The Temple of God

The single most important contribution our Judaeo-Christian heritage has made to human existence is the concept of one God who is creator, sustainer, and the ultimate destiny of our lives. In theological language, this is called monotheism. The opposite of this concept is called polytheism, or the belief in many gods.

This concept prevailed until the time of Abraham who introduced the idea that there was only one God to whom we owe our existence and our allegiance.

The Greeks believed in many gods. They had a god for everything and every aspect of human behavior. For instance, Zeus was the king of all the gods. Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and intoxication. We could go on and on with their gods and over what sphere of human life it was believed they had authority.

The Greeks also thought the human body was totally evil and irredeemable. Therefore, they believed that it didn’t matter what you did with it or to it.

It was against the backdrop of this idea that St. Paul wrote the words, “Your body is the temple of God.” (I Corinthians 6:19) He wanted them to see the human body not as some evil thing with uncontrollable urges and impulses, but to see it as a gift from God to be taken care of and treated as a sacred vessel.

Now we need to hear this as Black men. Too many of us neglect our bodies and as a result our health. Stress causes us to drink and smoke too much. Machoism causes us not to have our prostate checked. Bad eating habits and failure to exercise cause us to have too much high blood, diabetes, and heart problems.

We need to capture Paul’s idea that our bodies are sacred and that we need to take care of them as though we’re taking care of God’s Temple.

In so doing, we will live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

Be blessed

A Christian Philosophy Of Life

Whether or not we take the time to identify and put it into language, all of us have a philosophy of life. There is a guiding principle that governs our life; that shapes our attitude and inspires our behavior.

Whatever will be, will be. If it feels good, do it! Every tub has to stand on its own bottom. When you’re dead, you’re done! Eat, drink, and be merry. These are short statements in and of themselves, but they contain a particular philosophy of life. Whether they have taken the time to analyze it or not, some people live their life based on one of these statements.
It is a worthwhile endeavor to take some time and reflect long enough to come to a solid understanding of our own philosophy of life. It may not seem possible, and yet it is true that all Christians do not necessarily have a “Christian” philosophy of life; there are carnal Christians and there are spiritual Christians.
Discovering our philosophy of life is an important exercise because if we are not truly living a Christian way of life, we are denying ourselves the privilege of experiencing the fulfillment of the promises of God.

A Christian philosophy of life is intrinsically positive in its outlook. Paul said in Philippians 4:13; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This statement does not simply have reference to our ability to achieve and accomplish. It also has reference to our ability to endure the hard and difficult experiences of life.
When Christ is the source of our strength, He empowers us to endure and to achieve. This is the difference between the statements above and this gem from the scriptures. The statements above are self-centered; and as such, they are based on a dim view of life. Paul’s philosophy of life encapsulated in these words is Christ centered and removes from us all hindrances and barriers. We have a great Christ who empowers us to be more than conquerors. Base your life on the truth and experience of these words and see what a difference it will make in your outlook, attitude, and behavior.

Be Blessed.

What Does God Really Want From Us?

I am sure that all of us want to please God. There are some people who actually think they do. They keep a running score of their good works and no matter how often you tell them that salvation is a matter of grace, they still think that their good works somehow cuts them some slack with God. There is no question but that we ought strive to do good works. A Christ-centered life ought be reflected through good moral deeds. But it must be understood that we do not do good works to be saved or to win some brownie points with God. We do good works because God lives in us and motivates our behavior.

Some people think tithing (giving 10% of one’s income) is what God wants. They boast that they have tithed all their life. And, sad to say, they do not even recognize that they’re really admitting that they haven’t grown very much spiritually. Tithing is where God wants us to start giving. It is never where He intended us to stop giving.

The problem of pleasing God has been an issue for spiritually minded people ever since we have existed. Men gave of their first fruits, their flocks, and their money. Some even went so far as to engage in the sadistic practice of offering their own children to please God.

