The pastor didn’t kill his seductive parishioner and is forced to embark on a hilarious journey to find out who did. ($2.99 e-book; $13.99 paperback. Available Now!) This first of its kind American novel featuring a black clergyman as the amateur sleuth is set in a fictional bedroom community of Newark, NJ. There’s a lot going on in Belton, including … Continue reading
Jesus came to his own, and his own received him not (he was sent to be rejected, God knowing he would be rejected because His people, Israel, were still blind and not ready). So to as many as received him, to them he gave the authority to become sons of God. [Jn 1:12]
Jesus often referenced this by saying, "I'm sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Later, Peter would also be sent to Israel, to feed and shepherd the converted, not win the lost ones.) MAIN TRUTH HERE: Church people say there is no failure in God, and scripture suggests that God always gives His people the victory. But my bible also shows me that just because God sent you doesn't mean you will succeed! At least not always on the first go round. Sometimes embedded in the core of your call and commission (and hidden from you) is your penultimate rejection and failure. We can't always judge the validity of the commission by the fruit of the mission.
Jesus didn't get much fruit in Israel, but instead plenty of contradiction and rejection. I experienced the same thing in the baptist churches I was sent to, plenty of contradiction and rejection, and very little fruit. That doesn't mean I was not sent, or that I messed up. It means it was a Jesus Mission, doomed to poor numbers and high frustration from the start!
And Jesus Missions are just like Jesus' mission: short lived! There is no glory in a Jesus mission, only failure, and in the end, a cross. A shameful, painful conclusion to a launch that held such promise of great things. BUT, if you can remain faithful on your Jesus Mission and submit to the cross, glory WILL come...AFTER! On the other side of every Jesus Mission is a resurrection, and a second coming!
According to Rudyard Kipling, success and failure are both impostors we should treat the same. Don't let an impostor define you! Instead, know who you are and expose the impostors in your life for what they really are! When God sends you on a Jesus Mission (a suicide mission, a D-Day mission, a 300 mission, a charge-the-hill-knowing-you-will-be-killed mission) it's because He 1) trusts you; 2) values the message He has put inside of you, His treasure in an earthen vessel; and 3) prioritizes process over props and spoils and results.
So, if you're on a Jesus Mission, know that 4) your faithfulness to the message is the true mission, not spectacular results. Know that 5) if you're faithful to the message your mission will be brief. Know that 6) your cross is not the end of your ministry, just your mission; you'll be back! Know that 7) your resurrection won't convince everybody, you'll still have many doubters. And finally, know that 8) you won't get total vindication until the Second Coming, when every eye shall see!
Sometimes we think and feel like we’re in a prison, left on God’s ministerial shelf and forgotten, only to find out later that all along we were just in God’s green room awaiting our turn to go on stage and perform for Him. There have been several times in my 35 years of ministry that I’ve felt like I was in … Continue reading
Man, I get so annoyed sometimes that I need a place to vent to keep myself from exploding. We need to get back to earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, to God’s original intent for life. I think I’ll use this space for that purpose on Throwback Thursdays. So, here’s what’s bugging me today. I’m so … Continue reading
Some of the hardships we face and endure are really because of our own foolishness, disobedience, and misjudgment. Does God offer relief and healing from this kind of pain? Absolutely. When we see our kids suffer because of their own mistakes we rescue them when they acknowledge their fault and recognize their role in their current circumstances. When they confess … Continue reading
You’re white, running low on gas, and forced to turn off the highway to refuel in an area you know nothing about. You pull into the gas station and are immediately gripped by fear. Heavy bass thumps in your chest and rattles your windows. It’s a black neighborhood. The station is teeming with young black people at the pumps and in … Continue reading
Many, if not most, churches are constantly looking for qualified, competent, caring, and committed people to help do the work of their ministry. Many, if not most, of these churches have at least one such person hiding in plain sight in their pews at every worship service. According to Bo Lane’s website, expastors.com, 1500 pastors leave the ministry each month. … Continue reading
SLAP = See.Love.Appreciate.Pray4 (all of this is implied by HONOR). I present a workshop to teens entitled How to SLAP Your Parents (and Why). It’s pretty popular. Here’s why. See your parents. This means to acknowledge them AND to enable others to acknowledge them by promoting them and making them famous; to announce them; to glorify them (as Jesus glorified his … Continue reading
1 Samuel 15:24-31 (KJV) And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.  Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord.  And Samuel said unto Saul, I … Continue reading
Matthew 11:7-15 (NIV) As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?  If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.  … Continue reading
Mark 10:35-45 (NIV) Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”  “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.  They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”  … Continue reading
The challenge of Facebook for Christians is that Facebook tempts us to try to live in original nakedness while overlooking the fact that we are travailing in a broken world. It is literally ‘showing off’ our lives via pictures and status updates, and sharing what we think about pretty much EVERYTHING (against the proverbial injunction against uttering all one’s mind … Continue reading
Time is definitive. I can tell a lot about you just by knowing in what time period you spent your teen years: 50s – conservative; 60s – hippie; etc. You can identify the genre of a piece of music by listening to its time signature. Time is basic. Everything in this life has a rhythm, a cadence, a time signature: … Continue reading
At a parenting lecture most people expect to hear secrets to get a child to do what a parent wants them to do, or learn how to get a child to do what the child doesn’t want to do. But that is really what the bible calls witchcraft; manipulation. And it’s fueled by the belief that a parent’s job is … Continue reading
Why is our culture so fixated on the pinnacle and narrowing life’s experiences into an EKG line graph of best and worst experiences ever? LeBron James blocks a shot and the media is quick to proffer the question, ‘Was that the greatest block ever?’ Why can’t it suffice to be ONE OF THE GREATEST BLOCKS EVER? What gives with the … Continue reading
I’m a spiritual child of the health and prosperity gospel. Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Fred Price, and their theological disciples were my earliest teachers in the faith. So, naturally I embraced the biblical truths that God wants His children healthy, wealthy, and wise early in my walk with Jesus. But after 33 years of walking with the Lord … Continue reading