You like me, You REALLY like me!


24 After some time his wife Elizabeth
became pregnant, and for five months she kept
herself in seclusion.  She said, 25 “This is what the
Lord has done for me at the time when he has been
gracious to me, to take away my disgrace among
people.  Luke 1:24-25


Imagine living a righteous life, but being considered unrighteous by all your peers.  Now, this is not considered unrighteous by God, but unrighteous by some flawed people who are unrighteous themselves.  Some of them are even more reckless and lawless then you are, but have been deemed blessed because they were able to birth a child who is just like their mom and dad!

innerbeautyHaving a community of people looking down upon you, and speaking about you as one who lacks discipline and commitment to the Lord.  People questioning your every move, thinking your public and private lives to be two islands without a bridge.  This is Elizabeth!

The Father Who See’s Privately, will Reward Publicly

Elizabeth, whom was barren, was aging in years and having to bare the disgrace of not being able to conceive a child in front of her family and peers.  At that time, a woman that could not conceive was considered to be punished by God because of her sin, or the sin of her ancestors.  Thus, each time people saw her without child, they would associate her with sin, considering themselves blessed and favored, while thinking her cursed and  punished.

She had most likely accepted that she would live and die with the shame of not having an offspring, when her husband went into worship and received a Word from God!  That Word was different than any thing ever spoken, more joyous than any promise every given, more rewarding than any gift ever received; God’s promise!

justiceThe reality was, Zechariah’s seed had the power to impregnate her the entire time, but didn’t have permission from God to unite with her seed.  Elizabeth was capable of conceiving and carrying, but God had yet to speak to her eggs; releasing them to be fertilized.   He then orchestrated a harmony with one seed to break through and produce the one that would make the path straight.

John the Baptist would just make crooked path straight, but would also straighten out  the misconception about his mother.  His birth would be proof to all those that she was not being punished, but was purposed to bring forth a special child who would more than a gift to her, but a gift to the kingdom of God.  Which is why the next verse to me was so powerful.

…and for five months she kept
herself in seclusion…. Luke 1:24

After living all these years barren, she finds herself now with child, and chooses to live the first five months in seclusion.  Yep, you guessed it!  I would have been most social in this time, eager to erase the stain and stigma she had publicly, but she found pleasure in watching John grow and worshiping God for allowing her to conceive.

While the rest of us would have been eager to show ourselves to the crowd, she reserved the joy of the gift of John as a moment between her and God.  I imagine she has a moment like Sally Fields, who uttered the words “…you like me!  You REALLY Like me!”  Elizabeth gave the first moments of praise and adoration to God.  She was not controlled or influenced by the the crowd, nor was she eager to impress them with her new found status.  She secluded herself, reserving the first moments of joy to spend with the Lord, who is the only one that matters.

While others teased her and judged her, she continued to find satisfaction and peace from the one that had always given it to her.  While others showered her with condemnation, God had always showered her with love, and instilled in her a sense of self worth that allowed her to survive the judgement and ridicule of those watching and enjoying her shame.

sallylfieldsIf only we were the same!  “You Like me!  You really like me,” Sally exclaimed, excited to received her second award.  It was received as validation.  It took what she suspected and made it something she knew.  I suspect these early moments were the same for Elizabeth.  Once the Words of the Lord comforted her, but her growing belly now erased any doubt she had lingering. 

I am encouraged that the death on a cross was the confirmation of God’s love for us.  It’s not just that He allowed us to be created, but that He made an allowance for us to reconnect with Him beyond the barrier sin creates.  He then places His Holy Spirit in us, and allows us to walk before man as someone chosen, beyond the shame of our prior actions and reputation.



If you don’t Have Anything Faith to Say…


 20 And now, because you did not believe my words,
which will be fulfilled in their time,
you will be silent, unable to speak,
until the day these things take place…
23 When his time of service was ended, he went to
his home. Luke
1:20, 23


The story of the birth of Christ is amazing.  He was born of the Holy Spirit through Mary, His mother, and Joseph his father.  In the midst of moving with Mary, God had already begun working with her cousin Elizabeth.