What does it take to please God? This is the question a young man asked Jesus as He left the scene of a service one day. And Jesus’ reply was: “Love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, soul, might and strength. . .”(Matthew 22:37). In other words, God won’t be pleased until He has 100% of you. God wants all of you; not a percentage. You can only be blessed and have peace and sweet rest as you yield Him your body and soul.

Be blessed!

A Father’s Approval

I recently participated in a conference for men sponsored by the US Department of Education. The focus of the conference was on discovering ways to involve men in the education of their children.  Many of the men expressed that they had never attended their child’s school, never assisted them with their homework, never attended a parent-teacher conference.

A number of reasons were offered to explain why they had not been involved. They didn’t finish school themselves and felt embarrassed that they couldn’t assist their child with their school work.  They had been imprisoned and were not permitted to come on school grounds.  They were behind in their child support and were afraid they might be arrested…  and so on.

In my statement to them, however, I suggested that men do not realize just how important they are in the lives of their children.  They don’t have to be able to assist their child with their homework.  They only need to insist that their child does it.  They don’t have to go to the school; it would be great if they did, but they can check their child’s report card.  They can congratulate their child on getting good grades, doing a great job at something, or just simply saying to them, “I love you and I’m proud of you.”

A little encouragement from a father goes a long way. It would be well and wonderful if all fathers had a close personal relationship with their children, but the reality is they don’t.  Many do, and we congratulate them, but the down side is that many don’t.

What you need to know Dad is that it takes so little to make such a big difference.

Just after Jesus was baptized, the Bible reports that God spoke and said, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased”  (St. Matthew 3:17).  A father’s approval means everything!  It makes a son feel more confident.  It makes a daughter feel good about herself.

Just your approval Dad fills a need that cannot be measured or quantified.  It’s not a lot, but it means everything!

Be blessed

Who Speaks For Your House?

In Joshua 24:15, there are recorded these familiar words, “As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.”
Somebody speaks for every household.  Somebody establishes the values of every household.  Somebody decides what will and will not be done in every household.  Somebody is the leader and the recognized authority in every household.
In the words above, Joshua is clear about who that person is in his household.  He says unequivocally, “as for me and my house. . .”  In these days when we see families failing all around us, it is so necessary that we have strong Christ-centered men and women leading the household.  Nowhere is leadership more important than in our households.
The values our children learn are first learned at home, and unfortunately, we don’t teach sound Christian values at home as once we did.
To be the leader of your household you must model out your faith and not just talk about it.  Joshua said, “as for me. . .” He makes sure that he is committed first before requiring a commitment of his household.  More than being told what to do, we need to be shown what to do.  A lesson is better caught than taught.
It is easier to get people to take you more seriously when they see you living what you’re requiring of them.
Live a godly lifestyle before your household and when you speak they will listen.
 
Be Blessed

The Men Who Made Us The Men We Are

The month of June is MEN’S MONTH at GCBC. We focus on men being involved in the ministry and the necessity of strengthening our relationship with God and our families. For some reason, there is a belief among some that “church ain’t a man’s thang”. This is a lie of the devil. From the beginning God entrusted man with His Word. Whatever has happened to convince men that church is not for them, our job is to destroy that lie, teach the truth, and restore men to their rightful place in God.
We thank the men who are involved in the ministry of GCBC. We are fortunate to have men involved in almost all the ministries of our church. And for those who are not involved, you are encouraged to serve in a ministry. We need more people to do all God has for us to do. So we celebrate you and your contribution.
We also celebrate the men in our background who made us the men we are. It might have been your father, a grandfather, an uncle or just a positive role model who impressed you, or took interest in you. In any case, none of us got to be who we are on our own. We’re taking this time to reflect on those powerful male influences in our background and the contribution they made in helping to make us the men we are.
Often we become so concerned about how challenging our lives are, we fail to think about what a hard time they had. And yet, they took time to direct us, to pour into us so we would have a positive and constructive life.
We thank God for them. If they’re still living, tell them thanks and share with them what they mean to you. Bring them to church and introduce them to us. If they have passed away, thank God for their life & lasting contribution.
Most of all, be the man you can be in Christ. And thank God for those men on whose shoulders we stand.
Be Blessed

