The Kingdoms’ Electoral College

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I find it interesting that the voice provided by social media has transformed our first culture and now our faith. A medium that could be used for good, has once again been used to divide and conquer our faith. Now Pastors and Parishioners are calling each other out; questioning a persons sincerity, calling and even salvation because of disagreements that should be settled in private and would take all of 30 minutes of discussion a hug and a handshake.

How did we get here? There have always been disagreements in the church and people have and will often find themselves offended at the actions of their brother or sister. Thus Paul advised in 1 Corinthians 6:6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Why, public arguments just aren’t cute, neither are they beneficial to the faith.

Fast forward through the jargon!!!!

In the grand scheme of things, we have God’s Word to guide our lives by. It speaks truth to us, and gives us boundaries and correction. It gives us the rules by which He will abide, in that He holds to His Word and does not break His covenant! He decided what was sinful. It informs us that we all have a date set to stand before the throne, where we will be divided sheep and goat! Having stated this, none of us need to pronounce judgement on anyone.

electoralcollegesmallFurthermore, I pronounce myself as deserving of a spot among the goats. Yes, I deserve a spot! In sin, I am truly the Greatest of All Times! Yep; The GOAT! And because of this, I haven’t the time to make calls upon what I believe the results of another man or womans’ walk will be. I like Paul am just trying to keep from getting disqualified, and if I am going to use an example of a wretch or someone who is deserving of hell, it should be me!!!!
Paul didn’t spend his time roasting Peter nor did he waste time judging the Super Apostle! He didn’t even waste time speaking ill of those who persecuted him and rejected him. He stayed focused on the prize and stayed true to His call. He stood on truth as opposed to warring with those who refused to recognize it or even fought against him. He stood by this truth until even those who disagreed found themselves in agreement. And the recount of his time with Peter reminded us to confront our brothers face to face.

Now the title of this post 🙂 I am searching through the scriptures looking for God’s Electoral College. Though Revelations is interesting, I couldn’t put my hand on the list of Electoral College Members or even how to become one. Yet it seems that there are many Electoral College Members in the world, casting their votes for Sheep and condemning the goats! I created what I believe the ballot would look like. Vote-PNG-HD.pngI am assuming that Dez Bryant is a member, thus he keeps throwing up the “X” after every touch down. Maybe Malcolm X was one, hence the name change (I know he was Muslim). I just hope its not most of the people that have Facebook and Twitter accounts. If so, we are all doomed!

And if you have a vote, please tell us! You will never buy another meal or pay another bill as long as you live! You can live the good life!

Hmm, I wonder what happens if the Electoral College doesn’t agree with the Lord?

#PastorJDO3

I’m Just a Somebody….

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“What is wrong with the church?” I was asked in a recent conversation.  Though I can be wordy, and I was, I will sum it up in this phrase, “I’m Just a Somebody…”

 

When I was a kid, one of the top songs on the Christian chart was a song called “I’m Just a Nobody” by The Williams Brothers.  The song told the story of a man who encountered a man that appeared to be an old wino that was on the streets giving his testimony.  The song sat in the belly of transition for the church.  See, the song highlights a man who lacks the finer things in life.  He doesn’t dress, live or drive fancy and places his full value and purpose in life to the spread of the Gospel.

Because of his appearance, he is teased and ridiculed.  He is ignored and assumed not to know what he professes, but they are disillusioned.   While they chase the things of the world, garnering themselves with the latest trends, this man sought to clothes mankind in righteousness by sharing the transformation God had done in his life.

Though the people feel they are insulting him,
the man embodies their judgement and declares,

“I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody,
about somebody, who can save, anybody.”

His words sounded out as a warning to the changing church.  Our seats had become full, and our parishioners garnered themselves in the latest of fashions.  Our Pastor’s moved from hubcaps to Rims from street corner to television programs.  Respect began shifting to the haves, and the have-nots became a silent Kingdom partner.  People began to think of themselves without sober judgement, wearing and hiding behind the power of titles and ministry prestige.  We forgot that it was “…grace and mercy that brought me through. Im living this moment because of you” and began to think it was our intellect and abilities that had elevated us.