The Long Quiet Walk Home!

doubt-confidenceHe left the house of God!  We are unaware of the thoughts of Zechariah and or the distance he had to his home.  What we do know is that he had just encountered an angel from the Lord, and heard a promise from the Lord that answered his life long prayer.  I would like to argue that his faith was increased because God took his voice away, but as one who has left the altar in unbelief, I will argue that he went home anticipating that things would be the same, and would not change.

Going through the Motions!

I am sure he lay with his wife for recreation and not with expectation, and was forced to watch God work and not express thanksgiving and or gratitude to His maker.  Zechariah like many of us have simply gone through the motions. 

Some of us know this very well.  Outwardly, his performance/actions seemed as though he believed, but he was merely enjoying a moments of pleasure, and while harboring the disbelief that God would produce anything from his loins and her womb.  We are not sure if it was the first time, or the fifth time, but I will assume it was the first time he touched her.  Despite his disbelief, God worked through her belief to fulfill His promise to bring about His prophet.  The scripture says, “after some time” (without a word), she conceived a son named John.

downloadBecause Zechariah’s silent was the result of his doubt, I wondered if God was not just silencing Zechariah for expressing doubt to God, but so he wouldn’t speak forth doubt to Elizabeth.  This was my consideration because of his destination.  After completing his assignment, he left the house of God and returned to his home, where he was also priest.  We know he did his job, because “after some time” she conceived.

It was like God said,
“Do your job and keep your mouth shut!” (He did not say this!!!!)

Just Keep Swimming! 

I wonder how many of us hear the Word of God, have doubts about it, and take our doubt home like a virus to our family?  Ask yourself, how many times have you infected your family with doubt?  Husband, Wife and Children walking in faith, excited about God’s promises, and our voice overshadows and smothers the fire that burns within them, so just in case, he is silenced.

If you don’t Have Anything Faith to Say,
Don’t Say Anything at All!

I wonder:  What have you destroyed with your tongue?

confused personGod is busy building things, and our perspective, attitude and lack of belief are determining factors as to what God can manifest through us.  Much like the children of God, we spend our time analyzing and demanding of God, frustrated because we know he is often capable, but not willing.  Having said this, often is is God being willing to do what He is capable of, but us not being able to believe He will do what He says.

Momma used to say, when we questioned or expressed doubt, “Are you calling me a liar?”  Not that God speaks like our mothers, but I am sure He is challenged the same way by our doubt.  As One who has complete love and compassion for us, providing and protecting, restoring and reconciling, the small trivial things of life should be believed even more than the more challenging truths.

Maybe we just need to listen and believe?  We need to stop talking against what God has promised and accept them as truths that will happen not in our time, but in his time!  And in the mean time:

If you don’t have anything faith to say, don’t say anything at all! 



To The Yeast of These!


The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus.
To test him, they asked for a sign from heaven. Mark 8:12
He sighed deeply and said, ‘Why does this generation ask
for a miraculous sign?  I tell you the truth,
no sign will be given to it.” Mark 8;13
“‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. 
‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and
that of Herod.'” Mark 8:15 

What a powerful passage this is.  It documents the struggle not just of our Lord meeting the needs of the people gathered, but dealing with the critiques and criticism of those in power, and monitoring and managing the personal relationship with the 12.

discouragedJesus walks on to a dark stage, not with a spotlight soloed on Him, but as the Light peering through the darkness.  Misunderstood by those who walked with Him, envied,  frightened and threatened by those in power, Jesus safely navigates every situation, keeping Himself in a position to lead others, and complete His mission.

Jesus, though I felt He should be bothered by the irresponsibility of the disciples (forgetting the bread,  yet again), Jesus is concerned about the heart of those who are following Him.   He speaks to the 12 who are discussing the irresponsible action, and gets to the heart of the matter.  Though their action looks like simple irresponsibility, it is really more closely tied to what Jesus is encountering with the Pharisees, and initially with Herod. 

Though walking with Jesus, the disciples still had some doubts.  They were unsure no only about who He was, but what His true purpose was.  The reality was that their faith was being built as they were walking with Him.  Though they recognized the wisdom from Him, and the potential in Him, they belief and acceptance of who He was remained fragile.

confused personThese miracles performed, though for the crowd, had a great impact on the disciples, who held the miracle in their hands; participating in what they couldn’t understand, testifying about what they could not explain.  Though Jesus explained what He could, that which could not was relegated to just faith!

