And Now a Word from our Sponsor! I Kings 13:29-30

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Honestly, reading this passage angered me!

(Quick Summary for those who are unfamiliar with the passage).  As I followed the journey of this Prophet (only identified from his location), I admired his courage and obedience, as he stood before Jeroboam and delivered the prophecy given to him.  Furthermore, we watch as Jeroboam, angered by the prophecy, lifted his hand against the messenger of God and discovered it to be a bad idea!  The prophet is defended and protected by the Lord, and is obedient in that he refuses to eat and drink with the King who was in rebellion to the Lord.  He was obedient in taking a different route, and on said route was confronted by an older prophet who lied to him, claiming that the Lord had instructed him differently.  He listens to the older prophet, and thus finds himself disobedient, and suffers death by an attack of a lion!  

I was angered because the young prophet, in respect of the older prophet listened, trusted and followed him.  I know, The Lord gave him STRICT INSTRUCTIONS!!!!  I know!  I know!  I know!!!!  BUT…….His journey was interrupted by an older prophet, who commanded him to return with him, under the authority of the LORD.  His claim was that an Angel of the Lord sent him, much like he was sent by the Lord with a message to Jeroboam.   In defense of this young prophet, WHO would dare give a WORD in the name of the LORD when it wasn’t given from Him?  lions-1024x682

I know, The LORD gave him STRICT INSTRUCTIONS!!!!  I know!  I know!  I know!!!!  BUT the Older Prophet lied to him!!!  The young Prophet knew to fear the LORD and assumed that the older Prophet would too, thus he believed his fellow servant.  It seems  in all this, the old Prophet should have been punished for leading the young prophet astray, but instead, the young Prophet was punished for listening to his elder.

Is this fair?  I know, The LORD gave him STRICT INSTRUCTIONS!!!!  I know!  I know!  I know!!!!

Have you even been mislead?  Have you ever been mislead by someone you Trusted? Someone you Respected?  

It turns out, that the first task was to Speak to Jeroboam, and the second task was to not to listen to the Old Prophet. God knew that their paths would cross.  He knew that the Prophet would seek him, and lie to him!

Could it be that the LORDS instruction to not eat or drink in the Bethel was an instruction specifically to keep him from dining with the old Prophet.  Seeing as though he was in the city of Jeroboam, one could suggest that he was not chosen by the LORD to deliver the message because He had demonstrated in the past the same characteristic that he displayed to the young Prophet on the road.  It could be that the Lord was protecting the young Prophet not just from being on Jeroboams payroll, but from the influence and mentorship of a servant who had misused his power and position for his well being.

Though unfortunate; the LORD holds us responsible for the WORD that He gave to us.  In our time with God, He prepares us for our journey, and for the events and encounters we will have in pursuit of being obedient to the assignment He gives us.  Though He doesn’t announce and or give specifics to the exams, we can all attest to the fact that God prepares us, and we are armed with enough to conquer all we encounter.

I found it most interesting that the LORD protected the young Prophet twice in the passage, once in front of Jeroboam, and the second on the side of the road with the Lion.  Though the Lion killed him, he was assigned to protect the corpse until the older Prophet retrieved him and gave him a proper burial. 

All in all, I contend that the worst part of the last moments of the young Prophets life was not death by the Lion, but receiving word of his death from the very person who mislead Him.

 

 

I named this blog, “And Now a Word from our Sponsor” because of the scene under the oak tree.  It reminded me of the interruptions we experience while watching our favorite programing.  Advertisers use these moments to sway us to purchase their products, often exaggerating and or falsely advertising their performance and usefulness.  They pressure the viewer into purchasing in a small window, because they are aware that the more thought spent on contemplating the purchase, the less likely the viewer is to make purchase.  They use as many false testimonies and also claim to be recommended by experts in the field, who are actors and actresses paid to play a role in convincing the audience to purchase the item.  We must not make choices hastily, because quick decisions often lead to our destruction. 

 

Move Along! Nothing to See Here…. (Ferguson 3)

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Though it is fun to entertain conversations with those who present O.J. Simpson being acquitted, Colin Powel being selected and President Barack Obama being in office as signs that racism does not exist; one can rest assured that where there are people, there is racism.nothing_to_see_here

I understand why the topic of racism and the need to deny its existence exist!  It’s the same way I feel when I am assumed to be uneducated, to have all 5 of my children by different women,  or that I have a baby momma and not a wife (for 17 years Nov. 29th), that I am on Government Assistance by someone who is drawing their knowledge of African Americans from Social Media, News Outlets, Movies and or Music Videos.

