Friday, December 31, 2010

The Aha Moment

An Aha moment is a moment of clarity when an individual realizes the one thing that really matters in any given situation. It is an instant when an answer to a problem is revealed.

Students who have Aha moments transcend from being average to excellent in their academic performance. Athletes who have Aha moments go from being losers to winners on the field through preparation, practice, and hard work. Children have Aha moments when they mature and realize the advice and good counsel that they received from their parents really does make sense as they experience life. In the corporate environment, workers or professionals who have Aha moments go from mediocrity to very good in their work performance.

Even in regards to our relationship with God, there is an Aha moment: The Apostle Paul had an Aha moment on the road to Damascus when a light from heaven shined on him, he fell off his donkey, lost temporary vision and Jesus spoke to him (John 9:3). After this, Paul went from persecuting the Saints to preaching the Gospel of Christ. God would later use him to minister to the gentiles (non Jews) and to write a great portion of the New Testament scripture through his Epistles.

The woman at the well had an Aha moment when she came to know that the person who asked her for a drink was in fact – Jesus Christ (John 4:7). The Bible says she dropped her water pot and evangelized the whole town of Samaria. And who can forget the prodigal son that Jesus spoke of in his parable which talks of a young man who requests his inheritance from his father and goes off to a far country and wasted it on partying and riotous living.

But after all his money is gone and his friends have left, he went to work for a man who owned a pig farm. It was there that he found himself eating the same food (husks) that the pigs ate because no man gave to him. In the midst of being in the pig slop, he had an Aha moment and decided to return to his father’s house with a repentant heart (Luke 15:11).

The ultimate Aha moment is when we recognize that without Christ, we are nothing and that there is no way we can make it without the Lord in our lives. The Aha moment helps us realize that Jesus Christ was right as he said “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul or what will a man give in exchange for his soul.” (Mark 8:36)

Some of us have different levels of Aha in our lives like when we come to know for ourselves that with God nothing shall be impossible, or that we really can do all things through Christ that strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) or even the personal revelation that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us (Romans 8:37). Finally, I am reminded of the songwriter who said “Life now is sweet and my joy is complete for I’m saved, saved, saved." Thank God for the Aha moment.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Focused Father

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” ESV

As parents and as fathers in particular, we must strive to create a wholesome environment for our children by focusing on their physical, intellectual, and spiritual needs. In addition, as we encounter stressful situations in our lives and as we deal with our children in regards to their own behavior, fathers must be careful not to go overboard in how we respond to, handle, and discipline our children.

The following is a list of things that fathers should focus on in training children. It includes ten things that provoke our children to anger and ten things that fathers can do to nurture their children.

Ten Things that provoke our children to anger
1. Abandoning your children and removing yourself from their lives
2. Failure to provide for your children financially
3. Being abusive and overly aggressive in disciplinary measures
4. Not providing any discipline at all
5. Putting work, church, and various social functions before your children
6. Being overly negative and never offering encouragement
7. Being inconsistent in your method of punishment
8. Over promising and not be able to fulfill commitments
9. Failure to support them in their extra-curricula activities and goals
10. By favoring one child over the other

Ten Things that fathers can do to nurture their children
1. Be there for them when they are born and throughout their lives
2. Love their mothers (even if you are not married or no longer involved be respectful toward the woman who brought your child into the world)
3. Provide for them financially (I Timothy 5:8)
4. Train them in the Word of God (Proverbs 22:5)
5. Spank them in Love when they misbehave (Proverbs 13:24)
6. Support them in their extra-curricula endeavors
7. Be affectionate toward them
8. Leave an inheritance for them (Proverbs 13:22)
9. Give them good advice and offer positive encouragement
10. Put God first in your life and live for Christ

The Psalmist was right who said “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.” (Psalms 127:4)

In conclusion, a father’s true legacy rests not simply in his personal achievement, or in the amount of property he has accumulated for himself. The true measure of a good father rests in his ability to focus on the character of his children and his overall desire and ability to take care of his family.

Failing Father Figures

Congratulations to all the good dads who make incredible sacrifices for their children and refute the negative stereotype of men not providing for their sons and daughters. The fact is, one doesn’t have to work hard to be a bad father. Failing father figures are not a new phenomenon. Being a nice guy, good business man, or even someone of great stature and importance does not make a man with children -a good dad. Yet and still fathers must be careful not to do things that illicit bitterness, hatred, rejection and ultimately anger from their children.

