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.