Aug06

From The Pulpit: of New Antioch Church of God in Christ

“The Miracle at the Well” by Superintendent Jeffrey M. Lewis

In John chapter 4, we find a story of a woman who came to Jesus and Jesus’ desire was to do something miraculous for this woman. Now please understand she needed a miracle but the miracle needed was neither physical nor financial.  What the text shows us is that the real miracle she needed was a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.

And I like that because the greatest miracle we’ve ever received is salvation. Some of us gladly sing the song, “Look where He brought me from.” Sometimes while others are waiting on other miracles, we praise Him for bringing us from such a mighty long way.Yes, Jesus had something awesome in mind for this woman, but for a few moments, let’s look at what was required in order for her to receive her miracle at the well.

John 4:7 says, “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.”
The first thing we discover is that Jesus’ desire was for her to have the miracle, but to receive it, it will often cost something.

There is a price to receiving the greater blessings of God. Whether it’s extra time in prayer, extra time of fasting, whether God ask you for an extra-ordinary display of your faith, whatever it may be, when God is trying to bless you, He always requires something special of you.

John 4:9 reads, “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
Secondly, in order to receive the miracle waiting for us, we can’t be bound by the traditions or the rules.

Listen, there’s nothing wrong tradition, I happen to like tradition. No there’s nothing wrong with tradition until it starts interfering with what God is trying to do.

And that’s what happened here, Jesus wanted to bless this woman but according to verse nine, the bible says she questioned Jesus because she was worried about the rules.

John 4:10, “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

We must have absolute confidence in the power of Jesus Christ

Jesus told her, If you really knew who I was, you wouldn’t be talking to Me about natural water, you’d be talking about living water. You’d be talking about improvement in your situation, improvements in your current condition.

When we go to God we’ve got to remember who we’re talking to. We’ve got to know that He’s the one that can handle whatever we bring to Him. He can fix it and He can work it out.

James said, when we go to Him, we got to do it in faith, “nothing wavering.”

The word says, “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think” and with man things are impossible but with God all things are possible.

God can do anything but fail.

John 4:11, “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: where then hast thou that living water?”

We’ve got to be willing to let Jesus handle the details of my miracle.

Jesus asked for water and because she was not operating in faith she immediately begin to question the request.
Once Jesus tells us He’s going to do something, let Him handle the fine print. Don’t you stay up all night wondering how is this going to work? How is He going to turn this around? No don’t do that, just take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there.

John 4:13-14 reads, “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Expect Him to do even more than you’ve asked.

The woman came just expecting to find water but after she encountered Jesus, what she received was exceeded her expectations.

God wants to do so much more than we know, He said, He wants to do more than we can ask or think. God doesn’t just want to see us get a touch; He wants to see us healed. He wants to see us completely changed. There is nothing going on right now, in your life that God can’t fix. You’re not facing any affliction that God can’t heal.

It can happen if you just remember “your miracle is waiting for you at the well.”

Jul03

From The Pulpit: Manuel Scott, Jr. Ministries

Count Your Blessings

It’s wonderful. It’s marvelous. It’s tremendous to be able to count. When you’re able to count, you’re able to tell time, you’re able to dial the telephone, you’re able to cook a good meal. It’s wonderful.

I’m of the very strong and clear contention that if in fact you are able to count, then surely as a believer in Jesus you ought to be able to count your blessings.
It occurred to me that there’s an inverse relationship between counting and complaining. What I mean by this is the more you count your blessings, the less likely you are to complain about your condition.

Someone here today needs to do themselves a sanctified and spiritual favor and count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings and see what God has done.

Number one, our texts are suggesting that perhaps you need to count the times the Lord has surprised you. Number two, maybe you need to count the times the Lord has surrounded you. And number three, the texts seem to suggest that you need to count the times the Lord has supplied you.

In John 20:28, we hear Thomas declaring, “My Lord, and my God.” Thomas here is expressing the fact that he was absolutely startled and totally and completely surprised at seeing the nail scarred hands and touching the pierced side of a bodily resurrected Christ.

I believe in my spirit that we have some Thomases. Those who just like Thomas have been marvelously and wonderfully surprised by God so much so until you’ve had to say, “My Lord, and my God.”

Have you ever received a blessed check in the mail you didn’t expect? What a surprise.

Have you ever received a blessed phone call you didn’t expect? What a surprise.

Have a blessed visit from a long time friend or a precious relative you didn’t expect? What a surprise.

Count the times the Lord has surprised you.