There are numerous examples in the Bible where fathers fell short of proper leadership of their children. Consider the case of the Prophet Eli who in his old age failed to address or correct his sons for their evil actions in regards to how they lay with the women who came to the tabernacle for worship. (Judges 2:22). A good father holds his children accountable for their behavior and deals with them accordingly.

We can not overlook the poor example of fatherhood exhibited by King David when one of his sons (Amnon) raped his daughter (Tamar). And while the scripture says David was angry, he nevertheless failed to act upon this horrible action by Amnon his son which would lead to his other son Absolon murdering Amnon. (2 Samuel 13: 14-20). Sometimes as dads, it is our lack of action that is our greatest sin.

And while we celebrate Joseph for receiving a coat of many colors from his father- Israel (Genesis 37:1-28), we are also introduced to Israel’s act of extreme respect of persons among his children by showing favoritism to one child over eleven others- ten older brothers and one sister. Israel’s favoritism evoked bitterness, envy and strife among his children toward Joseph. And as fathers we must have integrity and be just, and fair in how we deal with all of our children.

Finally, there is the interesting case of Onan (son of Judah) who based on Jewish custom had to marry the widow (Tamar) of his deceased brother (Er) and raise up children to carry his brother’s name. However during sexual intimacy, he intentionally spilled his seed on the ground. (Genesis 38:9) Onan wanted the pleasure of sex without the responsibility of fatherhood.

God was so displeased with Onan that He took his life. Many brothers today have the same mentality as Onan. Even still, God is greatly displeased when fathers fail to maintain accountability and responsibility for their children.

Indeed the impact of fatherlessness is the United States is staggering. And the statistics don't lie. 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census)

Moreover, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. And 70% of juveniles in state-operated correctional institutions come from homes void of fathers based on a report released by the U.S. Justice Department.  Indeed many of the social ills of of our community have been caused by the lack of fathers in our homes. Brothers need to "Man Up" and take responsibility for their children.

In conclusion, as men and as fathers, one has to recognize that if you are going to let it flow, you must be prepared to help him or her grow. And if you’re going to seed it; you better be prepared to feed it. If you are going to lay around then stay around. Fathers must be accessible, available, active, financially responsible and engaged in the life of their children. And Mad props to the dads who go the extra mile because time is out for Failing Father Figures.

The Father Factor

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” ESV

There should be no question about the impact of fathers in the life of children. Children with fathers who are involved in their lives do far better in every measurable category than children where the father is not active. Children need their father.

A study by the Minnesota Fathers and Family Network suggest that young children with involved fathers display enhanced social skills including more self-control, less compulsive behavior, higher self esteem, more generosity and greater empathy. In addition, active father involvement also increases cognitive capacities for young children to include higher verbal skills, and higher scores on assessments of cognitive competence.

On the flip side, fatherhood also benefits men. An extended sense of accomplishment through the achievement of one’s children, increased friendship with your children through various activities, and a greater sense of purpose through the legacy of one’s offspring are some of the ways that men benefit from being active fathers.

The lack of a father in the home is perhaps the single most important factor for many of the social problems affecting our communities today. The statistics don’t lie. The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families.1

Not only that, but “young men who grow up in homes without fathers are twice as likely to end up in jail as those who come from traditional two-parent families...those boys whose fathers were absent from the household had double the odds of being incarcerated -- even when other factors such as race, income, parent education and urban residence were held constant.”2

Even in regards to educational performance and achievement, the role of the father cannot be overlooked when one considers that 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.3 Moreover, children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. And almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes.4

Ultimately, we should do more in our communities to promote, and maintain marriage. And fathers (even those who do not live with their children) must be accountable, active, available and financially responsible. In conclusion, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our mothers as the backbone and foundation of our families. Nevertheless, we must be cautious not to underestimate, devalue or overlook the incredible impact of - The Father Factor.
[1] A. Anne Hill, June O'Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993
[2] Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University cited in "Father Absence and Youth Incarceration." Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397

[3] National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.) One Hill, June O'Neill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States, CUNY, Baruch College. 1993

[4] One-Parent Families and Their Children, Charles F. Kettering Foundation, 1990).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That Girl: The Virtuous Woman

Proverbs 31:10-12 “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
Everybody's looking for That Girl. Has anybody seen a virtuous woman? In today's society, many men complain that there are not enough good women available and that the ones who are available are only interested in money and material things. Hence, to many brothers, the virtuous woman is an illusion.

