Using down time to think big time!

Posted by Unknown Thursday, January 28, 2016 5 comments

The recent blizzard in Baltimore, literally shut the town down. People where confined to their living spaces and were unable to travel out of their neighborhoods. I believe television viewership increased significantly as people were able to channel surf. Needless to say we had a lot of time on our hands. My question is did you use the down time to think big time? If you think about it, one of the difficulties in thinking big thoughts is that small people interfere and impact your thought process. Just as soon as you latch onto something, here comes some interrupter to knock you off track.

I hope you didn't miss the blessing contained in this blizzard.

I hope you used the down time to think big time.

I hope you read information that was laying dormant on your shelf.

I hope you wrote in your journal extensively and completely.

I hope you used this time to conceive and plan to use your time more wisely.

I hope you didn't miss the blessing of not being in a ball of confusion.

I hope you used your down time to think big time!

Three Common Idols in Churches

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, January 26, 2016 2 comments

Hezekiah is affirmed in Scripture as doing “what was right in the Lord’s sight” (2 Kings 18:3). The next verse details what Hezekiah did: “He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time” (2 Kings 18:4).
Surely people understood a strong, spiritual leader removing the idols (the high places and the Asherah poles) that grabbed the hearts of the people and stole worship from the Lord. They would expect their spiritual leader to insist they stop worshiping other gods. But what Hezekiah did next must have been really unexpected and really controversial. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses made—intentionally. Not by accident. Not “I was carrying it and it fell.” To break bronze takes some effort.
Eliminating pagan idols is one thing, but “that was the snake Moses made!” It was the bronze snake God told Moses to make, the one people looked at to be delivered from their snakebites (Numbers 21).
Hezekiah broke the snake because the people were burning incense to it. They were worshiping a bronze snake. Tools for transformation can become objects of worship. In our sinfulness, we can make an idol of just about anything. In our sinfulness, we tend to make idols of things that are important to us. Thus, a bronze snake that God used to bring healing, held by the leader of God’s people during their liberation from slavery, became an object of worship.
Today is not altogether different. God’s people still struggle with taking tools for transformation and making them objects of worship. Here are three common idols in churches:

1. The Place

Because the Lord does a great work in the hearts of His people when they gather, the places of gathering can move from a tool for transformation to an object of worship. Thus, if a leader mentions “relocation,” the leader is essentially threatening to cut a bronze snake into pieces. We must remind people that the building is not the church, that His people are the church. God does not live in the place where we gather; He lives in the hearts of His people.

2. The Past

Because the Lord worked in amazing ways in the past, the past can become an idol where people long for the past more than they long for the Lord. Being grateful for the past is one thing, and worshiping it is quite another. If “former days” were great, they were only great because of the Lord.

3. The Programs

Because God changed lives through a program or event, people can elevate a program to an unhealthy place. Programs can become ends in themselves and not tools used in a church’s discipleship process. When this happens, they exist as modern-day bronze snakes.
How can leaders be like Hezekiah? How can modern-day bronze snakes be removed?
Leaders must constantly point people to the person of Jesus. Only He is worthy of our worship and only He can transform hearts. When we help people see the greatness of Jesus, idols look less attractive. As we turn our eyes on Jesus and look full in His wonderful face, the things of this world (place, past and programs included) grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
Leaders must also continually remind people of the purpose of the church. (Yes, I know it is another “p,” but it fits.) A church exists to make disciples. When a church embraces the mission of making disciples, programs are viewed as tools and not as ends in themselves. When making disciples is what a church is all about, the place is rightly seen as merely a place to help make disciples.
Though the Lord instructed the snake to be made, the Lord affirmed its destruction. And of Hezekiah, the Scripture says:
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him (2 Kings 18:5).

Bringing People to Jesus

Posted by Unknown Saturday, January 23, 2016 1 comments

'The power of the Lord was present to heal them."     Luke 5:17 NKJV

Life has taught me, my theological training has affirmed for me, and my faith has instilled in me the power of Jesus Christ being present in your life is able to heal any situation.

As I write this blog I am reminded that maybe every now and then you may need the assistance of someone to bring you into an encounter with His power.

