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?


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Woman Behind The Scenes

The reality is that planting a church is time consuming. As with any church planter, I spend time doing what God has required of me. I spend time in prayer, diligently study of the Scriptures, developing strategies to fulfill the vision that God has given Gospel Outreach Community Church, preparing bible study lessons and much more. I did not express all of that in order to get pity or even complain. I painted this picture because even if you had seen me doing all of that, most people do not see what Alicia (my wife) is doing behind the scenes.

I am truly blessed with a wonderful wife. Alicia is watching our son when I am meeting with people, going to the neighborhood leadership meetings, or preparing lessons. She is constantly praying for the church, community, her family and for me. Alicia takes on many roles of operations in the church because we're in a prelaunch phase. Did I mention that she is five months pregnant?

I give God all the glory for blessing me with an angel in Alicia. God has given her the talent, patience and love to do the work in the ministry, love on her son and husband, handle the gift of pregnancy and have a full-time job. As she goes to bed early to rest from her long week, I am reminded that God placed the right person in my life in order to fulfill the vision that He has given us. He knew that I would need her and that she would need me. What a God we serve.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Your Walk...Our Journey!!!

Gospel Outreach Community Church (GOCC) has a tagline "Your Walk...Our Journey". The reason we believe this tagline was God-given is because of the truth that it holds in our evangelism focus. In our church start-up phase, I realize that everybody that GOCC reaches out to is at a different level in their knowledge of Christianity and their desire to know more about God.

We could talk to someone who has a clear understanding of Christian doctrine one minute and then talk to someone who does not have an understanding at all. However, both of them are looking to fellowship with GOCC. We could talk to someone who has a new found zeal to serve God and learn more about Him but we also could talk to someone who might not have that same level.

So, about the tagline. The Church (the people) has the responsibility to minister to every individual regardless of "membership" status, knowledge level or maturity level. This equates to everyone being in a different place in their walk. They have their own weakness and strengths. They have their own struggles and victories. They have their own WALK. In knowing that, GOCC has to make every effort to meet people where they are in their walk and then walk with them. They do not have to do it alone. We work through the struggles together. We learn together. We rejoice together. We grow together. We reciprocate that to others. In doing this, we JOURNEY together.

To WALK is their responsibility but the JOURNEY is shared. Your Walk...Our Journey!!!

God must be the focus and trust must be developed for this to function properly. What else do you believe should exist for this relationship to function?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Good Pastors Still Exist

Titus 1:6-9

An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious.
An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money.
Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life.
He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.
There use to be a time that being a Pastor was looked upon favorably by most people to include non-Christians. As indicated in Titus 1:6-9, the character of those who walk in this calling were without question.  They were people that finding fault in them was difficult or impossible. They were blameless (free of wrong-doing).
Fast forward to 2014, being a Pastor is looked upon unfavorable by most people to include Christians. It's true. Because of the few that have purposefully or deceitfully not lived up to the expectations set by Titus 1:6-9, the consensus is that there are no good Pastors. Here is why:
  1. Bad Is Visible: The few Pastors that have turned out to be deceitful get the more publicity than the many Pastors living a righteous life and following the path that God has set before them.
  2. All-Inclusive: Similar to #1, if one is wrong then all of them are wrong. I've had horrible managers and I've had some good ones. I've had great leaders and I've had some not so great leaders.
  3. Broken Trust: Some Pastors have hurt some people in a very bad way. These individuals prefer to conceal the hurt than to let it heal. I hope and pray that they will find their healing.
  4. High Pedestal Pastor: When we put Pastors (or they put themselves) on a high pedestal, their fall could damage our whole perception on Pastors as a whole. Pastors may fail to meet your expectations but God will not.
For whatever reason that we believe that there are no good Pastors, that belief is not factual. There are plenty of good Pastors out there. They care for your well-being. They are practicing what they preach. If/When they fall short, they are sincerely going to God in a state of true repentance. They preach the Word of God without compromise or fear because they care for your soul.
As I walk into this calling, I took the time to reflect on the individuals that have shepherded me. I have been blessed with quite a few good ones.
I thank God for the following Pastors:
  • Pastor Frank Marshall (New Vision Revival Center)
  • Apostle Virges Pearson (Charity Church)
  • Pastor James Pitts (New Zion Tabernacle)
  • Pastor Tom Bailey (Victory Temple Missionary Baptist Church)
Take time to reflect on your previous and current Pastors. Appreciate the good ones and pray God allows you to forgive the bad ones if you haven't done so already.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Faith + Works = Results

James 2:14-18
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing,
16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”

I have to admit that I did not know that starting a church would take so much work. That does not mean that I have no appreciation for how hard it is to start a church. It does mean that even at the level of difficulty that I had imagined, reality has revealed that I still fell short. Keep in mind that God has blessed me with a great support team. There are other Church Planters who are doing this without a support team. I count my blessings and I thank God for it.

