Sunday, December 7, 2014

Survival Of The Fittest

Picture this. Imagine applying for a job in which you had no experience. The corporation hired you knowing you lacked experience. You attend the new hire orientation where you learn about the vision and mission of the corporation. They also tell you the corporations history and how you're part of their future. They finally verify all of your information for their records. You go home with a feeling of excitement and nervousness about getting involved the next day. When you arrive to work you are provided with a handbook, given a welcoming reception and then everybody goes their separate ways. What do you do? Is someone going to train you? Where do you go? Are you able to survive?

Now think about this in context of the church. People come to church and give their lives to God. They attend a new members orientation. They are given a bible, greeted by other members and then they are left alone to survive on their own.

For the past few weeks our bible study has been used as the platform to develop our Gospel Outreach Community Church's "New Disciple Orientation." Our Director of Christian Education is leading the charge in giving new Christians an environment to gain a better understanding of the decision they made, strengthen the foundation of their knowledge of Christ and give them a peace of mid that they are not on this journey alone.

Churches need to recognize that this is not "every man for themselves", "survival of the fittest" or "Hunger Games".  This is a journey where mature Christians help new Christians to stand on their own two feet and become mature Christians themselves.

Besides a New Disciples Orientation, what could we do to disciple new Christians on their new journey?

Pastor JB Marshall

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Response To The People (Ferguson)

I first want to acknowledge the Brown family. This is a tough time in your life constantly reliving the death of your son, Michael Brown. In addition, you have to carry the weight of encouraging people to respond to the "no indictment" verdict in a manner that you have strongly and courageously done. For that, I commend you.

As a pastor of a community church, I feel it is my responsibility to respond to the actions of the community. Yes, I am not pastoring in Ferguson but the community I live in is definitely impacted by it as is most cities in the United States.

There are people who are angry with the final verdict being "no indictment".  They feel justice was not served. The officer did not get what he deserved. The problem with this claim is that our society has made "justice" to be subjective. Had there been an indictment, charge and conviction of the officer then the people supporting the officer would feel that they were cheated of their justice. So, the court of public opinion applies justice in a subjective and separate manner.

Because we are a divided people, it is only natural that our view on justice is divided. In our development as the United States of America, we have lost our way in being united. We successfully united the states but not our citizens. There's a divide ranging from social class to ethnicity. The separation is not in having rich and poor or black and white but in designating one as inferior to the other. Let's work at becoming a unified people.

I understand the anger people have with the verdict. I understand the frustration people have with the verdict. What I do not understand is why that anger and frustration is channeled at looting the stores of independent business owners or rioting? Is that justice for the store owners? Is that justice for the owners whose property was damaged?  Is that justice for the innocent people who were injured while attempting a peaceful protest? That certainly cannot be the justice that we are seeking.

Use that anger and frustration to create changes in our legal system. Hold peaceful protests. Develop organizations geared to bring exposure to our cause. Go and cast our votes during elections and attend town hall meetings. Get smart on proposed laws and force accountability to those making the decisions.

The bottom line is that we need to become a unified people and wisely work towards a standard of justice that is truly fair. This goes beyond the extent of our emotion because Ferguson will become old news to most of us. This must now become our passion. We need to commit to our passion.

Pastor JB Marshall

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why Starting A Church Was The Right Choice For Me

   I remember when God showed me part of my purpose in life was to pastor a church. "You want me to do what", was my first response. After a few years I was a little more at ease with doing it but still had my reservations. I began to prepare myself for the interview process at any local church that was in search for a Senior Pastor. I had it all figured out.  I was going to go in the interview room and speak with the search committee. Next, I would go back to preach a few Sundays services and teach a few bible studies. The search committee would recommend me to church and accept my package. I would have been nervous when I saw the committee POCs phone number show up on my cell phone. Nervousness would have turned into tears of joy and gratefulness to God after I hear the words "You are our new Pastor."  Arrangements would have been made and I would collect my church belongings from my home office and bring them to the church office. But that wasn't Gods plan.

