Don’t Bury Your Idea

The culture has conditioned us to take for granted the great gifts God has given to us. There are times when we look at what people are doing to make millions and we can’t help but say to ourselves, “I could do that.” It is true. We could do that – whatever “that” is. The problem is that we didn’t think of it. The other person did. All we do is get on board. It doesn’t matter how stupid it is, if it becomes fashionable, we jump on board. Take Post-Its as an example. It’s just a square of paper used to record a note and has a fourth inch of glue at the top so it sticks wherever you want it. (I’m making it sound more complex than it is). It’s simple and practical. That’s the power of a good idea.

The problem is we underestimate our own ideas. Ideas are powerful; if pursued! According to legend, an apple fell from a tree and thumped Isaac Newton on the head and from that ordinary event came the laws of gravity. Now he could simply have rubbed his head and walked away. But no, there was more to that apple falling from the tree than we usually suppose. As a result of this simple ordinary event, Newton pursued his inquisitiveness and now we understand why what goes up must come down.

In these days when a job as we have traditionally understood it no longer exists, we’re going to have to come up with our own ideas to provide for ourselves.

Jesus tells the story of a man who was given a talent by God. The only thing he could think to do with it was to bury it in the ground. He looked at it and against the larger back drop of life it seemed so insignificant that the only thing he could think to do with it was to bury it.

Unfortunately, that’s what most of us do with our talents and ideas. We think so little of them that we bury them. We’re always asking God for money or something else, but sometimes God’s answer is to give us an idea. Ideas are money! Don’t bury them. Pursue them. Develop them. Implement them. It’s a big world out there. Work your idea. Somebody’s waiting to jump on board.

Be blessed

Share The News

When Levi, who became Matthew the disciple of Jesus Christ, accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, he immediately went home, arranged a luncheon, and invited his friends and co-workers to come to his house and meet Jesus. This wonderful excerpt out of St. Matthew’s life is recorded auto-biographically in the gospel that bears his name.

In Matthew 9:9 and following, we are told that Matthew left his lucrative tax collecting business behind and set his life in a new direction by following Jesus. He was so excited about the new direction his life had taken that he couldn’t keep it to himself. He decided that this change in him was news he needed to share with others. And so, he hosted a luncheon with Jesus as the invited guest and he and all his friends and co-workers kicked it with the Master.

You might call this FRIENDSHIP EVANGELISM. It is simply sharing with those persons who are in your circle of relationships what Jesus has meant in your life. As simplistic as it may sound, it is in fact, the best form of outreach (evangelism). In this age of market driven religion, we’re prone to think that high powered PR campaigns is the slickest, easiest way to fill up the church with new people.

To be sure, there is a place for PR. But the best most effective way of filling up the church is word of mouth; or friendship evangelism. High powered PR campaigns promise more than they can deliver. People who respond to them come looking for the Hollywood production they’ve seen or heard at the church, and when this doesn’t happen, they don’t come back – ever! And when gimmicks get them in, gimmicks is the only way to keep them.

On the other hand, friendship evangelism is simply inviting someone you already know, with whom you’re already comfortable and who is already comfortable with you and bonding them to the larger Body of Christ.

In this high tech age, we need not think that the simple Bible principles that worked in Jesus’ day will not work in our day. They will. All we have to do is take them seriously enough to do them. Oddly enough, all of us have friends, family members, neighbors, or co-workers with whom we conversate every day, but for one reason or another, we don’t share with them the news about what Jesus means to us and what He can mean to them!

Be a true friend. Share Jesus and help your girlfriend or homey get saved! REAL FRIENDS SHARE JESUS!

Palm Sunday

In the life of Christendom everywhere, today is Palm Sunday. Historically this day represents the last week of the Lord’s earthly life. We take too little time to sit down and meditate on the awful experience our Lord went through to secure our salvation. He did not have an easy time. His entrance into Jerusalem on the orginal Palm Sunday was not a vacation. He went into a deeply hostile environment. He was cruelly treated by the religious establishment. He was tried on false charges. He was sentenced to die even though He wasn’t found guilty of any crime.

To truly meditate on what Christ went through for us ought inspire us to a higher level of living. He died that we might live. For the past 40 days, we have been observing Lent. But have we truly taken it seriously? Have we truly sought to draw nearer to Him in our spiritual life? Are we truly committed to His cause in the world.

Our holy days are all too often celebrated as ordinary days. The reality of Palm Sunday ought motivate us to become better disciples. We need to take our relationship with the Lord more seriously.

Palm Sunday is not an announcement that Easter is next Sunday. It is the announcement that “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Let us take this fact seriously and demonstrate our gratitude to God for loving us enough to give us life. Let Palm Sunday inspire us to live for Him.

Be blessed.

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

Christ Is Risen

The Christian faith is one of hope. In a world where evil abounds, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s announcement to the world that ultimately evil does not have the last word. No matter how bad things get in our lives and in the world, God has a way of bringing life out of death; good out of evil; hope and renewal out of what appears to be a hopeless situation.

In these days when we hear about other religions declaring war in the name of their god, our faith reminds us that the greatest battle has already been fought and won. On Calvary, God In Christ conquered the powers of darkness and evil. And on Sunday morning when He got up from the grave, He declared for all time that He and He alone has all power in his hands.

We can be encouraged today. No matter what is going on in our lives, if we surrender ourselves and the situation to God, He can lead us through it and give us the victory over it. No matter how dismal world events are at this time in history, God will bring His will to earth. Our faith encourages us not to be nervous, but trusting; not to be fearful, but believing. Christ is risen from the dead! This gives us the blessed hope that no matter how hopeless things may seem for us, with God all things are possible. Only believe. His resurrection is not just a hope that we can believe in after we die, it is hope that lives in our hearts from day to day and inspires us to keep on living and looking for the best. Be blessed today and always for Christ is risen. Let Him live in your heart and He will give you a hope to hang on to and a song to sing on your way.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

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.

Just A Passenger

I am sure most of us have seen the bumper sticker that says, ”Jesus is my co-pilot”. It suggests that we are actually in the pilot’s seat guiding the plane (our life), and Jesus is in the seat next to us just in case we get tired or something and decide to turn things over to Him.

Unfortunately, this is the attitude about life that a lot of us have. We act as though we are actually in charge and we use our relationship with Jesus only when we get in trouble and really need His help.

In reality, it is closer to the truth to say that we are the passenger and Jesus is the One in the driver’s seat. This perspective requires us to see life as a journey. On a journey, we experience many things. Sometimes the weather changes. Sometimes we stop to eat. Sometimes we stop to rest. Sometimes it’s daylight. Sometimes it’s pitch dark. Nevertheless, through all of these experiences we are still moving towards our destination.

Realizing that we are the passenger and Jesus is the One in the driver’s seat, helps us to recognize that life is a journey because it means that we can relax and enjoy it rather than always frustrating ourselves by trying to control it. Most of the frustration we experience comes from the fact that we feel we don’t have everything under control.

Jesus said, “I am the way. . .” (St. John 14:6). This implies that by following Him, life becomes the enjoyable and fulfilling experience it was designed by God to be. He wants us to enjoy this journey. But this can only happen when we recognize that He’s in the driver’s seat and we’re in the passenger’s seat. Don’t worry about where you’re going. Jesus is the Way. So kick back and enjoy the journey. He knows where He’s going. And He knows where He’s taking you.

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