In fact-surprisingly enough -the most significant issue in the lives of many guys older than 30 is not challenges with their jobs, careers or even finances. It is not even problems with reaching their goals, obtaining their dreams or achieving their destiny in life. The biggest obstacles facing most men today involves bad decisions they have made regarding women.

These challenges range in severity and depth and involve a variety issues which include poor relationships with the mother of their children, custody battles, child support issues, alimony payments, recovery from divorce, broken heart, lack of communication, lack of trust, inability to be faithful in a relationship/marriage, lack of respect, lack of sex in marriage, lack of support, inability to be honest and open, failure of committment, and the list goes on to include other similar topics.

These items can altar the course of one’s life. Therefore it is important that you choose the right woman. So finding a virtuous woman is more than a casual adventure. The reason that many men make bad decisions when it comes to women is because they choose solely based on looks, how a females dresses, and other superficial qualities.

Fact is, women all ready look good. But with all of the enhancements available to embellish their looks, one must be sure you know what you are getting. Ladies today can uses everything from face lifts, to tummy tucks, breast implants, butt implants, weaves, wigs, make up, eye lashes, fake nails, and high heal shoes to get your attention. And that’s just to half of it. These things can cause a brother to look pass a woman’s true character and focus only on the exterior if one is not careful.

Choosing a woman simply based on looks without considering other notable traits can be a costly decision. One should know how she thinks, how she treats people and what kind of character she possesses. And try to observe how she acts around others including her family. In general, one should also know weather the young lady is honest, nice, and trust worthy. (By the way, make sure you also possess these qualities)

In conclusion, one must be patient; be wise; be smart and make the right choice to find a virtuous woman. Selecting a woman as your wife without knowing these things is like buying a car without taking a test drive, or buying a house without doing a walk through, or like buying a watch because its shinny. Therefore, one should never make rash decisions about selecting a wife because if you do - in the end, you are likely to have - regrets.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Finding A Wife

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”  Proverbs 18:22
Good Counsel
 Allow me to offer  some advice to those men contemplating marriage. As it relates to finding a wife, some men find temporary companionship. Others find casual sex. Subsequently, we also find unexpected fatherhood and the responsibilities that it brings. With the exception of accepting Jesus Christ as one’s savior, finding a wife is the most important decision in a man’s life. And there is a specific process to find the right woman. 

Finders Keepers

To start, the man who is looking for a wife must initially find himself. He must find himself mature, morally disciplined, trustworthy, and financially stable. With these things in tact, he is ready to begin.  First, it is interesting that the scripture uses the word “find” which means to locate, attain or obtain by search or effort. Find also means to ascertain by study or calculation. Hence, finding a wife involves a process by which one must look and investigate. In fact, the purpose for man’s search to find a wife goes back to the second chapter of Genesis when God observes that man needs a help mate. From that point onward the search began.

The scripture goes on to say in Genesis 2:21-22 “that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman and brought her unto the man.” Hence, our ultimate goal as men is to locate our missing rib- your future wife. Therefore, every man must have a criteria for the specific woman for which he seeks. Besides the obvious things like attraction which consist of her looks, her build, and the way she carries herself, there are a number of other qualities to consider.

Musical artists bring a unique perspective to the topic of love. Tina Turner asks the question in a song- “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The Beatles on the other hand assert that “All you need is love.” Actually love is a key ingredient. In fact, the Bible says in Ephesians 5:22 “that husbands should love their wives even as Christ love the church and gave himself for her.” Nevertheless, when looking for a wife, love is not the only thing that one should consider.

Attributes such as attitude, friendliness, personality, trustworthiness, honesty, character, intelligence and integrity are extremely important. In addition, religion (Is she a Christian and does she believe the way I do), culture and health status are also significant items to consider. Attitudes toward having children, cooking, and managing a home should also be discussed.

Um Um Good
Secondly, notice that the passage says that he finds a “good thing.” The right woman brings a lot of good to the man she marries. She’s a partner, co-pilot, teammate and builder together with her husband. I am reminded how my life improved for the better when I married my wife Hope. I ate better. I dressed better; I slept better. I was simply better off as a result of adding her to my life. The Bible validates this in Proverbs 31:12 which says “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Allow me to briefly address three areas of good that a wife should bring.