In II Kings 6:15-17 in a time where the Syrian army had surrounded the city of Dothan and the servant of the prophet Elijah became terrified, so much so that Elijah had to say to his servant, “Fear not. For they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Elijah had to pray to the Lord for the Lord to open the servant’s eyes.  When the Lord opened the servant’s eyes he amazingly saw that the mountains were full of angelic horses and chariots of fire that surrounded him and especially Elijah.
Don’t you see today that the text is profoundly and helpfully suggesting that we need to count the times the Lord has surrounded us?

Here’s the lesson: You ought to be spiritual enough to see that through it all, it’s been God’s protecting angels who have been surrounding you all along the way.

It hasn’t been your little education. It hasn’t been your bank account. It hasn’t been your economic portfolio. It hasn’t been your Cadillac or Mercedes Benz. It hasn’t been your computer, or your website or your CD, it hasn’t been your clothes. It hasn’t been your wig or your weave.

It’s been God’s protecting angels who have been surrounding you through it all.

This is why you need to make sure your relationship with God, with Jesus, with the Holy Ghost is intact, because in the final analysis they will be the only ones to surround and protect you.

Count the times the Lord has surrounded you.

Our final text, Phil. 4:19, finds the Apostle Paul gloriously declaring, “But my God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Understand that Paul in the context of this verse is actually thanking the Philippians for financially helping him in his ministry. In essence, Paul is saying “Oh my dear and precious Philippians, because you have been so generous to me in meeting and supplying my needs, I want to know that my God is going to be extra generous to you in meeting and supplying your needs.”

In the larger context of the letter, Paul is really thanking the Lord for using the Philippians to supply his needs.
Somebody say amen.

Have you ever been blessed by other people? In other words, has the Lord ever used other people to supply your needs? Have you ever needed a job and the Lord used others to supply it? Have you ever needed a place to stay and the Lord used others to supply it? Have you ever needed some transportation, a car, or what have you and the Lord used others to supply it?

Count the times the Lord has used other people to supply your needs.

Never ever forget that God has a supplying, saving fountain. By this I mean God will save you. God will supply all of your needs if you just come to the fountain.

I hope and pray that you did not miss the thrust of this message. The simple but profound and helpful truth is that if you can count, then surely as a sanctified, Holy-Ghost-filled, redeemed child of the living God, you ought to be able to count your blessings.

Never forget the principle, the more you count your blessings, the less likely you are to complain. Count the times the Lord has surprised you. Count the times the Lord has surrounded you. Count the times the Lord has supplied you.

Jun04

From The Pulpit of The Baptist Minister’s Conference

“The Marching Orders of the Church” by Pastor H.B. Charles

What does it mean for the church to be on mission for Jesus? First, you must believe the claim Jesus makes.

Jesus declares, “All authority in heaven and in earth has been given to me.”

Notice that Jesus here claims more than power. He claims authority. Power is the ability to get things done. But authority is jurisdiction, freedom of action and the legal right to use authority

Note the scope of Jesus authority. He says, all authority. I wish I had time to just list the sphere of authority of Jesus, but let me sum it up for you to say if Jesus has all authority, it means nobody else has any.

Now note the specifics of His authority. He says, “I have all authority in heaven and on earth.”  Jesus is declaring that both Satan and his army of demons and Michael and his army of angels must bow to the authority of Jesus Christ.

But not only does He have authority in heaven, He also has authority on earth. He is Lord of course over the communion of the saints but He is also Lord over the world of unbelievers.

So what whatever the culture says about the church? So what whatever the president may decide? So what whatever congress rules on?

Jesus has the last word and if He is in charge of heaven and earth, let’s preach with joy and confidence that His kingdom shall come and His will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.

If He has all authority in heaven and earth, it means the church can’t succeed if we depend on any other authority. He’s in charge of the church.

Secondly, to be on mission for the church means you must obey the commission Jesus gives.

Verse 19 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”

This is the divinely commanded, all-inclusive, non-negotiable mission of the church. The singular imperative. The main thrust and the central idea of the text is this call to make disciples.

Note that Jesus does not give the disciples permission to make disciples for themselves.

Pastors, we must not build little kingdoms for ourselves in the Lord’s church. He does not tell us to make disciples for ourselves. He says you are to make disciples for him, and that does not just apply to pastoral ministry. Every disciple is to make disciples. No believer and no church is faithful to Jesus Christ if your primary work is not obedience to this commission Jesus gives.

Verse 19 begins with the word “go” and that makes sense because you can’t spell gospel without first spelling the word “go.” But Jesus does not tell the world to come to the church, He tells the church to go the world.