Senior Emphasis

Our Senior Emphasis Day is a vital part of the ministry of GCBC.  It is a time we set apart to celebrate life!  Our seniors are role models of successful living, repositories of wisdom, and counselors who can help us avoid some of the pitfalls of this tedious and dangerous journey if we will listen.
Our culture is not senior friendly.  Our culture celebrates youth and riches.  Our culture sees and treats seniors as disposable people who can no longer contribute to society.
God honors older people.  Long life is a gift from God.  Seniors ought be more spiritual than the rest of us because they have had longer to recognize that God is truly in control of everything.
Just because a person has reached a certain age does not mean that they have ceased to be active and vital.
We’re blessed at GCBC to have seniors who contribute to the ministry and who makes our lives rich and meaningful.
May God grant all of us long life and strong faith!
Be Blessed

There is Only One Way to Fail

Life is full of casualties, and contrary to much public conversation, not all of them are the result of having enemies. In most cases, I believe this whole notion that we have “all” these enemies is somewhat exaggerated. There may be a person here or there who, for whatever reason, does not like us and may wish us ill will. But in the main, I don’t believe that everybody is our enemy. In the final analysis, I think that no matter what a person feels or thinks about us, if there is something we really want to accomplish, they can’t stop us.
Unfortunately, I believe that for too many people, we are our own worst enemy. For some reason there is something within our spirit that causes us to do things that undermine our own development and progress. One of the greatest enemies of self fulfillment is fear. Fear has caused more people to become a casualty in life than any other enemy we can name.
Fear creates the image in our head that if we try to fulfill some vision for our life we’re going to fail. Fear makes us doubt our abilities. Fear paralyzes us into inactivity. Fear makes us feel overwhelmed. Fear makes us feel burdened and depressed. Fear is the only cause of failure in life.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. He says that a master gave five talents to one person, two to another, and one to another. Those to whom He gave the one buried his talent, earned no reward. He didn’t even try. He used as his excuse for not trying, “I was afraid. . .” (St. Matthew 25:25)
There is only one way to fail in life, and that is by not trying! Trying and not accomplishing what you set out to accomplish is not failure. As Dr. Benjamin Mays put it, “Not accomplishing our goal is not failure. Having no goal to accomplish is failure.” The hymn writer put it this way, “If when you try and fail in your trying; hands sore and scarred from the work you’ve begun. Pick up your cross and run swiftly to meet Him. He’ll understand and say well done.” Just trying earns God’s well done.
There’s only one way to fail, and that’s by not trying! Get off the pity pot. Get up and get back in the fight! TRY!!!!!!!
Be blessed.

Managing God’s Way

One of the reasons we get ourselves into financial and relationship crisis is that we do not manage these aspects of our lives according to God’s Word. Unfortunately, nobody sits us down at any point in our life and says, “This is what God wants you to do with your money; in this kind of relationship, etc.” We are basically indoctrinated to manage our lives based on the values of the world. And the values of the world are in direct contradiction to the values of the Kingdom of God.
As Christ-centered people, however, we are expected to manage our lives God’s way if we expect to reap the benefits of being His disciples. It all begins with a way of thinking. The first mental attitude is that we must acknowledge that God is owner of everything. This is a different way of thinking because the world indoctrinates us to think that we are owners.
The Kingdom of God’s value system says God is owner of everything and He entrusts certain things to us. Our responsibility then is to be a good steward or manager of what God entrusts to us. To know how to manage our lives for God, we need to study His Word. The more we know about His Word, the more we are able to understand His will. Knowing His will helps us to understand how He wants us to manage our lives so they reflect His glory.
In Luke 16:2, Jesus tells a parable in which a steward is called into accountability “. . . give an account of your stewardship. . .”. This is an experience we will all encounter. Whatever God entrusts to us, He is going to hold us accountable for how we lived and used it. God wants us to manage our lives His way.
Be blessed