Just like this calling to start Gospel Outreach Community Church (GOCC) requires a lot of faith and action, we as Christians need to be people of faith and action. As James 2:16-18 states, we can't simply pray for the needs of someone without also seeking how we can meet that need.

I attended the 2014 Prince William County (PWC) Neighborhood Conference. This conference revealed plenty of areas of need within PWC community. It is not enough for GOCC to pray that the needs be met. We have to support with our prayers and actions. We will pray in faith that the littered streets will be clean and we will volunteer to be part of the clean-up days. We will pray in faith that seniors and low income individuals will be able to get important maintenance done on their homes and we will volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

There are plenty of activities that we can pray for and work towards. James helps us to understand that praying does not release us from working and working does not release us from praying. Let us show our FAITH by our GOOD DEEDS. Faith without works is dead. Faith with works equals results.

Is there anything that you are praying about that you need to be working on at the same time?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mistakes That Count

As I defined the direction to take with the "Journey With Me" blog, it was easy to decide to share the positive aspect of this journey of starting Gospel Outreach Community Church. However, I quickly realized that you will not be journeying with me. You'll be watching the highlight reel. To journey with me, I must not erase the mistakes out of pride or public opinion. I need to share the whole journey. As you guessed, deciding to share this side of the coin took a little longer.

The acceptance of sharing my mistakes took me down the following path:
  • Mistakes Could Make You Better: We all have a choice to allow our mistakes to tear us down or build us up. We could become depressed or more determined.
  • Mistakes Convert To Lessons Learned: We must learn from our mistakes to minimize the possibility of making them again.
  • Mistakes Help Others: I was taught that experience is the best teacher. I now know that the experience of others are better teachers. Why should you fall in the same pit that I fell in? Let me tell you that there is a pit so that you could walk around.
  • Mistakes Cannot Be Eliminated: We can minimize mistakes but we cannot eliminate them. Creating the appearance of being perfect can increase the hurt felt by us and those who love us when something exposes that we are not.
Find the positives in your mistake. If/when you make them, make it count. It will make you better, help you to make better choices, help others and manage the expectations of having to be perfect.

What other ways can we make mistakes count?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Do You Even Care?

Mark 2:15-17
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The religious leaders during this time questioned why Jesus would eat with those whom they considered morally wrong (tax collectors) and spiritually wrong (sinners). These leaders did not associate with tax collectors or sinners. In an effort to maintain their spiritual purity they isolated and avoided those they deem impure. Then came Jesus.

Jesus knew His purpose. He knew the people He was supppose to reach. He knew the method He must use to reach them. Isolation and avoidance was not effective tools to use in fulfilling His purpose. Jesus had to show that He cared. He had to break down the barriers that prevented Him from effectively showing that He cared. What are those barriers:

  1. Location: Times have changed where non-believers are breaking down the church doors to give their lives to God. You have to go and get them where they are. Jesus went to Levi's house. He went to where Levi was comfortable AND to a place He did not feel like He was compromising the prime objective of ministering to Levi. We might have to go to the prisons, bad neighborhoods, someone's house, or meet them in a resturant in order to effectively minister to them.
  2. Discrimination: Souls do not have a gender, religious preference, sexual preference, ethnicity, social class or anything that we could use to decide who should or should not receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ from us. Take every opportunity to witness and be a witness. Witness through your words and deeds. Tell them about Jesus Christ and show them Jesus Christ.
  3. What Other People Think: Jesus allowed Himself to be ridiculed by the religious leaders in order to gain the heart and soul of those He ministered to. His status among their ranks did not matter. Getting invited for a preaching engagement did not matter. Receiving a pat on the back did not matter. What mattered was winning souls for the Kingdom of God.
  4. What We Know: Jesus knew that people did not ONLY want to know that He was knowledgeable of the scriptures, they wanted to see Him put it in practice. They wanted to see that He cared enough for them before they would even care enough about what He was preaching or teaching. Just because we can break the scriptures down upward and downward does not mean anything if we do not genuinely care for the people.
Break down the barriers that prevents you from being an effective witness. Follow the model that Jesus has set before us. Jesus said that He did not come to call the righteous but He has come for the sinners. We have to spend more time reaching out to those who need Christ in their lives.

What would you change about yourself to make you a better witness for Christ?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Willing To Take The First Step

I went skydiving for the first time in June 2013. While standing on the edge with the wind beating my face and looking at the ground below, the tandem jump instructor asked me if I was ready to jump.  "What am I doing", I thought to myself.  I was "ready" when my feet were planted on the ground but now I feel some extreme hesitation as I stood one step away from free falling to the ground where I once stood.  Am I really ready to take the first step?

As I embark on this new journey that God has set before me, I reflect on this first step that I will have to take. This particular step carries a lot of weight. It is a very small step but it is a defining one. It is less about my readiness and more about my willingness. 

Like the instructor, God made sure that I had the proper equipment on and that it was working properly. The instructor made sure that I knew the instructions prior to me taking that step. He packed the parachute himself (thank God!). He also made sure that I was latched on to him. God does the same. He gives us instructions, equips us for the task ahead and does His part to keep us connected to Him.