The word “go” is a modifier of the main verb. Literally the text would read, as you are going, therefore make disciples.

He does not tell them to “go” suggesting they sit on the mountain otherwise. He knows that they are going but He says as you are going let me shape what you do as you go.

As you are going, make disciples. As you are going where? As you go to church, and home, and school and to market.

In other words, Christian discipleship is to be the believer’s lifestyle, not a ministerial elective. What we do on Sunday morning is meaningless, useless, and fruitless unless we are training and equipping our people to be witnesses for Jesus on Monday morning.

Discipleship is both an event and a process. It’s a moment in time when a convert is baptized and initiated into discipleship, but at the same time it’s a three-fold process.

We’re going to bring the lost to Jesus for salvation, we’re going to bring them to church for baptism, but then He says we’re going to bring them to maturity by teaching them.

Man-centered worship services, therapeutic preaching emphasis, and pragmatic ministry programs may pack the crowds in, but it won’t make disciples. If disciples are going to be made in the church, when the shouting and singing is over, somebody’s got to teach. Somebody’s got to open the word of God and explain truth to the people about Him.

He says don’t just teach selectively. Don’t just teach your pet doctrines, your hobby horses and your favorite subjects.

He says you’re to teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. Don’t pick and choose. Which means, if we’re doing our job some Sunday’s they’ll leave shouting and some Sundays they’ll leave mad.

Don’t just teach that they’ll know better. Teach that they’ll do better. The goal ain’t for them to have a notebook full of sermon outlines. The goals is for life transformation, not just mental education. Teach them to observe, to obey, to submit to “all that I have commanded you.”

We must believe the claim Jesus makes. We must obey the commission Jesus gives. But then we must embrace the comfort Jesus shares.

That’s verse number 20. Jesus here does not promise I will be with you. He announces, “I am with you.” Not only is it a personal assurance. It’s a perpetual assurance. “I’m with you always.”

There’s not a time, not a season, not a moment, not an experience, not a problem when the Lord isn’t with us. We do our work not only with the power of Christ but also with the presence of Christ.

The omnipotent one of verse 18 is the omnipresent one of verse 20. Not only do we have a transcendent Lord, we also have an eminent savior. Divine sovereignty is not only on our side, it’s by our side.

There are times when you feel all alone. There are times when you don’t have anybody to stand up and speak on your behalf. But I want to tell you, you ain’t in this by yourself.

When the burden is heavy and the night is dark, He’s there. When your friends are few, He’s there. When the storm is raging, He’s there.

May06

From the Pulpit of Solid Rock Mission Church

“Go Ahead And Lift Up Your Hands”

Rev. Jack Wilson

Our hands are made up of 27 bones. We have eight bones in our wrist, four in each finger, and three in our thumbs. These many bones in the hand are necessary because we use our hands for a majority of things in life.

Without them we could not embrace our loved ones, wave goodbye after our visits, shake hands with the saints, hug and snug with others, work on our jobs, type on our computers, drive our cars. Hands are very valuable in life.

The hands can also be violent in our lifestyle because with them some men jump on their wives and women, abuse and molest innocent children, use the middle finger during road rage.

The hand can also be victorious in our relationship with the Lord. In Exodus 17, Moses and the children of Israel are on their way to the Promised Land, the land that is flowing with milk and honey. The land that God has promised and preordained. The children of Israel are close to the promise. They are close to the prize, and yet there are some difficulties that face them before they reached their destination.

In Exodus 17:8, the Amalikites came to fight them in Rephidim. Rephidim is a place of rest and relaxation, and in the midst of them resting—over time—the enemy came up against them.

Could it be that some of us have been in Rephidim for far too long? We have been in Rephidim for so long that the enemy has evaluated our coming in and our going out.

We cannot take a place that was meant for temporary rest, and make it a place of permanent residence.

But as we peruse this passage, we develop an understanding that there is a blessing in lifting up your hands.

We lift our hands when we are enduring troubles.

There is no one exempt from troubles, not even a child of God. Trouble is like being stuck in traffic during rush hour. It's something we will all have to experience one time or another.

The children of Israel experience trouble in Exodus 17:8. Moses did not cry or sigh in the midst and moment of trouble. The mere fact that Moses went up to the mountain (Exodus 17:9-10) illustrates that Moses had trust in God.

Moses has experienced great success in Exodus. He delivered the children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh and crossed the Red Sea. Yet at this particular time, Moses is experiencing grieved suffering because he had an enemy that did not want to see him or the children of Israel make it to the Promised Land.

