking out, we must combat and we must counter, all the while, understanding the wrong response to the current culture is almost as unhelpful and unhealthy as not engaging it at all. Counter-Culture

Who are the people God has placed on your heart?…

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Having the Dialogue and Trusting the Response

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This blog was written during the Ferguson riots, but I still feel it applicable.  In this journey to form a multicultural church, I have the power of this thought process to be very fruitful for my existence and those around me.

While I am positive that much progress has been made in our country with race relations, moment like the prior have revealed other areas that need to be worked on for the betterment of our country.  The lives lost, and the manner in which they were taken have revealed an undercurrent that has been in existence, but has been covered with the magic of having an African American president.  Many are angry and frustrated, and some old wounds have peeled off, while others who were formerly without injury have been scarred. wisdom

Having said that, I am encouraged by some of the things that have transpired during this national crisis; One being, Open Discussions.  I have enjoyed having tough and tense discussions with friend of all races.  Sitting at the table to hear difference perspectives, has been tough in moments of disagreements, but also sobering because dialogue helps each party understand the other.  The reality is; all relationship (successful relationship), must make it through disagreements, and having tough conversations is the medium that makes is possible.

These conversations have aided in making each other Sensitivity to the Plight of Others.  Hearing the pain and struggles of a once silent voice has a way of broadening ones perspective and revealing the thoughts and practices we have that are incorrect.  In the middle of conversation, understanding if found through a discovered middle ground.  It is here, that we discover an over looked truth; we are all human beings.  We are God’s creation, with the same desire and same design.  We can see the error of our ways and treatment of others by hearing there response to our actions.

Hearing this catapults us into action.  We learn to seek to aide in the process of healing those who have been hurt by our actions and those that have been hurt by others.  Being sensitive leads to rolling up the sleeves and develops a desire to see wrong corrected, not matter how long the wound has existed, or how deep the injury is.  One thing we learn in conversation is that hearing takes time and effort.  One has to seek to listen and work to identify with those they speak with.

I am convinced that conversation can help heal the world.  As long as everyone is able to speak, and all involved are willing to listen, there is nothing that can not be solved and or repaired.

Proverbs 4:7. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.