   Once I made that step to go to interviews, God showed me that He wanted me to start a church. No members. No facility. No money. No clue. He did give me a vision. I spent many nights rehearsing the vision. I spent equal or more nights doubting the vision. There lies the problem. God wanted me to believe in the vision He had given for Gospel Outreach Community Church (GOCC) as it stood by itself. This was the ultimate step of faith for me. It was a necessary step of faith for GOCC. They needed a pastor who fully believes in the vision that he is sharing. They needed a pastor who will not easily be discouraged when things go wrong. They needed a pastor who will not lose sight of the vision because things are going exceptionally well. I was not that pastor when I first received the vision. I am that pastor now. With God's guidance, I will continue to be that pastor.

   This experience has increased my faith tremendously. All of this is building a foundation for "vision-motivated" people in a "vision-motivated" church. Yes, we now have a handful of launch team members doing a whole lot of work. Yes, we now have a facility that would allow us to setup and tear down. Yes, we have a little bit of money to do ministry. Yes, believe it or not, I have a little better clue of what I'm doing now. We thank God for His vision.

Pastor JB Marshall

Thursday, June 5, 2014

No Signs Needed

(Judges 6:36-40
36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.

What I find interesting about Gideon is that he sought a sign after God told him that He will save Israel by Gideon's hands. God did show him two signs to confirm that He will use Gideon.  However, the reality is that the signs shown to him did not change the fact that God had spoken to him. Gideon knew it was God who was talking but he did not believe that God could use him.

When we keep asking God to show us a "sign" or "confirm" what He has already told us, we show a lack of faith in God's ability to use us. I know from experience.  I could use the fingers of about ten people to help me count the amount of times I asked God to confirm my call to pastor a church. I've asked God to confirm the confirmation that confirmed the confirmation of the original assignment and then asked for more confirmation. God's answer never changed.

We need to get to a point that the original assignment is confirmation enough. How do we do that?

  1. Lose the Fear: If you do not let go of the fear and doubt, you will not be able to let go of the need for confirmation.
  2. Trust God: God chose to use you because He knows you better than anybody else. He knows you better than yourself. He knows that you're capable. He will supply you with everything you need.
  3. Know Who You Are: You are a Christian which means you suppose to be a follower of Jesus the Christ. Follow the examples He left for us. Jesus walked with faith in God, spoke boldly, believed in what He was saying and moved according to God's will. 
Let's make a declaration that we no longer need a sign from God. Let's move in His will based on what He said and not on how many times He had to tell us.

Why do you think we look for signs or confirmation? What else could help us move to God's initial call to us?

Pastor Jeremiah "JB" Marshall
Gospel Outreach Community Church

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Personal Study

Study to she thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

I'm bi-vocational. While always on the ministry front I did have the opportunity to take off from my secular job yesterday. During that time, I spent some of it finishing a book that I started reading and completely reading another book. I left the couch feeling like I have gain knowledge and understanding that I did not previously have on those topics.

While I have not conducted a scientific survey on Christians reading the bible, it would be unfair for me to state if it is done a lot or not. What I am permitted to say is that we should take the time to read our bible translations, other commentaries, and the biblical text in their original languages. Why should we do this:

  1. Upgrade In Transmission: Just like the postal system does not use horses to deliver mail from one location to the next, the scriptures are no longer transmitted via oral means only. The scriptures are available in book or electronic format. We do not have to wait for the next sermon to be preached to us or bible study taught to us.
  2. Read to Study. Study to Learn: Reading initiates the process to learn. We should not expect someone to do the reading and studying for us. Educational Institutions do not simply expect teachers to have their books and students take their word for it. They expect the students to have their own books, go to their "quiet place", read the lesson, study the lesson and learn the material. We are to do the same.
  3. Sharing: We have to fulfill the Great Commission by spreading the good news (Gospel) of to all. You cannot share what you do not know or have. Sharing what someone else knows or have will only get you so far. 
Take the time to study the holy scriptures and other books. Hopefully you will get off the "couch" like I did feeling like you have gain knowledge and understanding that you did not previously have.