This is the essence of the story. The man's friends spared no ingenuity to arrange for the man to be in the present of Jesus Christ. If it took carrying him on a blanket and even if it took lowering him from the roof, they were determined to have their friend be healed by Jesus.

What if we had that same determination? What if we took the time out, used every means at our disposal, or made definitive plans to bring our precious loved ones and friends to Jesus Christ.

Well this weather experience provides all of you that opportunity. Many people along the east coast will be snowed in at least until Monday. By now, there are some who realize they will not be able to attend church or engage in a worship experience.

We at Union Baptist Church will use two means to connect the community of faith into fellowship with one another.

We will broadcast from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the Periscope application. You can download it for free from your phones store. Once it is downloaded, you can connect to the message on Sunday by this address @PastorHathaway.

Some of you may want the experience of listening on the telephone. For you the call in number is (712) 432-1500 access code 1010194#

We will begin worship at 11:00 a.m. and end at 12:00 noon. Bring people to Jesus by sharing this information with them. They can join us where ever them my be.

Response to what to do in a crisis.

Posted by Unknown Friday, January 22, 2016 0 comments

"We gave way to it and were driven along."    Acts 27: 15 NIV

"They threw the ship's tackle overboard."       Acts 27: 19 NIV

"We finally gave up all hope."    Acts 27: 20 NIV

The meditation reveals that three things happen when you are in a crisis.

1. You drift

2. You discard what's important

3. You despair

It is interesting to look at these steps that one may go through in a crisis. The question is what do you do to counteract these natural emotional responses?

It is not enough to say: don't drift, don't discard, or don't despair, because being in a crisis is very real and upsetting.

Maybe if one is able to address being upset, them maybe you can handle the reality of a crisis.

How do you avoid being upset in the midst of a crisis?

I got to run. I will answer that question in my next blog.

Had an amazing day getting ready for the blizzard, so I had to take care of a few things because I know I very well may be snowed in for a few days.

The question on the table is how do you avoid being upset in the midst of a crisis?

The only antidote for this problem is hope. Not a unrealistic hope, let those persons who bought lottery tickets hoping to win $1.6 Billion. I'm talking about the type of hope we use to sing about, "my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holy lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

I ask that you read 2 Corinthians Chapter 1.  At verse 7 Paul says these words, "And out hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."

The power of hope is that it is anchored in the reality of God's power to save and secure. Hope is what will keep you from drifting. Hope is what will keep you from discarding. Hope is what saves you from despair.

The proper response to any crisis is to place your hope eternally in God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit!

What to do in a crises?

Posted by Unknown Thursday, January 21, 2016 0 comments

"We gave way to it and were driven along."    Acts 27: 15 NIV

"They threw the ship's tackle overboard."       Acts 27: 19 NIV

"We finally gave up all hope."    Acts 27: 20 NIV

The meditation reveals that three things happen when you are in a crisis.

1. You drift

2. You discard what's important

3. You despair

It is interesting to look at these steps that one may go through in a crisis. The question is what do you do to counteract these natural emotional responses?

It is not enough to say: don't drift, don't discard, or don't despair, because being in a crisis is very real and upsetting.

Maybe if one is able to address being upset, them maybe you can handle the reality of a crisis.

How do you avoid being upset in the midst of a crisis?

I got to run. I will answer that question in my next blog.

Understanding your child's uniqueness

Posted by Unknown Monday, January 18, 2016 0 comments

"Train up a child in the way he should go."    Proverbs 22:6

Today's meditation urges parents and guardians to be aware of your child's relationships, interests, environment, and their strengths.

I would add that it is also important to expose your child to as many wide and varying experiences as possible. Don't limit your child to your experiences - positive or negative. Teach them the importance of exploration: travel by train, bus, car, airplane, and boat. Show them mountains, valleys, rivers, and fields. Spend time with them at the ocean, the beach, and even in a rain forest. As early as possible get them a passport and teach them they are a world citizen. Travel to a foreign country - Canada is very close. Montreal will provide them with a French City feel.

Do not permit them to dislike any academic subject. Teach them mathematics and particularly have them learn the multiplication tables by memory. Instill in them the desire to read continuously. Give them pencils and a sketch board and encourage them to draw.