The woman you marry needs to be good To you. She should be an encouragement, a helper and an overall blessing in your life. The impact should be immediate and long lasting. Not only that, but the woman you marry needs to be good For you. She should complement you and enhance your destiny. Truth be told, you should be better off as a result of adding her to your life. In fact, she should upgrade your life.

Last but not least, this person (your rib) should be good With you. Together, the two of you should make a great combination. And you should also enhance and improve her life as well. In fact, the good that a wife brings to her husband goes back to the creation of man as reflected in Genesis 2:18 as the scripture says, “. . . It is not good that man should be alone. I will be make him an help meet for him.” Hence the main purpose of one’s search is not just for a pretty face, but for someone who is going to bring good to the man in his search.

Highly Favored
The scripture also says that God will grant favor to the man who finds a wife. So beyond the goodness that comes with having a wife, God will render increased blessings to a man as a result of the union of marriage. No wander the Word of God says, “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.” God has his mind set on delivering favor to the married man. In conclusion, one should not enter into a marriage lightly. Only after personal examination and diligent searching for the perspective wife, should a man move forward. This will enable one to see with clarity. 

Yes, beneath the pretty clothes and the make up, beneath the ear rings, the eye lash, and lipstick, under the beautiful eyes, soft skin, and wavy hair, far beyond the alluring appearance of her breast, hips, and buttocks, is something more meaningful than great career, will take you further than a fancy car, bring more comfort than a luxury home, and add more value than great riches; Incidentally, the right woman can help you achieve all of these things. If you are indeed blessed to make a wise decision not altered by the lust of your loins, you will have received the greatest earthly gift God gave to man: A wife

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Father Forgive Them

As we reflect upon the passion of Christ and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, I am reminded of the gracious act of Jesus in forgiving his enemies while on the cross. In doing so- Jesus demonstrated not only grace but great power.

And after having been betrayed, denied, lied upon, beaten, scourged, spat upon, mocked, blasphemed and made to carry a rugged cross, he was then nailed to a cross to die between two thieves. And while they parted his raiment and cast lost, we see the power of forgiveness when Jesus uttered these words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do . . .” (Luke 23:34)

It is important to know that the forgiveness of Christ extended beyond the soldiers at the cross, beyond Pontius Pilate, beyond his disciples who left him, and beyond the multitude who shouted crucify him. It extends to you and me.
Jesus could have had a legion of angels to rescue him but he choose to be a sacrificial lamb.

No longer could His hands minister to the sick, for they were nailed to a tree. No longer could His feet walk to preach the gospel, for they were fastened to the wood. No longer could He instruct His disciples, for they had forsaken Him and fled. But one thing He could do, and did — He prays!

Five Reasons Jesus Forgave his enemies
Here are five reasons why Jesus forgave his enemies. First, Jesus taught forgiveness: He was carrying out what he taught when he outlined in the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:11 –“Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Second, Jesus was merciful beyond measure. This is confirmed in Matthew 9:13 which says “but go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Third, Jesus was the example in the area of forgiveness: While Jesus did not need forgiveness because he never sinned. Nevertheless Jesus is still our example. Matthew 6:14 says “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you.”

Fourth, Jesus has power to forgive sins. Matthew 9:6 “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”

Finally, the fifth reason Jesus forgave them was because it was a forgivable sin: Despite this horrific act, it was a forgivable sin. Jesus said in Mark 3:28 “Verily I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith so ever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”

Therefore, because our Lord is gracious in mercy, he continues to forgive us of our sins. But we must ask for his forgiveness as I John 1:9 states “ if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. No matter how bad we fall; God will forgive us. Even as David said in Psalms 51, “create in me a clean heart oh Lord and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence and take not your holy spirit from me.”

A Forgiving Heart
Not only must we seek forgiveness, but we must forgive others. Some situations are very difficult to forgive: Personal hurts such as brutality, betrayal, being lied on, and criminal acts. But we need a heart that forgives. The first step is to acknowledge the hurt. The second step is to surrender the will to get even. And finally, we must forgive as the third step in the process.

Indeed we need a heart that forgives. I’m not suggesting that you should become a floor mat and allow people to walk all over you. Neither am I recommending that there should not be consequences to the wrongdoing. In fact the words of the Bible are true in Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived God is not mocked whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.”

