Where Do We Go From Here?

While vacationing in the Caribbean in January – February 1967, Dr. ML King, Jr. wrote the 1st draft of his last book “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” King looks back at the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.  In his book, Dr. King discusses what African-Americans should do with their new, dearly fought for freedoms found in-laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He concludes that all Americans black and white must unite to fight poverty and create a new equality of opportunity.

King

What I Learned From Watching ‘Scandal’

Like many, I eagerly anticipated the airing of the show Scandal. Whenever I see beautiful, African Americans who are power players in our Nation’s capital, I’m excited.  So, like millions, I was glued to the TV wondering what would happen to Hollis, will Fitz divorce his wife, and would Olivia & Edison become a permanent item.

Scandal Photo

 DISCLAIMER:

If you’re a fan of the show, you may be offended if you continue reading.

With all the strong television shows for women, I don’t know why a beautiful, African American women forsakes a relationship with an African American Senator (Edison) for a married man (President Fitz).

I know why…love makes you do crazy things & act out of character.

Before you go sucking your teeth, rolling your eyes and calling me self-righteous, hear me out. I think there is an opportunity here to encourage the writers of the show to be bold and courageous.

I am rooting for the show to succeed, but, the creators have to be fearless and let Olivia Pope not be another man’s mistress. She’s too beautiful, too strong, and too smart for that.  I say let Olivia Pope control the interactions with her lovers. Don’t allow her to be a woman of straw that bends in whatever direction her lover needs. Additionally, I’d love to see her relationship with Edison grow into a beautiful picture of a healthy/strong relationship.

Finally, If not Edison, Olivia needs a new love interest and assert her independence from Fitz.  People seem to be ignoring the fact Olivia is having an affair with a married man.  In my humble opinion, that isn’t romantic…it’s actually tragic and pathetic.

Why?

At the end of the day Olivia goes home to her apartment ALONE and single…hardly an equal relationship.

What are your thoughts about today’s post?

Do You Know The “Real” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

When was the last time you heard a speech that moved you, that made you sit up and brush the potato cookie crumbs off your lap and watch?

The last time you heard a speech that made your eyes well up? When was the last time anyone really got to you, really said something with substance that you will always keep with you?

Dr. King 3

Lately, I’ve been thinking about sound bites, and how we live in a sound bite society. Unfortunately, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reduced to the “I Have a Dream” soundbite.  But, if you think about it, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream…” message was a simple, yet powerful message. And very necessary.

Do you really know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Why doesn’t anyone ever quote these words by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.?

The Real Revolution Will Be An Evolution

As the election season comes to a close, whoever wins will make history.  We will elect an African-American to a second term or a Mormon as president.  Both President Obama & Governor Romney talk about change and how they will implement those changes.  Both have a vision on how to get America back on track and believe it wholeheartedly.

dont forget to vote wide t nv

However, what they both fail to articulate is how change involves loss, sacrifice, and pain.  That is the hard part.  Why?  Deep change requires that people change the way they think.  When people change the way they think, it changes how they feel.  When people change how they feel, they change the way they act/behave.  Therefore, when both candidates call for change, what they are calling for is a revolution.  

Haiti: Hope in the Midst of Tragedy

Devastated.  Shocked.  Confused.  Numb.

These are a few words that come to mind regarding the earthquake that rocked Haiti.  Our leaders will meet tonight to discuss our church’s response to this great tragedy.  I will share our plan of action tomorrow.

Labeling any natural disaster as God’s judgment is nonsense.  True “judgment begins with God’s family” (1Peter4:17), not others.

Peter warned that God judges all people according to their deeds.  He also disciplines and judges his own children in order to refine them, as Peter has explained in 1 Peter 1:6-7.  This judgment purifies and strengthens believers, readying them for God’s Kingdom.  Natural disasters are the result of living in a broken world!  Please pray for nation of Haiti.

“Lord, let your glory reign in the midst of this devastation.”

Are You Angry Yet – You Should Be?

Many people believe Michael Moore is the most dangerous man in the world.  Personally, I like him because he’s funny & annoying to the powers that be. He is an Academy Award winning filmmaker, author, and liberal political commentator.  He is the director and producer of Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko, three of the top five highest-grossing documentaries of all time.

Michael Moore’s next film, Capitalism – A Love Story explores the root causes of the global economic meltdown and takes a comical look at the corporate and political shenanigans that culminated in what Moore has described as the biggest robbery in the history of this country – The massive transfer of U.S. taxpayer money to private financial institutions.


Personally, I can’t wait to see Michael’s new movie.  It’s time for people to stand up against greed and hypocrisy and let their voice be heard.  Thanks Michael for keeping the heat on!

A Letter to the President – The Stimulus Plan is not Working!

Mr. President,

Congratulations on making history as the first African-American President of the United States of America!  I admire you for your courage, passion, and tenacity.  Additionally, you have proven that you are an effective leader because you assumed leadership when our country was on the brink of collapse.  However, with these achievements, there is also some not so good news.