Their initial steps were from faith itself, and now these miracles
which aide in building their faith, now could become
the focal point of their faith! 


Jesus says, this is yeast!  And this is dangerous!  Brothers and Sisters,
I saw us in the twelve!

God has revealed Himself to us.  He has protected us and provided for us, directed us and disciplined us.  Amidst our walk with Him, He pours favor onto our lives, measuring out grace and mercy along the way, and allowing our life to receive blessings as we trust Him.

The miracles, we discover in Jesus’s dialogue,
were not to build their faith, but to ensure they would trust in Him. 

Yes, this is a fine line, but faith strengthened by miracles can prove to be dangerous.  Mind you, Jesus was fresh off the heals of two major miracles, but the Pharisees wanted to test the Lord and request further proof of who He was.  Jesus knew that this perspective could become the perspective of the disciples, and one lack luster performance or failed miracle could result in a ship wrecked faith.

I know what you are thinking?  I’m betting on black!  All chips in, but remember, Jesus was unable to perform miracles in His home town (except for a few healings) and he had to put the unbelieving crowd out to heal the young girl.  And there are many more instances of the importance of faith in the performance of miracles, thus anyone’s faith based on miracles is in danger of faltering.

worship-fastJesus says,  “‘Be careful…Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.'” He warns them.  How many people have suffered from the yeast of doubt.  Walking aimlessly, looking for signs and proof to validate what has been given to them through revelation.  Though God verifies and validates His existence, we have those who will yo yo in and out of belief because their faith waivers because their request for proof was denied.

Jesus refuses to give them a sign.  Though requested, He replies to them that enough has been taught and displayed to garner their belief.  He removes Himself from the constant burden of proof, knowing that there will never be enough proof for a heart that is hardened and or looking for a reason not to believe.  To those that doubt, even the proof provided will be challenged and put to the test.  They attributed His miracles to demonic influence at one point.  He knew that further proof wouldn’t make the difference.

Sadly, many have suffered this fate, and have shipwrecked finding reasons to doubt, as opposed to resting in the security of the relationship they have developed with the divine.   Where are you?  Is the yeast beginning to rise?   I like Jesus, hope this blog speaks to the doubt in your life, so that you will survive and not become the yeast of these.




Confidence to Ask Again! Judges 8:8


From there he went up to Peniel
and made the same request of them,
but they answered as the men of
Succoth had.
Judges 8:8

We just leave Gideons encounter with the leaders of Succoth, and now find him facing the leadership of Peniel.  His troop already hungry at Succoth, has journeyed farther, finding themselves hungrier and even more worn out than they were before.


Gideon “…made the same request of them…”  There is so much to draw from this.  The initial discussion was about Gideon’s concern for his troop as they followed him towards the completion of the vision.   Now we want to highlight the persistence Gideon had through his faith in God.


It’s not just that Gideon has faith, but he has a persistent faith.

This is displayed in him making “the same request of them…”  Though he was fresh from a discouraging moment; failure fresh on his mind, Gideon builds up the courage to ask again.  This is not the courage to pray again, where He can seek God in private and just face not being chosen or being rejected private, but he ask publicly, and faces public rejection. 

There is a difference between public rejection and private rejection. 


When one is rejected in public, their name and their authority are challenged.  The rejection serves as dishonor in front of all whom are presence, while private allows you to deal internally with the rejection.  Most of us would crater after this emotional transaction.  Gideon had to find the strength to continue on, but also had to build the confidence to ask again.

How many of you ask again?

How many of you will face no again?

Do you have the courage to ask again?

Can you face public rejection and failure?

shutterstock_89697898Gideon could!  Though rejected, he remained confidence that God would supply his need.  And though his anger towards Succoth seasoned this encounter, it does not discount the amount of faith he had in the fact that God has chosen him and would provide for him.

If Succoth wont, Peniel will!