Moses gets to a point to where he is ready to throw up both his hands.

I don't know what problems you have had to bear, but I can honestly say that in my life, I have been ready to holler and throw up both my hands.

This is exactly what Moses did. He went up to the mountaintop to lift up His hands unto God (Exodus 17:11-12).

It would be good for us to every once and while climb to the mountaintop and have a little talk with Jesus.

Moses lifted up his hands and experienced great triumph. When our hands are lifted, this expresses that we have trust in God.

Our trust cannot be in the White House, no offense to our President or his staff. Our trust cannot be in the church house, no offense to our pastors or the saints. Our trust cannot be in our own house, no offense to our parents or our siblings.

Our trust must be in the Lord because He is our protection and our shield.

Trusting in God is not only believing, but trusting that God has much to do with us moving according to His word. It was David that said the steps of a good man are ordered by The Lord.

My question to you is: when will you place your total trust in the Lord? You can trust Him because He will never leave us nor forsake us. You can trust Him because He is with us always even till the end of the age. You can trust Him with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

I come to remind you that this is not the end. The best of blessing are on the way. You’re at the apex of your achievements, at the brink of a break through.

I dare you to go ahead and lift up your hands. Go ahead and lift up your hands because all things work together for the good to them that loves God and to them that are called according to our purpose.

Go ahead and lift up your hands because eyes have not seen nor have ears heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of men, those things that God has in store for them that love Him.

Go ahead and lift up your hands because no weapon that is formed against you will prosper. It won't work.

Go ahead and lift up your hands because weeping man endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

There was another man that lifted up His hands, on a hill called Calvary.

His name was Jesus.

He stretched forth His hands on the cross. They hung Him high, stretched Him wide, and dropped Him low.

He bled, and He died.

You will triumph if you lift up your hand because early Sunday morning He arose with all power in His hands.

Apr08

From the Pulpit of Mary Magdelene MBC

“The Parable of the Sower” (Luke 8:4-8) by Pastor Theodis Kessee

Matthew tells us that Jesus taught many things to those who came to listen and learn.  Jesus’ teaching method was simple. He used parables, which are short stories and images taken from everyday life to convey hidden truths about the kingdom of God. Like a skillful artist, Jesus painted evocative pictures with short and simple words.

You know how a good image can speak more loudly and clearly than many words can?  Well, Jesus used everyday life to illustrate orders of reality, or hidden, yet visible truths to those who had “eyes to see” and “ears to hear.”

Matthew also tell us that Jesus’ parables of the kingdom of Heaven are like buried treasures waiting to be discovered (Matt 13:44).

Homiletics is a method commonly used to help a speaker get his ideas across to his audience more effectively.

Jesus used a method that did just the opposite. His purpose in speaking in parables was not to clarify, but to conceal the message or to separate spectators from believers standing before Him.

Jesus told his disciples, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”  (Luke 8:10).

Not everyone who came to hear Jesus speak was there with the intention to receive.  This is like the parable of the sunshine on the clay and wax.  Sunshine would cause the wax to get softer and the clay to get harder. In other words,  Jesus’ parables would separate those who came hungry with a thirst for God’s word from those who were only willing to accept the word at a surface level.

What might we discover of the kingdom of God from Jesus’ parable of the sower?

The same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea a great multitude gathered about him so, that he got into a boat and sat there.  The whole crowd stood on the shore and he told them many things in parables, saying:  A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, on the way side, and the birds came and devoured them.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil and immediately sprang up, since they had no depth of soil.  When the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. And when Jesus had said these things, he cried, “He who has ears, let him hear.”

Any farmer can attest to the importance of having good soil to supplying nutrients for growth. How does a plant get the necessary food and water it needs except by its roots? The scriptures frequently use the image of fruit bearing plants or trees to convey principles of spiritual life and death.

“Blessed is a man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17: 7-8, Psalm 1:3).

Jesus’ parable of the sower is aimed at the hearers of his word. There are different ways of accepting God’s word and they produce different kinds of fruit accordingly.  The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11).

There are different types of ‘hearers’.  There is the one along the path or ‘by the way side’ who is a prejudiced hearer with a closed mind. Such a person is unreachable, blind to what he/she doesn’t want to hear.

Then, there is the shallow hearer: He or she fails to think things out or think them through; they lack depth. They may initially respond with an emotional reaction; but when the emotion wears off, their mind wanders to something else.

The hearers on the rocky ground are those who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no roots so they believe for a while, but in the test of time, they fall away.