My wife and I once sat across from our daughters teacher (during a parent and teacher conference) who spoke to us as though we were clueless.  I held my peace for a few minutes, and then explained to her our families educational pedigree (YES, BOTH SIDES!!!).  Not only that, but she was speaking to a person who has a Masters Degree (me) and my wife who had 2 Master’s Degrees  and was in the process of working on her Ph. D in EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (which she has since finished! Gig Em!)  My wifes’ Maternal Grand Parents both had Masters Degrees and my fraternal Grand Mother had a Bachelors Degree!  People, we had more degrees that this teacher could count, and she spoke to us as though we were fools.  Needless to say, she straightened up (Not to mention that my father was a Trustee on the School Board!!!)

Fast forward 3 years, and we encountered a teacher who my daughter said hated her.  I  went to the school to meet with this teacher (unscheduled) and she completely ignored me (Not even 1 Minute of her time!)!  I scheduled a meeting, she being a fellow Aggie (wife), I thought might be common ground to break the ice.  She gave me a blank stare the entire time!  I gave her two  options 1.  Treat my daughter with respect and stop the ignorance or 2.  I will have my daughter removed from her class (my daughter missed 1 question other benchmark the year before and was a stellar student).  Yes!  You guessed it!  She found some since!  The anointing fell and her vocal chords which were once silent were healed by the Lord and she was no longer mute!  Praise God!!! Teachers left and right were loosing their jobs and their class room averages through performances were key (my daughter and another student were her top students!)

And I can go on and on!!!!  Believe me I can!!!!!

I attended Cy-Fair High School!  Class of ’93!  Yes!!!  BFND!  Say it twice and it bring a smile through pride!  I am proud of my alma mater and the students I have made friends with over the years!  Many of them Anglo men and women who I believe with my whole heart (despite some of the drama in 94-96) love and respect me as a human being.  I am sure that when we talk, the colors of our skins do not exist because we are connected not only by Bobcat Pride, but in a relationship built through hours, days, months and years of time invested in getting to know each other.

Not all Anglo people hate African American people (And Vice Versa)!  I am sure of it!  I am positive that there are many people that are color blind!  However, we must acknowledge that racism still exist with some!  We must talk because racism is educational and systemic!  It is media branded and socially accepted!  It is tolerated and allowed to tuck itself under 2 blankets in the winter with footy pajamas, a lit fire place and the heating unit set to 85 degrees!

It was great to see the public outcry from everyone when the Donald Sterling conversation was leaked (Yes I know she was looking to get paid)!  People rightly demanded that he was held accountable by the league (Yes, I know that was about money too!).  This and other incidents show that we have made progress in racial relationships.  However, we must have conversations not  for those that have moved on from the ignorance of racism, but for those who are a little slow!  Furthermore, we must address a system that still has the remnant of prior legislation and interpretations, and sweep out the remaining crumbs from the table that once fed us!  We must insure that those in power are putting on the same glasses of justice that we wear and the conversations that are had in public match the ones had behind closed doors.

As for Ferguson; I will not go on record and say that the shooting of Mike Brown was an incident of racism.  It is impossible for us to know what was in Darren Wilson’s heart or head when he discharged his weapon (12 times)!  But when see moments where the shame of our past still smolders, you should join along and stomp it out or at least pick up dirt and throw it on the ashes!

We all have moments from our past and our families past that we hate to see surface, but if we always take the “Move along, nothing to see here” approach, then we do ourselves a disservice.  In moments like these, we must have conversations not just across racial lines, but inside of our families and circles to make sure we state our own personal dissatisfaction with those who still think and practice racial prejudice as a way of life.

 

Two Thumbs Down!!!!! (Ferguson 2….’14)

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1994;  Virginia Union University; Introduction to Journalism was the class.  It was fascinating.  The structure of the organizations!  The sacrifice made by those who not only dedicated their lives, but lost their lives!  The emphasis was on truth and ones ability to paint images in words in the minds of the reader that would place them at the scene.  Integrity was the star of the show and the driving force with all enjoined; committed to being the eyes and ears for those unable to be on the scene.