We must have this type of faith when we press forward.  We must know that No’s will come, but Yes is inevitable.  We must believe that all things work for good.  God will instruct someone to help me!  And where a “No” is received, God will provide “strength to endure.”  Even though they were worn out in Succoth, they were able to make it to Peniel, and so will you.   You  have enough strength to get through the Peniels in your life, and to defeat Zumba and Zalmunna.

I ran into another issue while reading this text!  Gideon had enough faith to continue.  Gideon had enough faith to ask.  Gideon had enough faith to pursue!  And the scripture says, “but they answered as the men of  Succoth had.”    Even though he was operating in faith, He got the same answer as he did before.

Sometimes it not a lack of faith, but its not a part of Gods plan.

confidenceAgain Gideon heard a crushing response.  He was probably sure they would respond differently.  He probably believed that God has surely gone before him made provision for the troop, but they answered no.  Not only was their answer no, but it was the same as Succoth, which means they expressed doubt in the ability of Gideon to defeat the Midionites.

Once again, Gideon had to face another group
that had doubt in him, and no trust that
either in God, or that he was called by God.

You aren’t the only one who has been doubted.  You aren’t the only one that in unproven.  But you must press on.  You must know that the doubt will be removed when you complete the mission God has given you.  When God identifies your purpose, you walk in it, and the success that comes from your obedience and completion, removes doubt from those who watch.

God is the one that promotes.  While waiting for promotion, one must be obedient, because your obedience provides a track record not just for people to see the victory, but to see evidence that God guided you and gave it to you!    Your obedience will be the proof they need to shine light on the negatives, until the develop into frames that show forth God’s glory.



In Pursuit; Despite the Circumstances Judges 8:4


Gideon and his three hundred men,
exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit,
came to the Jordan and crossed it.
Judges 8:4


In the 8th Chapter of Judges, we find the Man of God in pursuit of enemies from the east.  Their numbers, according to the passage are upwards of 15 thousand men; soldiers to be more specific, yet Gideon is leading a band of men to capture them and destroy them. soldiearmor

Here we take our first pause.  Gideon displays the power and position those of us who walk in Spiritual authority should have.   He trims the fat (as God instructs), and takes those with faith forward to battle the enemy.  Looking past the numbers and the past battle history, Gideon guides his men on their trail, determined to carry out the Lords directions in His life.

I wonder how many of us would have the courage to pursuit 15 thousand with 300?

They were outnumbered times 50, but at God’s Word, were willing to face whomever God placed in their path.  Numbers are not always reflective of power, nor do they always predict victory.  Normally numbers project fear upon the opposition, but Gideon projected faith on his fears.

What could we accomplish if we looked at the “lack of” in our life and “enough”?   What would happen if we changed our perspective on our situations and circumstances, and counted God’s Word enough, despite what is in our hands, or even the fear that is in our hearts?  How much could we accomplish if we focused on utilizing the tools in our hand as opposed to being paralyzed with fear as to the things we would like to have for the task.  With God Word and the power of His Spirit, we are conquerors!

outnumberedAs we find, they are not just outnumbered, but they are lacking resources.  As usual, the story for us all, life seems to have many layers, and the to be saturated with challenges!  They have already expended their resources on the journey, but pressed on through their faith and with strong dedicated leadership.    The text lets us know that the men were exhausted from the journey, and their bodies ached, craving fuel to continue.  One could imagine further that they were struggling to stay focused.  Now the question is not whether they can beat the Midionites once they face them, but whether they will survive to even take up the task!

Exhausted and Focused don’t go together!

One of the first things to go when one is exhausted is their focus on the task at hand.  One can find themselves moving from faith to doubt, as they begin questioning not just God, but the leader as to when and where the next provision was coming from.  This issue plagued Moses as he lead God’s people. The hunger brought questions, causing them to loose sight of God’s Word, and doubt the Man of God because of the present lack of provisions.  They wanted to turn back.  They started questioning Moses as a leader.  They questioned God’s plan for their lives, and decided that bondage would be better than freedom.

Lack will make Suffering seem like Serenity!

Never the less, the text says they remained in pursuit.  As opposed to coming a part at the seams, they remembered the Word of God, and stayed focused on the leadership of Gideon and approached the Jordan.

matrix-revolutions-43This is important, because they are not just tasked with crossing the Jordan, they are tasked with crossing the Jordan, and fighting the Midionites who number 15 thousand.  I imagine that many doubted they could overcome this number with a full night of rest and a hearty breakfast, let alone, use their remaining energy to cross a river and then take on their numbers times 50.