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures and they do not mature. This hearer is the person who has many interest or cares, but who likes the ability to hear or comprehend what is truly important. This type of person is forever too busy to pray, too pre-occupied to study or to meditate on God’s word.

But the seed on good soil are those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word of God and retains it and by persevering, ultimately produces crop. This is the hearer whose mind is open.  Such a person is at all times willing to listen and learn.

He or she is never too proud or too busy.  They listen in order to understand.  They have “ears to hear.” God gives grace to those who hunger for his word that they may understand His will and have the strength to live according to it.

Now ask yourself…Which type of “hearer” are you?

Mar06

From the Pulpit of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church - “The Unseen Battle: Round 1”

Pastor George E. Hurtt

The first three verses of Job 1 show us that Job has spiritual success seen by his faith, social success seen by his family and secular success seen by his fortune.

The order is significant. Faith is before family and family is before fortune. Your spiritual success is more important than your social success. Social success is more important than secular success.
Are you a spiritual success?

In Job 1:6-7, the day in heaven starts with an assembly. In these verses, the devil is introduced. This day in heaven goes from an assembly to an appraisal by God of Job in Job 1:8.

It says, “And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

This is why Job became the focus of this book, by doing right.

In Job 1:9-11, the devil claimed Job was only good toward God because God had been good toward him. The question cuts to the heart of genuine faith. You and I must ask ourselves this question: Would I serve God even if there were no blessings?

Does God have to buy worship? Does God deserve to be worshipped just for who He is?

God places his money on Job. The trial shall now begin. Satan will be allowed by God to touch Job’s family and fortune. The question is what will happen to his faith.

The cause of Job’s suffering was a day on earth seen in Job 1:6-12. Behind the suffering was Satan, but behind Satan was God.

In Job 1:15-19, Job receives four back-to-back messages of progressively worse news. There is no other way I can say it. It was a hell of a day.

First, several of his servants were slain while his oxen and donkeys were stolen. Next, he lost even more of his servants and livestock in a fire.

Job had to be stunned, realizing that he could not afford another catastrophic event. This would destroy his financial well being. He would go from the richest to the poorest man in the east.

Next he loses his camels and remaining servants in a raid.

This is bad, but it is not the worst. He can labor and replenish his fortune, but then comes the worst news of all—that all ten of his children have been killed.

Just when you thought things could not get any worst for Job—You can almost hear him scream ‘not my baby girls, not junior.’ He and his wife must identify the bodies of ten children.

This is really bad. In the span of a few moments, Job’s social and secular success has all been lost.

Please notice the speed and ease that these things left Job. It can happen the same way in yours and my life.
But, all is not gone. There is one more aspect of Job’s life that can be savaged. This is his faith in God. He still has his spiritual success. Will he trust the sovereignty of God?

How would Job react to these series of horrific events? In Job 1:20, 21, we find that Job mourns, then worships.
Four actions displayed Job’s mourning.

He first arose. Then he tore his clothes. After this, Job shaved all his hair off his head. Finally, he laid prostrate on the ground.

The Bible informs us that Job mourning was not a sin or a sign of Job charging God with wrong. This teaches that Christians who suggest that mourning is anti-faith in God are wrong. It is normal and healthy to cry when the pain of life shows up in your life.

I Thessalonians 4:13 tells not to grieve as those who have no hope. It does not say don’t grieve. It just reminds us that our hope is not defined on earth.

Job knew this. Job 1:20 records a fifth action of Job—he worshipped.

These are his exact words as found in Job 1:21: “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Wow! I am speechless. Job proves God right. What do you think about Job’s reaction? Was he wrong to mourn? Was his worship fabricated?

Stop thinking and allow the Bible to speak. It says, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”
He still has his spiritual success. Thus, Job is still successful. He is even more of a success, in light of the fact that he has lost those other two areas of success and maintained his faith.

This is reinforced more when you think about what Job did not know.

He did not know about the day in heaven. Satan showed up before the presence of God on that day. He then accused Job of worshipping God for pay.

Is your name being mentioned in heaven? Could God wager money on your commitment?

In addition, Job did not know that his life would be read and talked about at Mt. Sinai in Los Angeles. People throughout human history have read about how Job handled the worst times in his life.

I want to tell you something: people are reading you. Your life is a book. Your spouse, children, co-workers, classmates are watching how you handle the tough days in your life. What will they read?

First Ladies High Tea
November will mark the 20th Anniversary of our Annual First Ladies High Tea, honoring the contributions of female leaders and women of faith to the Los Angeles community. For more information, visit www.firstladieshightea.com
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