Nevertheless, we ought to be like Jesus and exercise forgiveness. Very often in life after a terrible harm has been done, we can not move on with our lives because we will not forgive. Sometimes we hold onto the bitterness of un forgiveness like it’s a member of our family. But don’t allow the thing that hurt you to have a double negative on your life. The first negative was the hurt you experienced from the wrong. The second negative is the bitterness and malice you allowed to develop as a result of un forgiveness

Role Models of Forgiveness
So as I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I am reminded of the countless examples in the scripture that demonstrate forgiveness: Esau forgave Jacob and embraced him despite being robbed of his birthright (Genesis 33). Consider how Joseph forgave his brothers and eventually saved their lives, despite being robbed of his coat of many colors, thrown in a pit and sold into slavery and later imprisoned (Genesis 45, 50).

Another shining example of forgiveness is seen in how Moses forgave Miriam and Aaron after Miriam complained about Moses and criticized his leadership. Even after God gave Miriam leprosy because of her acts, Moses not only forgave her but pleaded to God to heal her of her leprosy (Numbers 12). Let’s not forget how David forgave King Saul after Saul attempted three times to kill David. David had opportunities to kill Saul but instead spared his life. David would later honor Saul in his death (I Samuel 24-26, II Samuel 1)

Even in the church among fellow Christians, we must show forgiveness. The same way the disciples forgave Saul of Tarsus who formerly persecuted the Saints of God and was active in the stoning of Stephen. But Barnabus brought him unto the disciples who accepted him. And of course the ultimate act of forgiveness was displayed in Christ death on the Cross. There is power in forgiveness.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Bring Them To Jesus

Mark 10: 13-16 “And they brought young children to him that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them and blessed them.”

A special field trip
Many years ago, a group of Youth Leaders sponsored a unique field trip: No it wasn’t a trip to an amusement park; It was not a trip to a sporting or entertainment event. Neither was it a trip to the museum. These Youth Leaders sponsored a field trip to see Jesus.

The trip was a proactive approach to introducing these children to Jesus Christ. As parents, we should not wait until our children are in trouble to bring them to church. Don’t even wait until they are sick to bring them to church. Bring them now. Start when they are young and bring them often.

Shout Outs
In fact, let me pause to give a shout out to parents, god- parents, family members, neighbors and friends who bring children to church. God bless you. And while I’m at it, allow me to also give a shout out to Youth Leaders like Youth Pastors, Sunday School Teachers, Sunshine Band workers, Purity Class Instructors, Youth Bible Study teachers, Choir Directors, Junior Usher Board Leaders and various other volunteers who minister to children. God bless you.

Where is our urgency?
But it is amazing the number of children that are not being brought to church these days. They are being brought to a number of different places: The mall, The movies, sporting events, parties and various extra curricula activities. But we need to make a point to see that our Young people are brought to church; brought to see Jesus.

It seems that to a great extent, many parents (even Christian parents) have lost the urgency to bring their children to church. And many churches have lost the vision to reach children. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way that he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Psalms 127:3 says “Lo children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit o the womb is his reward.” We should re-kindle the flame of bringing our young people to see Jesus.

For the church, children are easiest population to reach. Their opinions have not yet formed. They are very impressionable. And they usually have adults following behind them. In terms of church growth, children are referred to as low hanging fruit. But in order to reach them, one must bring them.

All they wanted was a touch from the Lord
The text says that they brought young children to him (Jesus) that he should touch them. It’s a wonderful thing to desire the Lord’s touch. They wanted the Master’s touch. No doubt that they heard about the power of the Lord’s touch. Maybe they heard about the woman with the issue of blood who simply touched the hem of his garment and was totally healed. (Matthew 9:20). Or perhaps they heard about his sermon on the plain where the whole multitude sought to touch him (Luke 6:19). It is also possible that they heard of the miracles at Gennasaret which says that “as many as were touched by him were made whole” (Mark 6:53). We should all desire the Lord’s touch. Touch me again Lord

A Disciple mentality towards Youth
Notice that the disciples incorrectly rebuked the children and Jesus was much displeased. Even in today’s church, there are certain folks with this “disciple” mentality who hinder the spiritual growth of youth.

The following is a listing of five reasons the Disciples incorrectly rebuked them that brought children: 1) The disciples did not have the vision of Jesus. 2) The disciples did not have a heart for youth. 3) The disciples did not see children as a priority. 4) The disciples had their own agenda. 5) The disciples were overly religious and traditional. Now we know that the disciples would eventually get it together and go on to change the world. But on this occasion, they missed the mark.

