Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Through The Roof

Mark 2:3-4  “Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.” 

In this Bible verse, four friends heard that Jesus was ministering in a house in Capernaum so they decided to take their paralyzed friend to see Jesus.  But they obviously arrived a little too late because the place was packed.  So when they could not get in through the door and when they could not get in though the window and seeing that all of the entryways were crowded they went to their last resort:  They went in through the roof.

If you find yourself facing closed doors or barriers to your breakthrough, and if you feel that you have been crowded out of opportunities for your success, allow me to encourage you to go “Through the Roof.”  Usually the phrase through the roof represents a significant increase or rise in a person, place or thing.  For example we may say, “Man when mom comes home and sees how messy this house is she is going to go through the roof.” Or “have you seen his grades this year, they are through the roof.”  Or  “nine years ago, gas prices were through the roof.”

Hence for the sake of this blog, Through the roof suggest an out of the box worship; a crazy praise; and an unyielding form of determination needed to obtain a breakthrough blessing from God.  Go through the roof in your worship and worship the Lord in a spirit of truth and holiness.  God through the roof in your praise and bless the name of the Lord regardless of the circumstance.  Go through the roof in your service to God and “be steadfast unmovable always abounding in the work of Lord for as much as you know your labor is not in vain in the Lord (I Corinthians 15:58). Go through the roof in your witness and go tell somebody about what great things the Lord has done in your life.  Go through the roof in your pursuit of Jesus (If you want to be blessed) and seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Sometimes we are too easy to give up in instances when the Lord has a blessing that can only be obtained by going through the roof.  So the next time you find yourself facing closed doors, blocked entry ways, and fortified barriers in  life - if you want to be successful; if you want to reach your goals, if you want to see the favor of God, there really is no other alternative, so do yourself a favor:  Go Through the Roof. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Cana of Galilee- The Wedding

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. (John 2:1-2)  
I was blessed to visit Cana of Galilee and witness five married couples -husbands and wives (with whom I was traveling with) renew their wedding vows at the historic location where Jesus performed an astonishing miracle.  Being at this marriage renewal help me realize that Jesus thought so highly about marriage that he used a wedding ceremony to launch his ministry and perform his first miracle where he turned water into wine. 
In fact Jesus was so intent to making sure that the married couple got off on the right foot that not only did he attend the marriage with his disciples,  but he gave the couple a marvelous upgrade on their wine (thanks to the encouragement of his mother Mary). 
Likewise, we ought to invite Jesus into our marriages.  Husbands and wives ought to invite Jesus in the manner in which they communicate, love, support, and forgive one another. Marriage is a beautiful thing.  The Bible says that What God has joined together, let no man put asunder (Mark 10:9). And that Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4). And Husbands should love their wives even as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25); submitting themselves one to another (Ephesians 5:21). 

Pastor James E. Jordan, Jr. presided over the wedding ceremony at the historic site as each couple recited their vowels and rededicated their love for one another.  The Elder Keith McGlown sang a beautiful rendition of “You are So Beautiful to Me” replacing the me with “Us” at the beginning of the ceremony.  And Sister Linda Clark Greenfield brought the house down when she sang “The Lord’s Prayer” to help close out this beautiful renewal of marriage vowels at at a small chapel placed on the original location where Jesus turned water into wine in Cana of Galilee.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sea of Galilee

The absolute coolest place that I have ever preached at was on the Sea of Galilee during my recent pilgrimage to Israel with Pastor James E. Jordan Jr. and 39 other Believers in Jesus Christ.  On a beautiful but chili sunny day with still waters and clear skies, we set sail for what turned out to be an exceptional time of fellowship. 

In Isaiah 9:1, the prophecy is made that Jesus would come to the Sea of Galilee. And some 700 years later, Jesus earthly ministry was centered around this (13 miles long, 7 miles wide, 150 feet deep) lake that is also referred to as the Lake of Gennessaret (Luke 5:1) and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1).  So while important events occurred in Jerusalem, the Lord spent most of the three years of his ministry along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.  In fact, Jesus gave more than half of his parables and performed most of his miracles along the sea shore and at times on the Sea of Galilee.  Hence, the short message that I preached was based on four events that happened on and around this body of water as listed below in the following summary.

1.  Remain Calm in the midst of your storm (Mark 4:35-41)  In this passage, Jesus tells his disciples, let us go over to the other side and while on the boat, a great storm arose yet Jesus was sleep at the bottom of the boat.  The disciples woke up Jesus and said “Master, Carest not that we perish.”  Jesus wakes up and kindly rebukes the storm and says peace be still.  So we need to know that even as Born Again believers with Jesus on board our ship, we too will face storms.  But God is in control.  And he will rebuke the storms in our lives.

2.  Get out the Boat of Do Nothing and Trust God for your miracle (Matthew 14:22-33) When Jesus came to his disciples walking on water, they were afraid and assumed he was a ghost.  But Peter was the only disciple that had the audacity to get out the boat and walk on water to Jesus and experience a supernatural miracle.  The other disciples who stayed in the boat remained bound by their own insecurities and limitations.  So get out of the boat of underachievement and playing it safe, and trust God for your miracle.

3.  God Will Provide (Matthew 17:27) Jesus needed to pay his taxes so he sends Peter on an important task to go fishing for a four-drachma coin.  It matters not what the need is- God will provide.  You may not know how, where, when, or through whom he would use- But God will provide.  The first fish that Peter caught had enough money to pay the Temple tax for two people.  God can use any means to meet your need.  God will provide.

4.  Stay Focused on What God has assigned you to do  (John 21:4-22)  After the resurrection, Jesus once again appeared to his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and he asked Peter three times, "Do you love me? Feed my sheep."  Peter answered, you know I love you.  Yet after the 3rd time, Peter responded to Jesus and said "What about him?" (pointing to John).  So we must remain focused on what God has assigned and called us to do without worrying about the role of others.  God has a destiny and a purpose for your life, and in order to reach your destiny, we must stay focused on our assignment without worrying about anybody else.

While on the boat, we prayed, worshiped, sang hymns, praised God, danced in the spirit, snapped photographs, and fellowshiped with one another.   And just like the four Bible stories that I shared, it all happened on the Sea of Galilee.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thy Will Be Done- The Garden of Gethsemane

I was blessed to travel to Israel recently with Pastor James E. Jordan Jr. of Refreshing Spring Church (COGIC)  along with 39 other Christians.  One of the highlights of my tour was a visit to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives where I snapped a picture in front of a 3,000 year old tree that is said to be the place where Jesus told the disciples (Peter, James, and John)  to wait while he went to pray.  Wow.  What a great Experience.  While touring the grounds, I was compelled to think about all of the events that followed the prayer of Jesus in the Garden that night. 

Before His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven; Before conquering death, hell and the grave and taking captivity captive; Before being crucified on the cross and dying for the sins of the world, Before the nails in his hand, and the crown of thorns on his head, before being beaten, spit upon and scourged,  
Before being questioned by Pontius Pilate and falsely accused by the Sanhedrin counsel, before being betrayed by Judas with a kiss, before being arrested by a multitude of soldiers, before healing the ear of the High Priest’s servant who Peter cut off  with a sword – Jesus Prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me;
nevertheless not My will but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) 

And because of this selfless act, we now have access to everlasting life.  So let us live like Jesus and seek the will of God in our lives above all else.  In the midst of challenge and despair, comfort and prosperity, in the good times and the bad, let this be our rallying cry: "Not my will by Yours be done."