It has become apparent that the question of what was defined as a reliable source is no longer an unnamed witness or u identified informant, but the journalist and news outlets themselves; who are now competing for ratings and fighting to develop a brand and t heir own celebrity.  Integrity now takes a backseat to Entertainment and takes directions from its Co-pilot Advertisements  (who have the control over stations like the Super PACs that make the decisions in our Congress).  Our media gives us direction much like a conductor, the create harmony and disharmony as they use their pens like the wave of a baton.  The gather us together and break us apart, shifting and hiding facts to address the angle of their supporters and constituents.

Joe Friday, "Just the Facts ..."

Joe Friday, “Just the Facts …”

Thus with my head down, I lift both of my hands to give our media Two Thumbs Down!   Its a sad day when Privately owned websites, Amateurs with Blogs, a YouTube page or Podcast have become more credible that our media outlets!  It should be embarrassing to have websites that exist to fact check and reveal the ignorant spins of professionals who were once are paid to report with integrity!

We are now forced to watch 24 hour coverage (of course my television is off) of the anger and foolishness of those who are lashing out because they a lack a voice that can lead to change.  Hmm maybe if we could get all the looters to pool together financial resources, we could not only change a flawed system, but could either station or outlet that will report to the public court of opinions, facts that would allow us all to make a decision for ourselves as opposed to being stuffed like a Thanksgiving Turkey with Propaganda and and basted with the juices of sensationalism!

There was  a time where news equaled facts and not the product of “x” and “y”.  If only we could return to the days where our journalist approached each scene like Joe Friday, “just the facts…just the facts!”

 

Power Corrupts Everyone? ……. (Ferguson 1……’14)

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While it can be argued that Power Corrupts, it should also be argued that Power does Not Corrupt Everyone. In every arena, we will find those that feel empowered to the point of being above the law. In this, we will always be confronted with issues of those in power who abuse their power, and those that lack power and feel powerless. protectnserve

Those in power have been entrusted to carry out the use of their authority according to the laws in place that serve as guides to serve in their office. Having said this, I am convinced that not all police officers are corrupt and abusive with their power. I am convinced that there are many police officers that are really aides to the community, seeking truly to protect an to serve. I am convinced that there are police officers who are fair and interested in carrying out justice for the sake of maintaining peace and order. Though convinced of these truths, I am also convinced that there is an spoken but undocumented agreement amongst those in power to Protect and Serve One Another.

The ability to carry out justice on the streets is impacted by the covering and backing of those who have become a part of a system that protects its own at the expense of other. Knowing that your sins/actions will be covered allows one the peace of carrying out their duties, but leaves room for those looking to abuse their power to carry out injustices that cause further injustices like we see today in the looting and rioting.

Though the entire system is not flawed, there are changes that need be made to insure that future incidents do not occur. We must began to hold those accountable who are in power by holding all in power accountable, and not allowing for the manipulation of the laws to serve as a cover to do as thou wilt (yes I chose those words intentionally).

Why Settle for Moses?

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“We have developed into a culture where people want to take a selfie with Moses as opposed to walking up the mountain and spending time with God”  Francis Chan  Pastor Francis Chan

Today’s time at the Church Planting meeting was amazing. Pastor Francis Chan spoke into our lives a life changing word! This quote almost cleared the room. The air left and we were all grasping for our inhalers!

The truth often has this effect.  We have fallen into the trap of the adversary and, some have allowed themselves to accept the acclaim that accompanies our command to proclaim, and have become celebrities which tend to become idol in nature.  Though not the goal of the pulpit, many parishioners have accepted not having a personal walk with the Lord and have accepted having a relationship with the preacher.  Though Paul modeled for us, directing disciples to follow him as he followed Christ, this was not to OK the personal relationship that one should have with the Lord.  We are to be focal points in a time of confusion to find clarity in the believers search for truth and revelations leading to application of what one needs to get closer to the mark and image of Christ!  To replace the mark of Christ with the mark of the Pastor is to settle for failure as opposed to pressing towards perfection!