Teach them to write in a journal their thoughts and dreams. Writing is so critical that they must learn to enjoy it early.

Teach them to respect their bodies and to exercise regularly.

As early as possible teach them to explore and learn to love science. Teach them the elements and give them a computer, microscope and telescope.

Force yourself to teach them about their family history, both sides of the family. Genealogy is important and knowing your lineage is critical.

Involve them in group activities and develop within them leadership skills, followship skills and the social skills of group interaction.

Develop within them an awe and respect for God. Religious education will lead to moral character and it is important for children to learn the difference between right and wrong, and also, the value of keeping and honoring their word.

Finally teach them to recite passages, poems, and great literary work by memory. Developing the mind is critical to learning.

Training a child is definitely a 24/7 task, but if it is done correctly, it is the greatest accomplishment in the world.

The Reason for the attack

Posted by Unknown Saturday, January 16, 2016 0 comments

"By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me."    Psalms 41:11

"The devil doesn't want you to know that God's favor is on your life, or that you've been blessed by Him with all the good things you enjoy."

The role of the devil is to trick you, to trap, you and to tempt you. He is also seeking to deny you, to deter you and to detain you. His mission is to steal, kill and to destroy.

The blessing of God is His grace, mercy and favor.

Too often we give place to the devil that he is not merited. We focus too often on the negative and miss the major blessing of the positive things that are occurring in your life.

Take this early morning as your opportunity to seriously create your prayer journal. In that journal begin to record the many blessing God gives to you daily. Never focus on a negative even though you may feel down, use your prayer journal as the tool to lift your spirits. If nothing comes to mind, search for a scripture to enter, read and to remember.

God is doing great things and He has plans for you!

Make the best of it!

Posted by Unknown Friday, January 15, 2016 1 comments

"If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you." Jeremiah 29:7 TM

I have met, had lunch and conversation with Professor Peterson who wrote the Message Bible translation. The above verse is from his translation. In this instance, I think he misses the point of the text.

The King James version reads in this manner, "And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." Jeremiah 29:7 (KJV)

Therefore, this version communicate more than to just make the best of it, It commands you to find shalom (peace). The full integration of your will with God's will for your life. Peace is not the absent of tension, I suggest, it is the presence of God in the midst of tension. True peace is what is happening within verses what is happening without.

You could be sitting in the midst of a ball of confusion and still be at peace with yourself.

Okay if you like the title of this blog, allow me to provide some more clarity to it.

If making the best of a situation means you are seeking God in that situation, that for me that is making the best it!

God will forgive and restore you

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, January 13, 2016 3 comments

"Father, I have sinned."    Luke 15:18 NIV

Sin is essentially missing the mark. As a result we miss the mark all the time. That is what makes us sinners. Scripture reminds us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3: 23

Without the merciful grace of God we would all be condemned to eternal damnation.

Jesus' sacrifice for our sins gives us another chance. As a result if we humble ourselves and seek Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God forgives and restores us because of Jesus' advocacy for us.

The text demonstrates, God as the Father's and His willingness to forgive and restore. The triune nature of God helps us to understand, because Jesus is telling the story, it is only because of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf that the story can end as it does - with forgiveness and restoration.

Our challenge is to go and sin no more!

Before You Date Someone

Posted by Unknown Monday, January 11, 2016 0 comments

"Listen for God's voice...he's the one who will keep you on track." Proverbs 3:6 TM

There is a concept within Biblical literature that is called "being equally yoked." Being equally yoked refers to a time when a farmer had to tie two oxen together to plow a field. The device that caused them to become unified was the yoked that was attached to their necks that kept them together. The yoke had to be tight enough that it caused them to work together as a unit. It had to be loose enough so that they didn't choke. If it was too loose one side would slip and instead of working together the yoke would cause each oxen to work against each other.

God's voice, will and way should operate as a yoke between you and your date. Whether the relationship is fleeting or permanent, it doesn't matter.

An important ingredient in this type of yoke that binds relationships is a common quest for faith in God. God's love, respect and commands will place any relationship in its proper context.

There is nothing stronger than to have a relationship that is tied together by the blood of Jesus Christ. I would argue that is the ultimate goal and will offer to each participant the ultimate pleasure.