People stopped thinking of themselves as “nobody” but as “somebody”.  We began to see ourselves as irreplaceable parts in the Kingdom.  As gatekeepers and card carrying members of an elite body as opposed to servants in a field that was being plowed inch by inch by the soles of blood bought witnesses canvasing the neighborhood.  We became a band of righteous men and women and ceased to be a group of men and women saved by grace.

imagesThe humility found in the body of Christ was one that identified the culture of the church.  We were a group of people gathered together via mercy and grace.  It was our knowledge that we were undeserving of God’s love, but recipients none the less of an eternal reward that would not fade or tarnish.  This understanding allowed us to serve in a manner that illustrated the true virtue of Christ that was illustrated by His decent into human flesh and earthly living.  It seasoned our tongue as we witnessed to others, ensuring that the hearer felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not the judgement of mankind.  As undeserving recipients, our passion was to ensure that someone else received the same gift, as opposed to keeping His truth to ourself.

This is the spirit that is missing in our global church.  It the difference between a personal relationship/faith and a corporate relationship/faith that hinges on the market value of our Pastors/Clergy.  Though we as men and women of God are watchmen over the congregations souls, responsible for guiding, teaching and correcting,  we are stock options are shares to the Kingdom.   We too are simply “…nobody,tying to tell everybody, about somebody, who can save anybody.

 

 

#PastorJDO3

Choose Peace on Earth

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“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people
with whom he is pleased.”
Luke 2:14

The 14th verse of Luke says in the 2nd chapter, “…peace among people with whom he is pleased.”  Peace from the Messiah is a progressive peace received by those who choose to follow Him.  Seeking righteousness and choosing love over hate is the fertile soil that allows us to breath and breed peace in our lives.Peace of Mind wooden sign with a beach on background

This is made possible by our commitment to make peace with the world.  We must choose not to live in conflict with one another and must show respect also to all of Gods’ creation.  Think it not odd that God was even concerned with how man treated the animals which he was to consume and the plants which gave him life.  He taught man to respect life by making him a farmer and also a creator himself through womb birth.

Jesus brings us life to the full not just through eternal life, but through the gift of His Word and Walk, which instruct an model for believers how to live among creation and not collapse.  We are now able to encounter people through the lens of Christ, which we inherit through His Holy Spirit anointing our eyes and ears with the balm of compassion.  It is our outlook on life, which now shaped by our faith in God, that should allow us to paz_mundialencounter each set of circumstances with the measure of faith given to us that we might obtain peace through believing which then shapes our choices.

This is best summed up by our Lord who stated that the Love of God as the greatest commandment, followed closely by Love Your NeighborHow is your relationship with both God and man?  Are we applying God’s Word to our lives in respect to interaction with His creation or are we extracting the portions that allow us to gain wealth and prominence?   If you are not in a right relationship with God and man, chances are, He is not pleased with you, and neither are you experiencing peace on earth.

 

#PastorJDO3

Don’t be a Jezebel! (1 Kings 21:25)

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(There has never been anyone like Ahab, who was firmly
committed to doing evil before the Lord, urged on by his
wife Jezebel…) 1 Kings 21:25

There are many titles attached to Jezebel.  A woman noted for her seductive and manipulative ways.  She waived her fist in the face of God, talked trash to His prophets, lead a campaign against the Lord, encouraged idolatry and disgusted the Lord.  No better is the picture of the Lords long suffering and patience as seen with those who have hardened hearts against Him.  jezebelSending prophets and signs, He works to reach and transform the life of those who are darkened, yet some are just hardheaded.  Such is Jezebel.  No matter what she hears or sees, Jezebel will not change her ways, and invest her time in getting others to do likewise.

In the 20th chapter of 1st Kings, Jezebel finds herself encountering her husband Ahab who has been rejected by Naboth on the sale of his vineyard.  Ahab, downcast, has his head lifted by Jezebel, his wife who encourages him.  Yes, Jezebel supports her man.  She encourages him to go after what he desires.  She encourages him to take control of the circumstances, and to use his power to gain what he needs.  And yes, this is a problem!