He continued that we as preachers must not settle for allowing people to take selfies with us, and must point people up the mountain as opposed to enjoying the celebrity of the benefits of spending time with the Lord.  We must make sure those we encounter and that “follow us”, remember that we are “following Christ” and not the main focal point of their relationship.  We are not to be worshiped, but are truly all called as Pastors to be Bell Boys who handle peoples baggage,  direct them to the place where God resides, and then rest in His arms. We Usher them In, and then Point them Up and must fight to insure that they remain on the elevator until the reach the right floor.

Broken Families & Broken People……Camp Exalted 2014

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As the landscape of the family structure is being re-written, those teaching and preaching are being forced to address new issues and a new presented reality from the people we are called too.  The present age has altered job descriptions redefined roles, as well as ones understanning of the word in the process.  Our churches will be challenged to be relevant without accepting the present reality.Man In Prayer Christian Stock Photo

As not to address the numerouse family dynamics, the sin and or the breach or break of covenant, we will address the common confusions that is making these wrongs become right.

Un-Unified Teams
Parents and families are supposed to present and be consistent as a unified team.  With the divorce rate increasing, unequally yoked unions, and the number of children born in non-covenant families has placed our children in the middle of war zones and unfriendly tug-o-wars.  Our children face are in a neutral zone, forced to survive through the posturing and fighting of two individuals and or families, that have not been able to agree upon a set group of values and rules.

Inconsistent Rules/Competing Authorities
These Un-Unified Teams leave our children uncovered, believing that there are a variety of rules that are correct as opposed to one way that is right by the Lord.  Competing rules leave children confused, wavering and constantly questioning right; believing that right is a matter of perspective, need and place, which causes children to believe that their desires are synonymous with what is right.   This can cause them to appear aggressive and rebellious; where as, they are simply doing what they believe to be right as the captain of their fate.

Un-harmonious Confrontations

Lastly, Inconsistent Rules/Competing Authorities leave out children to take notes from un-harmonious confrontations. These confrontations teach and rehears for our children a way of addressing authority figures and peers, while feeling justified in and after the encounter because of the belief that now is right.  Not having proper rules, regulations and examples of how to disagree, leaves our kids mimicking improper behavior, forging a character that is built on brokenness; leaving to unhappiness.

Thus the new battle ground.  A battle ground that is no longer stationary, but one that continues to shift according to person that stands before you.  Our families are changing, and our values have weakened, leaving our approach antiquated, and our purpose renewed and in need of an upgrade.

The Treadmill Experience Pt. 1…..

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Recently, I watched an interview of Will Smith by Tavis Smiley.  In this interview, Will Smith, said when asked what sets him a part from others, “I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill…”  Though a statement that can be interpreted many ways, he cleared it up by stating that he will not be outworked.   He continued,  “…if we get on the treadmill at the same time, either you will get off first, or I will die”.  These comments caused much thought, in that I am just beginning to enjoy the treadmill experience.  In this time, I want to take what Will said and expand on it for the sake of discussion and enlightenment.treadmill

First, I enjoyed Will’s statement and explanation because it highlights the zeal, commitment and effort we all need to succeed.  Too many of us have the passion and the talent, but lack the efforts to bring our visions and dreams into reality.  I wondered to myself how many dreams have died because of our lack of commitment to take the time to create what we have seen.  Too often we expect our dreams and visions to leap off the page of our thoughts, and form themselves with our desires and aspirations.  To bring your future into the present, one has to reach into your dreams, sketch, outline, color and finalize your dreams and visions until they become a reality.  As believers, we know we have to speak things into existence, but we also know that God blesses the fruit of our hands and it will make us prosperous.  We have to speak, but we also have to work.  We have to rid ourselves of the idea that our dreams are stencil.  They are created by following the voice of God!  It’s more like being a sketch artist than tracing or using a drawing from a carbon copy or previously used sketch pad.

It we are to bring forth what has been placed for us, we have to approach our dreams with this Treadmill attitude.  We must desire to create and finish our dreams so bad, that nothing will stand in our way; even ourselves.  We must press through fatigue, and the negative thoughts, ignore the voices, and clear the room of all doubters.  We must keep our heads up, and our focus forward, putting forth maximum effort, knowing that what God has said is our, has been given, and merely waits for us to obtain it.  It is my prayer that we will all take ahold of our future with God, committing to His revelation and making it our reality.