Events in Ferguson & Michael Brown

As we have watched the tragic events unfold in Ferguson Missouri we are reminded once again of the sinful nature of man. Businesses have been destroyed, jobs have been eliminated and a community turned upside down.

No matter your opinion, a young man has lost his life. No parent should have to endure the heart wrenching task of burying a child. As we have seen over and over, parents, especially moms, will stand by their children even if their conduct is questionable.

As a nation we must face the harsh realities of racism. We will never overcome racism until we come together and address the issues head on. The events that unfolded several months ago in Ferguson are interpreted unfortunately through the filter of race. Many blacks see Michael Brown as a victim at the hands of a zealous and racially motivated, out of control cop. Many whites see a police officer defending himself from an aggressive young man who had just robbed a store and was ready and willing to attack a police officer and suffered the consequences.

What is the truth? The truth is that a grand jury reviewed the case over several months, reviewed evidence and heard from dozens of witnesses and concluded that the police officer acted in self defense. Case closed.

The problem is the case is NOT CLOSED for many Americans!

While there are cases that can be pointed to as examples of police brutality this is not one of them. The facts of the case simply do not support an indictment, much less a conviction. But does the law mean anything to angry mobs who would loot and destroy a community? Does the law mean anything to Al Sharpton who would pillage the black community and lead a generation away from truth and standing for biblical principles that as a reverend he is supposed to espouse? Why is it that the first reaction by Michael’s step father is to “Burn the city down?”

I have a message for all that are involved:

To the parents of Michael Brown: We grieve over the loss of your son. While I do not agree with your assessment of the events that unfolded only God can soothe the pain and give you the comfort you need to get through your loss. I challenge you to channel your anger and your belief of injustice to mentor and counsel those in the black community to stand on biblical principle. Far too many black young men are growing up without dads. Far too many black young men are growing up idolizing the rap culture rather than men of character and those things which make America great. You have a unique opportunity and a short window to influence a community for good. Speak out against the looters! Speak out against the senseless loss of human lives at the hands of numerous black on black crime. Speak out against lawlessness! After all, that is what you claim happened in this case.

To the police officers in Ferguson (and other communities): Reach out to the community, to those who “hate” you the most and build a bridge of communication. Understand the appearance! Open the dialogue to all involved. We value your service to communities across America and recognize that every day your life is in harms way.

To Al Shaprton: We are all created in the image of God. Blacks, whites, asians and espanics! None is better than the other! Stop dividing this nation over race. Fight for those you think have been slighted by the law but stop using these families to further YOUR agenda. They don’t need you. No where have I heard you point these grieving families to Christ. No where have I heard you point a suffering community to Christ. Are you a “reverend” or not?

To Christians all across America: Share the gospel! Jesus is the answer! No young person saved by grace and in love with the Saviour looted this week! No teen boy who was involved in his youth group and in love with the Saviour broke windows and burned businesses! We are failing this generation. They need Christ and we are busy pursuing our own dreams. When will we stand in the gap? When will we make a difference? You and I have been put here “for such a time as this!”

To the protesters: Protest but do it lawfully! That’s what America is about. But I have a question for you. When will you protest over the thousands killed by black on black crime? When will you look to your families and say it’s time to step up and lead our families? When will you look to your communities and say you will not burn our businesses, you will not destroy our families with hatred, you will not kill our babies in abortion, you will not enslave us in poverty! It’s time for this generation to step up!

Step up and America great again!

Advertisements

Round Up Sunday 2014!

Every year Woodlawn Baptist Church has a special day on the calendar, Round Up Sunday! It’s the biggest day of the year. It’s a time where every part of the ministry puts a little extra effort into what they are doing.

Over the last 30+ years we have seen amazing days on Round Up Sunday. While it is always our desire to have as many people as we can the PRIORITY is making sure the Holy Spirit is welcome and present in our services.

As we enter Round Up Sunday weekend, I am excited about what God is going to do. I am looking forward with anticipation. I am thrilled to see the dedication and commitment of our workers. I am blessed to be a part of a hard working group of people.

This weekend there will be numerous people sitting in our pews who have never heard the gospel. There will be prodigals in the church. There will be religious people who think they are good but have no relationship with Christ.

Oh how we need to preach and teach with the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. It’s life & death. There is a war going on for the souls of men. Will you pray for us this weekend. We need God desperately! We need HIM to show up in a mighty way. We want to lift up the name of Jesus and watch HIM work!

Except the Lord build the house!

As we continue our studies in Psalms on Wednesday night we have found our way to Psalms 127. What a powerful chapter!

So many today are building their “house” on anything but the principles of the Word of God! We look to wealth, careers and prestige as the builders of our “house” rather than on the ROCK, Jesus Christ!

May I say to the child of God, if you are building on something other than the Lord, you are building on shifting sand. Your career is shifting sand, your money is shifting sand, that prestige and power you are striving for is shifting sand. When the storms of life pound on you and the winds assail you those things will not be able to stand. They will fall away and they will let you down and you will be looking at a “house” that has fallen! What a terrible investment in the wood, hay and stubble that doesn’t matter for eternity!

When you build your life on Christ, You are building on solid ground! Ground that will not shift when the storm comes! A foundation that the winds of compromise can’t blow away! Build your house on Christ! Build it strong!

