Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Father's Day - Getting Out Of My Boat

Father’s Day 2018: God’s Call To An Extra-ordinary Life

This time last year I was staying in Andros, The Bahamas. I spent time with the folks in the Cargill Creek Church. This was the first time I could call myself "Dad", as months earlier we adopted a beautiful little girl named Shaneillia. This week Shaneillia and I are in Florida with the folks at Transformation Ministries. She surprised me with a two page hand made card which said "You're The Best Dad. I Love You!"  Awwww.  The Journey of fatherhood. I was upset at her earlier today. My car had a flat tire, so we both shared in the experience of changing the flat. On the way to the tire store, she hangs something in the roof of the car that could dirty that really clean "roofing". I got mad and shouted at her. What is she thinking...messing up my Acura? (smh).  There are some things a kid will never think through. At nine years old, I cannot expect her to process certain actions. But that still does not mean I cannot expect her to think about her actions, and it is my job to develop critical thinking skills. Oh yes, I realize that I place a lot of stock in my stuff (My Acura...bye bye always clean interior..bye bye scratch free anything). We had a few words, then she was silent for a while. I made up to her by offering her $10 if she would help me wash the car. You should have seen the big smile on her face..Money!! I had to get her talking again so I asked her questions about her brother and family back home. That was all she needed, as she talked for another 30 minutes till we got to MacDonald's. She got a vanilla Sundae. What a journey it has been since the day we adopted her. My life has never been the same. Not only have I learned so much about me, but I find myself learning more about God in the process. My level of dependence on God has also grown as I must seek of Him to provide for our every need. This decision to adopt a child I will call "My Boat".  The journey of life involves a series of getting out of the boat decisions, or not!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

God's Redemptive Plan

Old & New Testament Spiritual Transformation

At the heart of spiritual formation is transformation into Christ-likeness or as the Apostle Paul coined it “becoming mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13b). This process is not to be achieved by human effort, rather it is “what God does to and for us, along with all he makes available to make this transformation possible”[1]. Using New Testament language, spiritual formation is defined as “an inside job”[2]. The result of the Holy Spirit empowerment is a people transformed to live out “God-honoring lives within the context of community and healthy relationships”[3]. The above-mentioned statements describe the reality of a New Testament model of achieving transformation. But what of the Old Testament?

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Bible Inspiration & Inerrancy

The Inerrancy Debate and the Contemporary Church

A survey of Scriptures reveal that the biblical writers testified to the doctrine of Inerrancy and Inspiration. Time and time again their use of Scriptures affirm that “the Bible originated from God and is His message to the human race”[1]. Commonly used Scriptures in support of the doctrine of Inerrancy and Inspiration include 2 Timothy 3:16, and 2 Peter 1:20-21, John 10:35b). In the process of God’s superintendcy upon the authors of the Scriptures, He conveyed the humanness of the authors. Erickson[2] makes this point very well in describing the acts of Peter and Paul. While God directed the thoughts of Luke (the result of his careful research) to give and account of Peter’s ministry to Cornelius in Acts 10, Peter willfully ignored God’s commands in Acts 10:9-15 and “compromised by withdrawing from eating with Gentiles and certain Jews” in Galatians 2:11-12. We can learn a thing or two from reading about the triumphs and failures of those that have gone before us. The Apostle Paul said it well: “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction…” (Romans 15:4a).

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Four Disciplines of Theology - Systematic, Biblical, Historical, Philosophical

The Relationship Between The Four Disciplines of Theological Studies

Systematic theology deals with the “development of doctrine in the Church’s history, the totality of biblical revelation and extra-biblical truth, and draws out the teachings of Scripture via sound grammatical, historical and cultural exegesis”[1]. Practically speaking, Systematic theology is a discipline that contextualizes theology to make it palatable for every generation. It pulls together other branches of theology to create a more coherent means of knowing God’s truth. 
According to Elwell[2]Biblical theology “explores the truth and message of biblical books by a grouping mechanism”, Historical theology “traces the church’s faith topically through the various eras of its history”, and Philosophical theology seeks to provide a thinking mechanism for the defense of the faith. While Systematic theology is considered a science, it is more accurately concerned with “God’s salvation history with His people, the utterances of divinely ordained prophets and apostles and the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ”[3]

The Holy Spirit - His Role

The Holy Spirit – The Most Neglected Essential Resource.

Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit is the most neglected and underutilized of the three resources. He is given to believers at salvation (Acts 15:8, 1 John 5:10) and is continually engaged in the process of perfecting the saints (Hebrews 10:14-15, Romans 15:16, 1 Corinthians 6:11). While we know that He (the Holy Spirit) is God, we are often less inclined to obey and to totally trust in Him in the face of the pressure from the world, the flesh and the enemy of God. But believers would do well to be reminded of His unique role as helper and counselor who abides with and within each child of God(John 14:16-18). While the church is aware of who He is, considerably less  teaching is given on His person and work (at least in the Charismatic/Pentecostal circles to which I have been exposed for the past 15 years). We pray to Him, seek Him, know that He is the only way to eternal life (John 14:6), but more could be done to examine His person and work outside of the emotionalism involved with the worship of this member of the Trinity – after-all, anyone that worships Him must do so in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). He primarily has two functions – (1) gives knowledge and (2) gives power[1]. We can therefore sum up His role as ‘the helper of the believer {John 14:16). The Greek word for “helper” is “parakletos” which means “one called or summoned along the side of another to help; a comforter, advocate or an intercessor”[2]. While the church is fascinated by His work (e.g. miracles, signs, wonders and exorcisms) and seemingly is hungering for a return of the first century New Testament church, I believe we still have much work in developing the theology of the Holy Spirit in these two roles.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Loss Of A Loved One

Losing A Loved One

Well, one thing is for sure.  Brother Scott, spirit filled, water baptized, is with his God! For us, it is tragic, it is hard, it is tough.  A father to many, a husband, co-worker, brother and friend to others has passed away. To God though, Brother Scott (His son) has been promoted. Listen, he has been released from the burdens of this place. I know, I wish he was here right now with us – with his strong, laughing, encouraging, ever-giving -his- last- dime- self. But he has been relocated to heaven. He is with his God. He is “absent from this world and present with the Lord”.

Bereavement & Grief Texts

Bereavement Texts & Prayers

“In such a time of great sorrow and distress, we can trust God with our loved one. The question is “Have we accepted Christ as the Lord of our life so that we can join our loved one in heaven?”[4]. I encourage you to make that commitment today as this moment is ripe for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Prayer:   “Lord, help us to know what is most important in this life and to live for you alone. Comfort our grieving hearts, and bless the memories of our dear loved one.”[1]

Benediction:    “Fear not, for I am with you; be not discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).                                                                                           
Prayer: “Father, we gather here to remember the life and mourn the death of our loved one.
                We do not sorrow as those who have no hope, for our hope is in Jesus Christ. We ask
               that You would comfort each family member and friend.  May they turn to Your Word
               for comfort, be encouraged through happy memories, be sustained by the hope of the
               resurrection for all who place their faith in you, and may the purpose in their heart to
              seek you while You may be found. Amen”[2]  
Benediction:    “The Lord bless and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace”
                            (Numbers 6:24,26)