An encouraging wife is normally thought to be a good thing, but in this case, Jezebel encourages her husband to abuse his power and to commit and offense against a child of God.  Jezebel takes the pen and paper and drafts up a letter and puts into action a plot to accuse Naboth of cursing God.  Worse, Ahab, realizing what Jezebel has done, becomes a partaker in the evil by taking possession of that which did not belong to him.

Her encouragement to Ahab was a stirrer, that stirred up Ahab to commit more and greater atrocities against the Lord.  She took a man who already found himself not in favor with the Lord, and moved him up the chart to enemy number one.  This is so key.  REALITY!  Your Spouse will be or is FLAWED and has a SIN NATURE!  So what will you cultivate.

So What are You Cultivating?

Jezebel Encouraged her man to abuse his power!  stirrer-2She drafted up a note and plan to kill an innocent man all for convenience.  In this, she modeled and encouraged him to set aside all principles and care for the people he led and the God he served, and to do what best fit him.

As we watch life play out before us, I wonder how many Jezebels there are?  Not speaking just of the nation or world, but of our local congregations.

I remembered speaking to a woman on a Saturday witnessing day  that said she was propositioned by her Pastor.  She recalled him approaching her upon graduating High School and asking her to go to a training to run a new program at the church.  Upon arriving, he checked them into the hotel.

First, she didn’t realize they would be the only two traveling.
Second, she didn’t think they would share the same room.
Third, even after contacting her parents, they spoke up for
the man of God and encouraged her to stay.

After dinner, The Pastor decided to have a special laying on hands ceremony, substituting the sacred oil with anointed lotion.  Replaced the Easter Palms for Rose Petals.  Replace the Altar for a Bed and was told she was the Sacrifice!  She refused, and thankfully, the Pastor returned her home.

But it doesn’t end!  It gets worse!  The following Sunday, the First Lady scolded the young lady for dressing in a manner that tempted her husband (who confessed what happened, but directed the blame to the young ladies night clothes).

She hasn’t returned to church since!

I am not sure if this story is even true, but I thought she was being very genuine.  Even if true, its important to note this isn’t everyone’s story, nor is it the norm.  But we would be foolish to pretend that there aren’t some cases of abuse.  And worse, some cases with spouses who support the Abuse of Power taking places in some of our local churches.

And no, I will not call this First Lady a Jezebel, not will I get on a soap box about a Mom and Dad that allowed their Daughter to travel alone with a man, but I will say that we must be clear about our roles and spouse and saints.

queen-jezebelAnd no, covering the man/woman of God does not mean us being modern day politician apologist.  We must cover the man/woman of God in prayer, supporting them as God works with them, not by lying and with deceit, but not being quick to judge and or exposing their flaws that they might be susceptible to future sin and or sudden destruction.  Covering the man/woman of God involves the support not only of prayer, but protecting their anointing and making sure they can stay before the Lord and serve the people unhindered.

And for that matter, touch not thine anointed does not mean we as clergy get a free pass to carry out foolishness, with the understanding that God is our judge or will carry out justice.  Or that there is no accountability for those who wear the cloth.  The word says that a claim against an Elder should only be received if it can be verified by two or three witnesses.  Then continues to say that no favoritism will be shown, and that they must be rebuked before all!  In other words, God’s has no favorites, and neither should we.  He will punish and judge us all, regardless of title, position or works!

Encouraging ungodly behavior and pursuits of Greed, Selfishness, Covetousness, Gluttony and the like are not the types of stirring that is needed among those chosen to support and serve the man/woman of God, rather those who continue pointing towards the path set for us all.  Don’t be a Jezebel!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Integrity: 50 Shades of Grey

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This year, we have faced controversy after controversy.  Though our opinions may sway to one side or the other, there are somethings that are modern day variables, that used to be constants.  Our definitions and values of words and concepts, once stagnant, have been placed on a sliding scale that have clouded the judgment and confused participants.