I believe fathers need to lead their homes! Show their children what it is to serve God with all their hearts. Lead by example, not in word only! Show your children faithfulness! Show them love. Show the what a marriage should be. Show them what a father should be! It’s not too late…if you have been building on sinking sand…remember… LOCATION…LOCATION…LOCATION! It’s time to move to the solid ground!

“Selfies” and the Saviour

The most popular word of 2013 was “Selfie.” This is a craze that has swept the globe. Anyone and everyone who has a camera phone positions themselves for a picture with others or some backdrop of their pleasing. While this passing fad in and of itself is amoral it reminds me of a spiritual principle that we all should be cognizant of.

Often times we think higher of ourselves than we ought! Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” We often forget about the blessings of God until we lose them or a tragic event unfolds in our lives. Let’s be thankful for God’s hand of blessing in the valley but also on the mountain top! He is worthy regardless! Psalms 124 comes to mind amongst other verses. 

Many times we walk into the church house or in our community with a spiritual “Selfie” attitude where Christ is not glorified and all people see is “US!” How tragic! We are to lift up the name of Jesus! It’s the Saviour NOT self that should be evident for all to see! The way we act, the way we carry ourselves, the way we dress, the attitude we have and the words we speak should be encouraging, loving and exemplifying our Saviour, the King of KINGS and Lord of LORDS!

The reality is in the Christian life often times we over-estimate ourselves and under-estimate God!

Spiritual speaking…let’s not put SELF first…but the SAVIOUR!  

Christian Education

As we enter another school year at our academy, it reminds me once again of the importance of Christian education. I appreciate the sacrifice of many Christian school educators and the hard work of ministries across the country. We have a great responsibility of providing a strong academic foundation for our children as well as creating an environment where they can thrive spiritually!

I remember as a 14-year-old boy longing to attend a Christian school. I was weary of being taught anti-biblical principles and existing in an environment that was becoming more and more hostile to the things of God. I remember working a paper route every morning to try to earn the money needed to go Christian school. There were many mornings when I could barely feel my hands or feet due to the cold. But may I say, every moment was worth it! I was privileged to attend a wonderful Christian School, Independent Baptist Academy, and was taught by men and women of God! What a blessing! What memories!

I encourage every Christian parent to strongly consider a Christian education, whether in a Christian school environment or at home. We have a responsibility to educate our children. We are responsible for WHAT they are being taught. I determined a long time ago that my children would not be subjected to the many errors of the public school system. I recognize there are many hard-working public educators, some wonderful Christian people. However, I am not willing to subject my children to the error being taught, the unnecessary exposure to the hostile environment of the public schools student body or the inability for my children to be taught from a biblical world view.

We are training the next generation! Why are we letting the world educate them so that their faith is undermined? Why subject them to wiles of the devil at an early age? Why allow their minds to be clouded by anti-biblical rhetoric? They will face all of these soon enough! Let’s train them up in the way they should go so they KNOW what they believe!

The Fall is ahead of us!

As we close out one of the most exciting summers in my memory I can’t help but thank the Lord for His blessing. We as a church have invested in the youth of WBC! From our annual youth conference, summer fun camp to Vacation Bible School, every one has been a great blessing and events that touched many lives for Christ.

As we finish that last vacation and prepare for the coming school year we are facing a powerful fall line up of events and special speakers! We begin our fall campaign September 14th with Evangelist Wayne McCray. Our fall campaign theme matches our annual theme of “The Journey of Faith” This year we are challenging our congregation to take a step of faith!

On September 21st we celebrate our annual “Round Up” Sunday! Our biggest day of the year will be filled with fun and excitement and great preaching from Evangelist Allen Domelle! The next day we host the East Coast Old Paths Conference and will be hosting Brother Domelle and Pastor Bob Gray from Longview Baptist Temple!

On November 3rd & 4th we welcome Dr. Jeff Fugate from Clays Mills Road Baptist Church as we host the 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Bus Conference. We are exciting about the bus ministry as it has been used of the Lord to reach thousands for Christ!

Pray for us this fall! We need the power and presence of God on every service. We are ALL IN for God and trust you are too!

Until He comes…PREACH THE WORD!

 

Final Night of VBS – A reflection on the week

As I reflect on VBS 2014, I come to the conclusion that God makes no mistakes. We started the week with my dear friend and our VBS speaker, Evangelist Caleb Garraway, having to leave town to take care of his wife who was beginning to have labor pains. While unexpected, we fully supported his decision and made plans to go on without him. Some of said that we had to go to “Plan B” but I reminded them that with God our “Plan B” was and is God’s “Plan A”

I watched dozens of workers organize and rally. Many went out visiting, manned registration table, supervised bathroom breaks, participated in games and “swarmed” the auditorium at the invitation to witness and minister to spiritual needs of a new generation! Well over 100 young people came to Christ! Critics may say…how many really meant it. Well, only them and God knows that answer. But I can say 31 years ago some may have doubted the profession of faith of an 11 year old boy who raised his hand in junior church to be saved…BUT HE meant it and now I pastor the church.

As we close out the summer of 2014, I can’t help but be thankful for our workers and for our GREAT God! They have worked and God always delivered exceedingly and abundantly ABOVE all that we ask or think! What a blessing to lead and disciple hundreds of young people this summer. What an awesome responsibility!

I enter this fall, with anticipation, ready to see God move! Lord, send the rain!