Obama Sun-Times Pic

5 Questions That Will Change Your Prayer Life

The longer I serve as pastor of a thriving church, the more I realize how VITAL prayer is!  Prayer is the link to a vibrant and fruitful ministry.

prayer-for-times-like-these

What if God granted you an opportunity to go back in time and speak to the wisest people who ever lived (people such as Moses, Apostle Paul, Solomon, Sojourner Truth, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Fredrick Douglass)?  However, once you reached your destination, you sat at their feet and proceeded to do all the talking?  Would it be a worthwhile endeavor?  Did the aforementioned people need to know all you had to say?  Upon leaving would you wish you had talked less and listened more?  Incredibly, many people enter God’s holy presence in prayer and then do all the talking!

What God has to say to us is infinitely more important that what we have to say to Him, yet we generally monopolize the conversation. God already knows everything we plan to tell Him, yet we continue talking rather than allowing Him to tell us things we don’t know.  Why?  Our American individualist mindset tricks us to believe that we can dominate our conversation with God. Prayer is two-way communication, but it is not communication between two equal parties.

Tonight (7PM) we’ll gather @ the Mars Hill Baptist Church for our 1st Wednesday Worship.  This worship experience allows us to spend more time worshipping God and listening to the Word.  During tonight’s service, I will pose 5 Questions that will revolutionize the prayer lives of those in attendance.  The questions are as follows:

  1. What is Prayer (the definition may surprise you)?
  2. Why Pray (it’s not what you think)?
  3. To Whom Do We Pray (is it God, Jesus, or The Holy Spirit)?
  4. What Do God’s Answers Look Like (it’s more than, “God give me a sign”)?
  5. What If There Is Silence?


Please come and join us!

Ministry Pornography

The North American Church is in decline and there are plenty of conferences offering their latest & greatest pitch to stop the church’s decline.

pornography

Each year we’re invited to hear “celebrity” pastors share God’s plan for the church and how we ought to adopt it and be large and successful like them.  Frankly, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a venue to really address how and why churches grow.  Many pastors & church leaders make their annual pilgrimage to Saddleback, Willowcreek, North Point, Fellowship, New Birth, Greater St. Steven FGBC, The Potter’s House, etc. and come away excited and delusional with unrealistic expectations.  Ed Stetzer of Lifeway calls it ministry pornography.  According to Ed Stetzer:

“Ministry pornography is an unrealistic expectation of an experience you’re never going to have which distracts you from the real thing.”

God used these churches and their pastors for a specific time and in a specific place.  Unfortunately, that experience is rarely duplicated.  If you were to take the aforementioned churches and transplant them in other areas, the results would be drastically different.  Can you imagine Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, or Andy Stanley leading an inner-city urban church?  Or, can you see Bishop T.D. Jakes screaming “Get Ready…Get Ready…Get, Get, Ready” at Saddleback or North Point Church?  Simply put, God rarely does the same thing twice.

May I Offer You A Few Suggestions to break your addiction to ministry porn:

  1. Confess your addiction to ministry pornography & repent!
  2. Do not attend any conferences for one year
  3. Get alone with your Bible, pen, & paper and discover God’s purpose for the church (read Matt. 22-37-40; 28:19-20, The Book of Acts)
  4. Get a demographic breakdown of your community (US Census Bureau or your local Chamber of Commerce).
  5. After discovering the purpose of the church, write down how your church plans to reach that community (this is the hard part).  Make sure it’s less than a paragraph because people don’t like to read long statements.
  6. Preach/teach a series on God’s vision for the church and how you plan to fulfill it.
  7. Reorganize your church’s leaders, staff, volunteers, and structure (in that order)
  8. Evaluate & tweak your plan/strategy

So, what’s your next step?  I’d love to hear it!

The Best of Times & The Worst of Times

glass-half-full

“It was the best of times, the worst of times…”

The opening sentence of A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, referring to the time of the French Revolution describes the economic reality of today.  The question that’s on everyone’s mind, but, seldom asked is: How are you doing?  The answer depends on your individual circumstances, of course – but also on your perspective.   The glass is either half full or half empty for many of us today.  This morning when I woke up, my first emotion was profound gratitude. Even though my financial worth had been decimated by the events of the last three months, I realized that nothing could touch the things that are most valuable to me.

I also realized that I have a choice: I can focus on what I have lost or I can focus on what I have. I started making a mental list:

  1. I have my health.
  2. I have a loving wife, who is also my best friend
  3. I have three wonderful children.  “I am particularly fond of each of them,” as Papa says in The Shack.
  4. I have several profound friendships that encourage and challenge me.
  5. I have meaningful work that I would do even if I wasn’t getting paid.
  6. I have incredibly competent co-workers whom I truly love and respect.
  7. I have a church that grows dearer to me with each passing year.
  8. I have a relationship with God that is endlessly fascinating and fulfilling.

And the list goes on. I could name a hundred more things, but you get the idea.

My guess is that the Economic Downturn is going to get worse (I pray I’m wrong) before it gets better.  You and I have very little control over what happens in the external environment.  But we do have control over what happens inside our hearts.  It all depends on our mental focus.

Question:
What do you have that the Economic Downturn can’t touch?

FYI – I want to thank my friends from Facebook for sharing their tips.  If you would like to read more, please click here.