One of the words that have been served to us, once as a stiff strong drink, is now a watered down beverage offered with the same power and potency as a half price drink served before 10 o’clock at a club with no cover charge; “Integrity.”

integrity

Recently, I was caught in a conversation that questioned the “Integrity” of the Republican Electoral College Member from Texas who decided he would not vote for President Elect Donald Trump.  Immediately, his Integrity was brought into question.   One Facebook poster stated, “this is why Donald Trump didn’t want the Mexican judge on his case.”  Others insisted that this was the shameful act of a man who lacked the integrity needed to perform his job.

In a country that has openly prided deemed Christianity (as though its the official beverage of our favorite sports franchise) as the religion of the United States, we find both the country and our faith struggling.   In the founding of the faith, we saw a line drawn between evil and good, darkness and light, flesh and spirit, crooked and straight, but now, we have suffered in a “Trickle Down Faith” build on truth, but saturated with compromise.  A few Super Apostles have leveraged the power of the gospel for earthly comforts, leaving those following either in pits or on the edge of a cliff holding to the harness of grandmothers faith and grandpas wisdom.

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This just in; there is Black and White!  There are no shades of Grey!  Of course there are you say (thinking of your coloring box), but we are not referring to a palette of colors, rather the palate of the tongues of men that speak lies while God desires and requires us to speak truth.   

 

Truth is not relative to audience, neither is integrity relative to goals.  The criticism of the Electoral College member was based on the fact that he could not bring himself to vote for a person he felt was not right for the elected position.  His own morals and ethics prevented him from making the vote, thus he chose to remove himself from the position rather than compromise.  Any one heard of Daniel (assuming most readers know the Biblical Stories)?  Was he too one that lacked Integrity?  He refused to eat the Kings meat and drink, and then refused to bow and kneel!  He was in a position of authority and influence in the Government, but he would not compromise what he knew to be true and or betray his God for position, promotion or prosperity.

Not to exalt this Electoral College member, but to highlight this moment in reference to what was witnessed in this last election.  We witnessed members who referred to a candidate as a pathological liar, a pervert, ignorant, clueless……(its a long list), swore they would not cast a vote for this candidate or support the candidate, and then do the opposite of what they stated (Both Major Parties I might add!!!!).  If these people are considered to be people of Integrity, then I am starting the hashtag “#SaintChrisSuprun.”  This man should be considered a patron saint in light of what we just witnessed up close and personal from both Parties!  50shadesofgrey

For everyone who grew tired of reading through a variety of fact checking websites after every speech or debate!  Show some integrity!  Stop choosing a Party of Kingdom!  Truth is not owned by a Media Outlet, nor is our Faith directed by who holds Presidential Office.  Integrity is not a byproduct of policy, it is a foundation of values that reveal the truth substance of the person who not only espouses but lives out its essence.

What I am asking?  Crack that spine for yourself!  Do your own studies.  Jesus came and made several stops to deal with the effects of “Trickle Down Faith!”  He stood toe to toe with those claiming to have integrity and to be representatives of truth, and debunked each one.  His time with them was like binge watching mythbustersMythbusters!

Just so you know, this will trim down your friends and followers, and will leave you with a number so small that it would be considered a residue.  But celebrate!  This is not residue, it is remnant!

The Kingdom of God needs more Disciples nor more Members!  Our congregations are in need of people who love God so much that they live their lives geared to please God and not man.  Our congregations need to be filled with people who see righteousness as a means to obtaining riches, and not obtains riches and then deems itself righteous.  We need people who understand the black and white of life, and who wont exist as a lukewarm Grey.  We must discipline ourselves not to be controlled by our vices, but to have our vices controlled by our commitment to our King!