As I reflect back to the jump, the instructor was asking me the wrong question.  He should have asked me if I was willing to jump instead of asking me if I was ready to jump.  He was the one that needed to be ready because I was latched to him and he was leading me to safety. However, I had to be willing:

- Willing to follow the instructions given to me
- Willing to trust in his ability
- Willing to go when the time arrived
- Willing to do my part 

When God is ready, we need to be willing.  We need to listen to His instructions, trust in Him completely, believe that His timing is always right and carry out the work that we need to do.  God has given us everything we need to accomplish what He has set out for us to do.  Are you willing to take that first step?

*By the way, I was willing to take the first step in skydiving :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Keeping It Real

"To be or not to be: That is the question!" At times I struggle to answer the question about how I feel to about starting Gospel Outreach Community Church. I know what the expectations are and I know what they are not. 

Most people expect me to have all of the answers right now. I should have the flawless marketing approach, dynamic worship service structure and the know-how to meet EVERY needs of the community that I am servicing. I come with a "trial and error" marketing approach, "what was I thinking" worship service structure and the "do what I can with what I got" campaign to meet the needs of the community.

Most people expect me to stand tall with my back straight and look the challenges in their eyes like this is a cake walk because I know what the scriptures tell me. I know that I can do all things through the strength of Christ. I know that nothing that is devised to destroy me will prosper. In knowing that, I still come with the jitter bugs of nervousness and late nights of behind the scene operations. 

Knowing the expectations of people, I willingly choose not to wear the mask. This journey is not a "to be or not to be" journey. I would say that it fits the "to be AND to be" model. I am nervous and I know that God will comfort me. I will pray hard and work hard. I will wait on The Lord and I will move out on faith. I will make wrong decisions and I will make right ones. I will know the right words to say and I will not know what to say at all.

The "to be AND to be" model does not mean that we are weak. It does not mean that we have wavering faith. It means that we are real.

Do you think it damages a Christians credibility when they take off their mask?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Play The Game

Most people I know will take every opportunity to go after something they want or need when they know they can get it. They will do it with no hesitation, reservation or fear. They want it. They need it. They are going to get it.

Now remove the "perfect situation" glasses from your face and reality will show you that the above is a rarity. It is more common for people to want or need something but recognize that a possibility of not getting it exists. Unfortunately, it is also common that this reality has discourage people from even "playing the game". Why try? Would the disappointment of failing hurt more than wondering what would have happened if you tried? What would people think about me if they heard about my failure? Those are real thoughts. Those are crippling thoughts. Dreams are not fulfilled because of those thoughts. Potential remains as potential and never matures to experience because of those thoughts. Innovation remains as a good idea instead of enhancing a process or technology.

Taking a lesson from the little kids, I notice that they operate without fear. I use to believe that they do not understand the consequences of their actions but I quickly change my opinion. Have you ever seen a kid fall, cry, get back up and do it again? They probably thought only of success prior to them falling. After falling, they now have a clear picture of the consequences of failure but still hold on to the idea of what success would feel like. They get back up and do it again.

I remember applying for a job that I did not meet the qualifications for. I knew I didn't meet them but I wanted the job. I was completely shocked that they even called me for an interview. Every qualification question they asked me was met with a "I have never done that before but I am a fast learner." After leaving the interview, I (figuratively) picked myself off the floor and classified this experience as a practice round. I drove back to my office thinking about how I could learn from the interview and how this shook off the cobwebs. I was already looking toward the next interviews from other companies that might come my way. To my surprise, I received an offer letter the same day. What if I didn't "play the game" because I was afraid of "striking out"

God will give us opportunities that may seem too big for us. Take them. Do it regardless of your feelings of success or failure. Possibilities of failure does not ensure failure. Your obedience to God's direction and words would lead you to success because God defines what success is.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Point Of No Return

Mr. Curtis Burrell composed a hymn titled “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired”. I remember growing up hearing James Cleveland sing those powerful words of the chorus:
“I don’t feel no ways tired,
I’ve come too far from where I started from.
Nobody told me that the road would be easy,
I don’t believe He brought me this far to leave me.”
As I examine those words I can see clearly that this is a very desirable state of mind and spirit to have. Spent enough time on your journey to be tired but you’re not. Covered enough ground on your journey to have no aspiration to return to your former ways. Maintained complete trust in God while having full knowledge that the road behind was tough and the road ahead will be just as tough. Even in all that, recognized that God has brought you a very long way and He is not finished with you yet.
The chorus describes a person who has passed the point of no return. What is this so called “point”? This “point” is a decision. A decision that no matter what waits ahead, you will keep pressing. The surrounding conditions, good or bad, have no bearing on your decision. Your decision could no longer be influenced by your feelings or the people around you. You placed a marker on the road of life and made a declaration that going back is no longer an option.

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, 39 or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.

The amazing thing about this “point” is that we have full control of where to place it. If you have not done so already, make your decision and declare that you are now pass the point of no return.