What other reasons should we read the bible translations, other commentaries and the biblical text in their original language?

Pastor JB Marshall
Gospel Outreach Community Church

Sunday, April 6, 2014

This Time Next Year

We are now 365 days away from the launch of Gospel Outreach Community Church. This pre-launch phase we're in has been an adventure of ups and downs. However, it is an enjoyable calling that we're glad to be on.

We began our bible study series on March 4th and have held it weekly on every Tuesday. We almost canceled a few studies due to the weather but the snow melted just in time. Great things are coming out of our "On Your Mark! Get Set!! GO!!!" bible study series. We are learning more about God, faith and His call in our lives as we journey through the book of Genesis. 

God has allowed us to cross paths with great leaders within the community.  Our desire is be part of the community in order to show them that God still cares for the people in it. A wonderful community leader, Ms. Connie, connected with me to support the beautification on our neighborhoods. If you know her, you have access to the needs of the community. She is really a blessing from God to GOCC.

GOCC's web designer and webmaster, Ty Ownens, completed our website. It looks marvelous and we really appreciate her time and effort in putting it together. She worked some late hours and made all the recommended modifications. Her consultation and creativity are unmatched. You can visit the site at www.gospeloutreachcc,org. Take advantage of the sites capabilities. You can leave a prayer request, read or subscribe to the blog, obtain updated information on events, make a contribution/donation, view or subscribe to the Commercial Break Sermons and contact us for additional information.

We secured the Sharron Baucom (Dale City) Recreation Center to use from Oct 2014 to Mar 2015. We're having our weekly 7:30pm  bible studies in the Rec Center starting Oct 7th. We will start our monthly 2pm services on Oct 12th and every 2nd Sunday thereafter. Keep us in prayer as we continue to look for a more permanent facility to use as we lead up to the launch service in April 2015. And pray that God brings the help that we need. We're looking for singers, musicians, ushers, teachers, prayer warriors, hospitality and everything in between.

Our Marketing Committee is putting together various avenues that would open opportunities for GOCC and our partners to donate clothing, food, and school supplies to those in need of them. We want to be blessing to them. So be on the look out for those opportunities to a blessing to someone else.

In closing, Gospel Outreach Community Church will launch on April 5, 2015. This time next year, we will celebrate and thank God for the pre-launch phase that we were in and move into the next phase of our ministry.

Much love,

Pastor Jeremiah "JB" Marshall

GOCC website:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

We Want You

And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, 
Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Romans 9:26

As Christians, we are called to evangelize everywhere and to everyone. We have to tell people about God and teach them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is our calling. We are not called to give up on anybody. That would be God's call. Unfortunately, it looks like there are places and people we have given up on.

  1. Our enemies: We have to be a witness to our enemies. Forgive them of their faults against us. Show them the true love of God. 
  2. Prisons/Jail: The courts judge them for their crimes, we judge them for their sins. We must not do that. Go into the prison facilities and minister to them. Preach that God is a forgiven God. Lead them to repentance and assure them that God will remember their sins no more.
  3. Strangers: God might be leading us to tell someone about Christ but we are hesitant because we do not know them. Be bold and do it anyway. If you feel led then go. Do not "hope" that someone else would do it.
  4. Family/Friends: On the other end of the spectrum (see #3), we do not share the good news with our friends and family. We do not want to offend them because of our close relationship. Share the Gospel but share it in love. We should love our family and friends enough to not want to see them fall short and go to hell.
  5. Homeless People/Shelters: There are homeless and hungry people just waiting for someone to "show" them who Christ is. They are looking to see the Christ in us. We cannot forget about them.
There are so many people and places that we have given up on. Do not give up. Do not ignore. Those people shall be called the children of the living God.

What other group of people or places have we given up on?