#PastorJDO3

 

 

Life by the Bee (Drunk in Love)

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Tuesday, we closed out the Life by the Bee series with a casual stroll through her classic, Drunk in Love. Beyonce, newly married, placed her heart and soul into articulating the freshly squeezed passion of wedded bliss. beyonce16

She takes the listener on a journey from a wife, newly introduced to another level of intimacy with her spouse. He memories of their time together, scorch the track, and impress upon the hearer the powerful nature of their loving expression. She recalls in the chorus, that she is “Drunk in Love!” Her words highlight her new life as an addict, in constant wait for the next fix.

Each attendant was asked to think back to their first encounter with Jesus; our Lord. The moment we moved from hearing, to opening our hearts and experiencing the Love of God through Jesus! We rolled the clock back to that moment our heart was broken, and our soul was stirred by the knowledge that God had unconditional love for us accompanied with forgiveness, grace and mercy.

In my heart I store up your words,
so I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Our focal scripture focused on the need to maintain our covenant with God by keeping His word in our heart. We know we must do this by following the instructions given to us in verses 1-10.

It is written, “…happy are those whose actions are blameless, who obey the law….observe his rules…seek him with all their heart, obey his demands…” (Verses 1-3 of Pslams 119).

Keep Your Covenant!

When was the last time our marital covenant with God was the guiding factor in our life? God’s Word is a guide given us to navigate life on earth and also to please our creator. God promises us that we will be happier for following His mandate, if we make Him the sole desire of our heart, and not succumb to the desires of our flesh.

We must Consume and be Consumed!

breathalizerWe must “store up” His Word in our heart! Yes, we must consume Him. He must be “stored up;” running through out veins. To be drunk, we discussed, points directly to not just consumption, but a high level of consumption. Someone that is drunk has had more than their fill. They are well beyond a buzz! They began to see life through the influence of what is coursing through their veins, touching every organ, and affecting each thing that they come into contact with. Every step changes! Even the speech is different!

Too Many of us are Social Drinkers!!!

Our problem; with Christ, we are mainly Social Drinkers! We are casual with Christ. We consume him in controlled settings and only when others are drinking. It’s not because it is our desire, its because we desire to fit in with everyone else. This is a true problem. You can not store what you do not consume. You can not draw strength from what you don’t have.

We found it key that the actions of one who has consumed alcohol or other substances is defined as being “Under the Influence!”

Are you “Under the Influence?”

Are you Drunk in Love? When we looked at the song, we saw the actions of Beyonce as one who was truly “Under the Influence!” Her day and actions were controlled by the encounter and her feelings and emotions were guided by the relationship that continued to delved into new levels drawing them closer to one another! So too must we be with God. His influence in our life must lead us to sing sweet melodies. The testimony of who He is in our lives must be ready and present on our lips.

Verse 4 stated, “You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed.” We must live our life knowing that God has not given us His law as a suggestion for living. He has given it as a mandate that dictates how we should behave. Once we are in covenant with God, His expectation is for us to submit to the will of the one that covers us. He design is for us to be disciples. One that not only accept His sacrifice, but that will make the sacrifices needed to bring our minds and bodies under subjection that we might have life to the full an find ourselves pleasing to Him!

#Pastor JDO3

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Divided we Stand…

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Today, the United States stands as a divided nation.  No, these are not our worst times or darkest days, but we are a democracy with a stewing plethora of opinions all of whom have been fueled by an accelerate that has lead us to the pathway of destruction.  That accelerate has been identified by most as racism; but as I complete discussions, I believe the accelerate is actually FEAR.

Not that racism doesn’t exist!  I believe it is alive and well.  While I do not believe that it is the ruling majority, I do believe it still plays a roll in every decision, every position and most assuredly played a roll in this past election. Can't we all just get along?

As I spoke to a few conservative Anglo friends, their assessment was that race had won the last two elections.  Somehow, President Obama was chosen because he was black, not because he was the most qualified candidate.  Of course, this could open up a long dissertation about racist views and stereotypes, I will leave this be.  In summation, I should not to be bothered by the election of an unqualified, inarticulate Anglo man, even if he were chosen because of race, because of the past 8 years (summing of about 8 conversations).   Statement after statement could be boiled down to FEAR!

