…We used to be Just as Annoying as the Jehovah’s Witnesses…

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Today I was blessed to have a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness while our networking for my home church.  It was refreshing and confirming on many levels.  In the dialogue, I asked him about church home and salvation, he said he “I recently returned to being Jehovah’s Witness….”, and that he worshiped at a Kingdom Hall and gave the location.   I asked him, “Why did you return?”His answer was detailed (could write many other blogs, but chose to write just this one) but simple,

“Each Saturday, they go out to neighborhoods from 9 to 12 noon, and knock on doors just like Jesus said to do when he sent out the 70.”

I smiled!  I thought to myself, “We used to be just as annoying as the Jehovah’s Witnesses! (This is not an insult, but a tribute to one, and shame to another and a call for “soul searching“)”.

I thought about the days of our early church bodies, in which we had groups that regularly went out to knock on doors and bare personal witness about Christ and the change that He has made in our lives.  I felt convicted!  The door knockers we send, flyers we mail, media we invest in, all fall short of the power and effect of the personal testimony.  “Why did we stop?”

The last time I felt this way was in Virginia, when I purchased a Final Call and a Bean Pie from a Muslim man on the corner (Yes I PURCHASED ONE OF EACH!)  As I sat there watching him back in the 100 degree weather, I wondered how many Christian men I could get to stand outside in full black suit, a white shirt and black bow tie, and counted 2 maybe 3 (I wasn’t one of them).  I would have requested that we make a short set to wear!  I thought then, “What has happened to us?”

We used to be soldiers!  We were warriors!  We wore out the soles of our shoes fighting for souls for the Kingdom!  There was a time when we weren’t on the corner just to raise funds for our ministries!  There was a time when people heard that morning knock and thought it was us, but some where along the line, we either lost our zeal or decided that we didn’t want to be a nuisance, offensive or yes; annoying.  Or maybe we developed an intolerance or grew allergic to rejection, or didn’t feel qualified or prepared for defending our faith?  Maybe we have just become too prosperous?

I’m just not sure!  But I do know one thing, We Need to Be Just As Annoying as the Jehovah’s Witnesses!  People need to get sick and tired of us knocking on their doors, ignoring the no solicitation signs on the neighborhoods, interrupting our Saturday cartoons, College Football, Car Washing and Yard Work!!!!  People need to run inside and hide behind their couches, knowing that the People of God are going to swing through and ask them the question, “If you die tonight, do you know if you will spend eternity with God, or burn in hell’s fire?”  “Do you know Jesus Christ? “Have you believed His death accepted His blood provision for your sins?”

I know this doesn’t apply to every ministry, but it applies to some.  I am aware that times have changed, and that people are different, and that we must adjust our methods.  There are many things we can argue need to be changed about our modern ministries, but our personal witness will never be one of them!

(Knock Knock)

#PastorJDO3

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Trigger Fingers Become Twitter Fingers (1 Samuel 17:3-36)

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Sunday, I was honored to share the Word at the Golden Chain Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas Texas.  The message, “When Trigger Fingers Become Twitter Fingers” from 1 Samuel 17:3-36.  We looked at the story of David and Goliath, but this day, God had a different focus.

As a parallel, we looked at the earthly battle between Meek Mills and Drake.  The opening looked at the encounter or lack of encounter between Drake and Meek Mills.  A sparing session that featured 1 decent set of bars from Drake, a non response from Meek Mills, and then a second set of bars from Drake that were better than the original set of bars released, and yet another lack of response fro Meek Mills.   Even worse, Meek Mills’ little sister released a reply to Drake, dissing him and defending her brother.  Her response was followed by other Meek Mills fans, speaking up for their hometown favorite artist.  In a span of two weeks, Meek Mills went from being a non-factor, but an up and coming artist to being not just the punching bag for Drake, but the punchline of every joke.  It seemed Meek was being punched from every direction.

In this passage, we find the Army of the Lord facing the Philistines on the battle grounds, featured by their champion Goliath.  A giant of a man, he stood boldly yelling and insulting the Lord and the Army of the Lord, challenging them to stand up and fight.  He accosted them for 40 days and for 40 nights, calling for their best to step forward for battle, and yet no one stepped forward.  This my friends is the modern church.  We have become a generation of tweeters and not fighters.  Our street credibility now questionable, as we rely on the victories of those that have gone before us, to strike what used to be fear in the heart of the adversary.  Now our army post, re-tweets and sub-tweets, sharing memes, taking a stance on Facebook and other social media outlets, but not a stance in life.  We have timeline righteousness, and not a genuine walk with the Lord!

Verse 20 reveals the battle front.  It featured the Army of the Lord, postured for battle, yelling its battle cry, and then listening to the Lord being insulted and not stepping forward to defend His name!  We have become set and comfortable in our positions.  We have become used to yelling and singing, but have become dull to the fight.  Our positions have become more valuable to us than the very name of the Lord.  We have determined that our own lives, our land, our church  building and our acquisitions are more important than reputation of our God!  We have ceased to trust Him, choosing to rely upon our own skills, forgetting who has empowered us, who has gifted us, and who has one battle after battle for us!  We have become overcome with the size of the opponent and not the sanctity of the body of Christ; the House of the Lord!