But something amazing happens when you are on a mission for the Lord.  God had spoken through the man of God, revealing himself in miracles, letting the people know that God was with Gideon, and in that, was leading them.  Because they knew this, they were not only counting on their strength, and obviously were finding safety in their numbers, but were solely leaning upon God do bring them to and through they battle.  Truly they believed that the battle was not theirs, but that it was the Lords.

What would happen if we truly believed?

Neo_stops_bulletsHow many times have you stood at the bank of the river, and determined that crossing it was more than you could handle?  How many victories? How much stronger?  What would be accomplished?  What has been left un-done?

I have determined in my life, Jordan wont be an issue!  Exhaustion wont be an issue!  Soldiers won’t be an issue!  Midionites won’t be an issue!  Truly if God be for me!  I can do all things through Christ!  It is never more than I can bare!  I will remain in pursuit!  I will capture!  I will conquer!  I will have dominion!  It’s inevitable!



Lessons from the Breast: Where are the Signs?


People have come to our ministry and stayed, not because of what was said, but because of what was seen. I paraphrased a statement made by a mighty woman of God who spoke to us as young children hungry for the breast. She looked at us as though we were clawing through her clothes, needing nutrient that we could only get from her. In public, she shamelessly fed us all, no blanket, not towel or cloth. We latched on unashamed, as she told us the secret to life in ministry.

Her words rang in my ear as I got in the car to drive off. I chewed on if the entire ride. What did she say? “The crowed followed Jesus based upon what they saw, not for what they heard.” She continued, “Not only did they see signs and wonders, they saw him, and what he lived, matched what he spoke. This made Him different!” healingfaith

So; “What are they seeing I asked myself?” “Signs and wonders?” or are people “wondering where the signs are?” As she spoke, she said the issue with our churches are void of signs. (summary of conversation) If people don’t see signs and wonders, experience no life change then how are they to believe?

The signs and wonders were to accompany the man and woman of God as they continued doing the work of the Lord as a visible sign that the Lords presence and power is with them. But a problem exist! Miracles require Faith!

I thought to my self asked myself, Do you Believe in Miracles? And if so, where is the evidence?  Is it possible to believe in miracles and not to perform them? Could one believe the potential for miracles are there and never act upon what they know is available? I concluded yes! So where are the miracles?

I thought about Jesus, looking around thinking, I know its not me! Who stands among me that does not believe? Looking within, pointing out those that didn’t belong. He excused them beyond the doors and closed himself in with those who believed and put faith to work!

getoutI started looking around. Mentally thumbing through my surroundings. Maybe I believe, but I am surrounded by doubt and doubters? Maybe having a list of friend and associates is the problem?   Remove my friends?  Perish the thought you might think!  They are all I have.  They have my back!  They are with me!  And maybe that’s the problem.  You can’t perform miracles because they are with you!  Maybe to achieve, we need to clean out our surroundings, removing doubt like we periodically clean out our friends list on Facebook? Maybe we need to highlight names of those who tag along and block them like we are on Twitter? Maybe, we must un-follow them as though we are on Instagram because the images and example of faithlessness is influencing our existence?  Maybe all of them have a “feed”, because what they display feed us?  How appropriate!  

Jesus said, I would that you would do greater works than I, as though what He performed wasn’t enough to sway the hearts and minds of mankind. Maybe Jesus knew that the worlds increasing level of wickedness would require us to do miracles and show signs to those far beyond what He performed to leave with the viewer no doubt?  

Maybe there is some crazy formula to Conversions?
Confession of Faith = (Preached Word + Signs and Wonders) x Conviction

Yep, you see the problem too.  Conviction is a work of the Holy Spirit, which critiques have deemed absent from many equations.  Furthermore, maybe its’ absence along with the restraints placed on the her has rendered an environment Miracle less?  Maybe just maybe, the Holy Spirits job is more than dancing and tongues? Maybe the signs displayed by being under its control lead us towards a life of discipline that builds a faith worthy not just to stand though adversity, but that can stand with authority and declare God’s will upon earth?