While most gave the appearance of security and power, the voices and dialogue that was spoken and written was that of fear.  The media characters, both liberal and conservative, painted broad pictures to rally the emotions and fears of those who fear the worst.   Our country, though stable and recovering, was now in complete disarray, and an once honest and just government, had become corrupt and greedy in less than 8 years.

Drastic times call for Desperate Measures

Yep; hear ye, hear ye!  When people are Desperate!  When the circumstances are categorically drastic, the response is always extreme.

divided-we-fallOur FEARS and our Ignorance were found in that the American People bought into the need to clean up Washington, made a bold statement by voting against ONE member of Washington, and then proceeded to Re-Elect those whom deemed corrupt!  Then America elected a partner and contributor to those who were corrupt, and then gave them the assignment to clean house.  Interestingly enough, the President can’t clean up Washington, only the People can, assuming Washington will not wash itself!

FEAR causes Unsound Decisions, Delays Progress, and Destroys Productivity!

They are here to steal our jobs!  Yes, the very jobs many reading this blog would not work!   During the 2008, I spoke with a unemployed worker, who would not take interviews or jobs that payed under $100,000 because his value had been established at $100,000.  Other jobs he was over qualified for, and the others, he was uninterested in.   He like many of you have lived off reserve/savings and unemployment (which is one of many socialist program) until he was rehired .

But like him, many of you bought the idea that our jobs had been taken by illegal aliens.  This would mean that companies were choosing to hire illegal aliens as opposed to citizens.  Is that legal?  Are we saying that companies in America are choosing to give money to illegal aliens and not to citizens to prosper itself?  Truly, the only thing worse would be that company taking our jobs to another country!

I know what you are thinking, YES!  I see illegals working in my office every day!  I see illegals filling out applications.  I see them sitting with the HR rep.  I saw them going through the training.  They are sitting at my old desk, living in my neighborhood, going to my school…… FEAR!

Know this, Capitalism is not equal to Righteousness!

This has been a long standing Ignorant Premise of our country!  Profit at any cost!  Manipulate to gain Advantage!  Corner a market, then allow traffic with rules the further prosper you, and cause others to work harder, and while handicapped.

Yes, even our faith (Christian) have suffered from this premise!  Anglo Christians enslaved African’s and used the Word of God to justify the cruel and inhuman treatment of God’s creation!  Many followed blindly as they were convinced that African people were not people, but were property, thus the actions taken towards them was not shameful or wrong to God, but acceptable.

Sadly, we are watching the same behavior!  Our Gospel is being manipulated by political bugs, and many of our pulpits have been rented to own, at best leased out.  We are manipulated by policies to gain our vote, not because this is a Christian nation, but because the people at the top determine the direction of the nation, and are able to prosper as it advances; and even when it is in decline!

Our congregants faced the same presentations from 2 elections past.  A vote for this candidate is a vote for the Anti-Christ!  How you ask, because they approved a policy that was un-biblical an a practice that was ungodly!  And they are right!  These are un-biblical and ungodly practices, but they aren’t the only policies that are ungodly, just the ones that are being highlighted.   Furthermore, to label someone the Anti-Christ?  Especially after the current President was labeled the Anti-Christ!  It would seem that the incorrect claim/prophecy would alert those that future claims and prophecies were just as inaccurate, but they didn’t!  It is one thing to not like a person or a their policies, but this label and what it represents in Biblical narrative is as though these irresponsible Pastors are saying that voting for this candidate would signify the end of the world!  This is clearly manipulation and abuse!!!!together

 So what now?

Divided we fall has always been a truth played out before us all.  Though it still remains true, our hope is to maximize the moments while standing to recover well enough to pull it together before division fulfills is prophecy.

We stand reeling from the barrage of punches thrown in our last recession, which featured greed and mismanagement that sent us to the canvas.  We stand, woozy, struggling to hold our hands steady for the referee, leaning against the ropes, using every bit of the standing eight count.  The world waits, as we attempt to prove that we are stable and able to fight.  Only time will tell!

 

#PastorJDO3