As God took us closer, I saw that the battle cry of the soldiers had become mere words from a page, and not melodies from their hearts.  I envisioned our Sunday service, considered our displayed faith, and was disappointing, knowing that much of what is heard are words and not worship.  This lack of worship is why the ears of the Army of the Lord was able to listen to Goliath and not step forward to face Goliath!  Likewise, our churches have mastered the program of worship, while the heart of worship has yet to be programmed into the heart of all participants.  goliath

It stood out that Goliath referred to the army as the Army of Saul/Servants of Saul (V.8).  This is significant, because the Philistines feared the Lord.  They had suffered and felt the power of the Lord during their capture of the Ark of the Covenant.  The power had taken the lives of many in their camp so much so that they gave it back to the Israelite people.  The army was no longer fighting for the Lord, but were fighting for the honor and name of their King.  When we forget who the true King is; when the kings on earth believe they have become more important than the King of Kings, forgetting who placed them in office, we will find the church forced to listen to Goliath because the presence and power of the Lord would have left our sides!  Could it be that our army has become powerless because we are defending the honor of the wrong king?  We have become more proud of our churches and pastors, then we have become honored to defend the name of our Lord.  It is a sad reality that we can find more that will be apologist for their man of God and not for the Lord himself.

Thank God, David entered the scene!  David entered the battle front, being obedient to his father, and heard Goliath’s words.  Though Goliath disturbed him, I believe from knowing of David’s heart, that he was more bothered by the people of God.  David had to watch the Army of the Lord do nothing while a Philistine spoke ill of God the people of God.  I see our young people growing up in a church that features those who are no longer interested in fighting, but not interested in relinquishing their positions.  David was further challenged by his brother Eliab (v.28), who still bothered from seeing the oil flow Samuel’s horn onto David, sought to embarrass him in front of the older soldiers.  His words were designed to put David back in his place.  What he didn’t understand was David was already in his place.  David was more than a Shepherd; he was a warrior.

David’s brother lied upon him and then issued these famous words, “you came down ere to watch the battle.”  Need we ask “WHAT BATTLE?”  The “battle front” was a “front”!  David had witnessed the battle scene, and his questions were because no battle was taking place.  I asked the question of our churches: “Why is it that we challenge and attempt to discourage those who are willing to fight?”  Goliath had already asked for the Armies best!  Eliab had a chance to step forward!  He stepped back!  He sat down!  He had the chance to defeat the champion, and chose to sit and listen in fear as opposed to stand and fight with courage.  Yet, he still finds a moment to seek to discourage and belittle someone that is ready to fight!

Furthermore, why is it that the Eliabs of the world paint a picture of battle that is not true?  Over and over, we enter the battle and find that much of what has been described is just a false image designed to keep those under us from seeking our positions and taking our positions.  We find the constant exaggeration of what exist, just to keep our positions and ward off those who have been grown up to take our place. The reality was that Eliab and the others had accomplished as much as they could, and they knew that the battle was far beyond what they could handle.  They were correct!  This was a job for David!

The last level was Saul.  David’s assignment, to bare witness to Saul.  He encountered Saul at the battle but not in the battle.  David spoke to Saul, and spoke boldly.  He was willing to fight Goliath to defend the name of the Lord, and immediately, Saul sought to discourage him.  Saul spoke of his age, then his lack of experience.  Saul couldn’t see David as greater than he, because he saw him as his servant, not realizing that he was a servant of the Lord!  Though Saul was no Goliath, Saul had fought before, and was larger and stronger than David!  Saul had lead many successful battles, and had stood victorious over enemies, and now looked at his lyre player and a shepherd, and couldn’t imagine him to be any more than what he saw and knew of him.  The reality, God was no longer with Saul!  He had moved on to David!  God is always raising up a David!  While Saul was building a monument to further his name and legacy, God had sent Samuel!  Thought the people were unaware, Saul knew that God had moved on, but he continued enjoying the office and perks of the position despite his knowledge.  He knew God had moved on, but didn’t know who He had moved on to!

David bore witness of killing bear and lion, and how the Lord had worked through him to defend the sheep, often grabbing the culprit by the hair and ending its life.  David shared how the power of God had given him the strength and wisdom to defeat his adversary, and then declared, “this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them” (which was a far cry from Eliab’s “you just came to watch the battle”).  David would follow his words with action, and so must we!  

God is looking for some Davids!  No one knows your testimony.  People may still see you as one that is unaccomplished.  People may still have you type cast as a Shepherd, not realizing that you are a great warrior and leader.  We must look past the words of others, and see ourselves as the Lord sees us!  God’s Words Matter!   What has He said about you?  What has He declared you to be?  We must stand on His Word, and stand up to Goliath; knowing that He will fall at our hands because God is with us!

#PastorJDO3

Internet Conflict!!!!!

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Luke 11:17
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them “Any kingdom divied againts itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fail.”

“Any house divided against itself will fail” How is your house? The house we are discussing is our fleshly encasing. Our bodies serve as a house for our souls, and because we are saved, it now, because of the provision of God, houses the Holy Spirit. Thus the question, How is your house?

The reality is that many of our houses are divided against itself. We have an internal battle and conflict waring inside of us.
A kingdom has rules, jurisdiction and a clearly defined leader. Who is your leader? Which or whos rules do you follow? The reality is not very pretty.

Most of us ignore the Holy Spirit, and make up the rules and boundaries as we go, thus we grieve the Holy Spirit, and cause ourselves much confusionand heartache.

Confusion always exist in a kingdom where there is no clear leader or rules. We can live simple, pure and holy lives, if we will lookinside be honest enough to admit the failing of our house, and take responsibility for the calamity.
What we must to is to unite the kingdom by submitting to the rulership and of the Holy Spirit. We must give the Holy Spirit jurisdiction in our lives and submit our entire house to leadership and guidance. God want us to live lives of power and to walk in confidence. This confidence can and will be achieved when we walk and have live with a lack of assurance as to who we are and what we will do.
A warning. Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined. If we are no careful, we will find ourselves in a state of ruine. Lets make the decision to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Lets not walk around confused anymore. Let us make the commitment to stop the internal conflict,and to trust the one that God has assigned to walk with us and guide us in all our decisions and ways.
Posted 9/4/07