Whatever the answer might be, one thing is for sure, Miracles require Faith. Faith require Belief. Believe requires Relationship. Relationship require Trust. Trust requires Prayer. Yes, Prayer!  The Y to the X of the Holy Spirit that form the parameters to move in the will of Christ.  worship-fast

All this to ask, again, “Where are the Signs and Wonders?”  According to the Word, they are supposed to be a regular occurrence.  They are to be a part of the fabric of our existence to aide in proclaiming to a dying world that He is Lord.  Like Moses, we stand before our relatives in faith declaring to the enemy to release our friends and family.  Equipped with His Word and our faith, we stand before the prince of the air, declaring freedom to the captive.  We cry out not just for justice, but for the liberation of those who are under the yoke of bondage.  We stand on the Blood Provision of the Messiah, and proclaim in His name, Jesus the Christ, that all that read this, including those that are bold enough to type and declare Freedom and Healing through His Stripes; DONE!



Let’s Grow Together (1 Peter 2:2)


“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” 1 Peter 2:2

This passage, familiar to the believer, has been the source of many sermons. In it, we find Peter writing to other leaders who have experienced the unspoken or un-highlighted side notes of ministry.

We find in Chapter 1, Peter addressing the group, noting that they are chosen and favored even in a states of exile. They have accepted their call to preach and teach, and by default have accepted the company growth plan which includes some hardship. He writes in verse 6, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” Peter writes in verse 7, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith…may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” TheBodyChurchLogo

With 2015 nearing the rear view, we move forward to 2016 with hope; believing that the sufferings of yesterday are gone and that peace in our purpose will be found ahead. Peter’s words aide us in dealing with our past and facing our future! The happenings of 2015 and prior were things allowed to prove the “genuineness of your faith”; but to who? Surely not to God. For God knows the heart; thus we deduce that the focal point is man. It is imperative that those watching and following see our faith active through each point, knowing that we like many sports fans are not “fair-weather”.

Our faith has been watered down by those who have praise on their lips when times are prosperous, and are silent during hardship. Peter encourages his fellow leaders by informing them that their time and hardship came to season them and to serve as a testimony to others not just to the Goodness and power of the Lord, but the resilience of His servants and the commitment to their faith!

Peter leads into our focal verse saying “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” Subdue your flesh, and rid yourself of all distractions and detractions. Shun and walk away from those things that poison your soul and serve as repellant to those seeking the truth. Fight against the enemies fruit, but building up your faith and your discipline displaying the fruits of the Spirit. Don’t allow the enemy to pull you into his games of the flesh; causing your personal witness to be tainted!

Peter advises them to “grow up!” While we often look at moving from milk to meat, Peter is directing the readers, who are leaders, to lean upon “milk”. But this is not just any old milk. By his words, one can see that the perverting of the Gospel had began to affect the pulpit and leadership.

He described the milk as “pure” and “spiritual”. “Pure” is a call to us all to stay true to the basic doctrines of our faith! We must insure, especially today as our world is inundated with “advancements” and interpretations, that we are not drawn away from the pure truth of the Word which is our foundation.

I also love that He uses the word “Spiritual”, for there are some truths that have been delivered through those vessels whom God has chosen to speak through which coincide with the tenants of His Word. Even still, we are charged to try the Spirit by the Spirit (1 John 4:1), ensuring that every professed Prophet is a Prophet and not speaking for Profit.

We must know God’s Word for ourselves, and be lead by His Spirit. Not just hearers, but doers of His Word. We must press towards the mark set for us, and be cognoscente that God has assigned others to follow us as we follow Christ. Our commitment to learning and living out His truth has eternal ramifications for others, thus in 2016, our Theme will be “Let’s Grow Together!”
Growing together places a firm focus on Discipleship. Yes, we believe that Membership is Discipleship! We are not encouraging each member to join a group, but requiring each member to be a part of a group. We are not just requiring each member to be a part of a group, but to participate actively in the group they have been assigned to. Each member will become a stronger disciple by spending time in God’s Word and with God’s children.
Johnny Ogletree, III
The Body Church of Texas