Jesus had a Youth Ministry
Perhaps the disciples forgot about Christ’s Youth Ministry. Remember how he used the lunch of a little boy who had 2 fish and five loaves of bread to feed more than five thousand. And let’s not forget how he healed the daughter of Jairus. And who can forget his advice to the rich young ruler. And in this passage, we see his response toward children as he took them in his arms and blessed them.

My Testimony
I am reminded of my own experience as a child growing up in Section 8 apartment complex, living in a poverty stricken neighborhood on the South side in Fort Worth, Texas. At the time, my mother did not attend church very often. And it seemed that nobody expected the young men in my neighborhood to amount to much. But the Love Sanctuary Church of God in Christ under the leadership of the late Pastor E.L. Battles, evangelized my community when I was about ten years old.

They knocked on my door and promised my mother that they would pick us up, take us to Sunday School, feed us breakfast, and bring us home every Sunday. I grew up in that church. To this day I am eternally grateful for their efforts. I close with the following poem:

Let them play and have their fun
They will laugh jump and run
The preached Word, they want some
So If you bring them-they will come.

If you teach them they will learn
God’s Word and the Bible’s story
And how we must give Him the glory

Bring them by bus, van or car.
those who are near and those who are far
when the Sun is shinning, or raining and muddy
to Sunday School and Bible Study

By all means we must teach them
But our first goal is to reach them
So as our young people make their search
Make the sacrifice and bring them to church

Bring Them to Jesus

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Please Pass The Salt

Matthew 5:13 ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted; it is thence forth good for nothing but to be cast down and trodden under foot of men.

It is interesting that Jesus compares Christians to Salt. Christ could have referred to us as Gold or Silver or any other precious stone. But he chose Salt. This is because of the impact that salt has on its surroundings. Salt has more than 14,000 known uses. Everyone uses salt, directly and indirectly. Someone once said that "Salt is what makes things taste bad when it isn't in them.

From a Historical Perspective, the early Greeks placed great value on salt. In fact the saying “Not Worth his Salt” was taken from the Greeks as they used to trade slaves for salt. The Romans would often pay their soldiers with salt. They referred to the process as salarium. Incidentally, this is the forerunner of the English word for salary. Not to be outdone, the Egyptians used salt in the preparation of Mummies.

Salt has also had a major role in the history of the Bible. In Leviticus 2:13 God commanded that the meat offering "shall be season with salt and with all the offerings unto God that salt shall be offered." In Genesis 19: 26 Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt when she turned back to look at Sodom. And in 2 Kings 2:20 Elisha healed the waters of Jericho to conquer the bareness of the land by using salt. And of course there is Jesus who said "Salt is good." Luke 14:34

7 Ways that Christians are Like Salt

1. Salt has a healing component to it. Epson Salt is used to cure tired and sore feet. In warm water, salt can relieve sore and bruised gums. Just as we are healed through the stripes of Jesus Christ, as Christians -God gives us power to heal through the spoken word and through the laying on of hands (John 14:12).

2. Salt is a Preservative. It preserves its environment and keeps things from going rotten. As Christians, we must allow God to use us to prevent rottenness in our communities by lifting up the name of Jesus Christ (John 12:32).

3. Salt is a De-Icer. We use Rock Salt to melt snow and Ice off our roads. As Christians God has called us through his grace and mercy to bring love, peace and joy to a cold and Icy world. Christ said “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if you have love one for another.” (John 13:35)

4. Salt is used to season or transform food. It adds flavor. We often delay the start of our dinner for the addition of Salt. Therefore, Born Again believers must bring flavor and seek to transform their environment through actions, and words (Romans 12:1-2).

5. Salt is an odor eater. It removes the smell of odor from onion hands, and helps prevent odors in our shoes. We need to be a sweet smelling savor for our Lord. (Ephesians 5:2) In fact, God wants his people to be an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice that is well pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:18)

6. Salt is a Cleansing Agent. It cleans grease spots on rugs; whitens whites and brightens colors. As the blood of Jesus cleanses our souls, we must seek to have a cleansing affect on the world. And “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

7. Salt is a Distinguisher of Flames. As Christians we have the power through the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of the devil (Ephesians 6:16).

In conclusion, I am compelled to ask the question, How Salty are You? One final observation: Salt must be spread or sprinkled. So as followers of Jesus, we must employ ourselves as salt shakers. Therefore, the next time you sit down for dinner and prepare to season your food, remember the impact that you should have on your community, and for Heaven's sake, Please: pass the salt.