Know Your Child's Friends

Posted by Unknown Wednesday, January 6, 2016 0 comments

"Those who lead good people along an evil path." Proverbs 28:10 (NLT)

This morning's lesson describes a Judas Goat as one who leads sheep to the slaughter. The tone of the meditation because it emphasizes the negative advises parents to get to know your children's friends. It asks that parents be aware of whose influencing your children and to get to know their friends. My nature is to be aware of the negative but to emphasize the positive.

In this matter it is largely influenced by my experience as a parent. In the matter of our two children, I did get to know many of my children's friends. They were invited to our house, eat food at our table, and went along on family outings. In terms of the people who influence your children, that should be the parents. The parents should be the major influence in the lives of your children. Your relationship should be of such a nature that they look to you for guidance and advice. Likewise, that relationship should be so awesome that they introduce their friends to you and you impact their lives in the same way. I could tell you many stories of activities over the years with the friends of my children who now look at me like a surrogate father and my wife like a surrogate mother.

Who should be the influencer of your children - the parents? Do you get to know your children's friends - yes you should because they can become your children as well.

Don't Focus on Fault, Flaws or Failings of Another

Posted by Unknown Monday, January 4, 2016 0 comments

"Henceforth know we no man after the flesh."  2 Corinthians 5:16

"Do you look at things according to the outward appearance?' 2 Corinthians 10:7

This Monday's reflection is relevant to the current news of the day. Many of us have witnessed the public fall from grace of Dr. William H. Cosby. It is heart wrenching to witness this celebrated personality become ridiculed and ostracized. How easy it is to focus upon a perceived fault, flaw or failing? When is it appropriate to point a finger at someone else without any critique of one's own faults, flaws or failings?

The challenge of the reading yesterday and today is when observing the issues of others, maybe we need to take a second look? Maybe instead of a fleeting glance, maybe we should take the time to behold?

Beholding something probes for a deeper meaning.

Beholding something places your own behavior under scrutiny.

Beholding doesn't just look at the outside or surface of a situation, it forces one to develop a deeper analysis that is not judgmental.

Nest time you are prone to critique someone, maybe that is the best time to examine oneself.

Visioning a New You in New Year

Posted by Unknown Saturday, January 2, 2016 0 comments

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18

To achieve anything you first have to conceive the thing. A dream is conceived in the mind. A vision is conceived in the mind, spirit and the heart. A vision connects your passion with your purpose.

The Proverbial text states the universal truth of what no vision does. It lead one to a non-productive conclusion.

As you enter into the New Year, the most important thing you can do is to envision a new you.

A new you is developed by eliminating negative actions, thoughts, people and habits.

A new you is created by developing a deeper relationship with God. That is done through a focused and discipline reading of His word. It is also done be committing oneself to a life being lived for God's purpose and not your own.

Change begins with the change in you.

God desires for you to become brand new in this brand new year.

2K16 will bring you to the mountaintop of God's highest expectations for you.

God has plans for you in 2016

Posted by Unknown Friday, January 1, 2016 0 comments

At last night's Watch Night service at Union Baptist Church, I shared reflections from the Book of Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

As you move into 2016 with your plans, your goals, your expectations and your resolutions, I want you to be aware that God also has plans and they are specifically written for you.

The question is, "how do you align yourself with God's plans for you?"

The first thing you need to realize is God's desire for you is to lift burdens and to break strongholds. Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you. Learn not to carry the baggage of burdens into a New Year. You must also learn to allow the Spirit of God to break any stronghold that's holding you back.

The second thing you need to know to align yourself with God's plans for you is to develop a disciplined prayer life. You must plan into your day a regular time to meet with and talk with God. Make it an appointment on your calendar. This is the time I meet with God. It may be early in the morning or late at night, but make it a regularly scheduled appointment with God. Write it in your datebook or place it in the calendar of your phone - God's time.

The third thing you need to understand is to make 2016 your hear of praise. God inhibits the praises of His people. When His praise is continually in your mouth, God knows he has a willing heart and spirit to carry out His plans. Learn to praise God from whom all blessings flow all of the time. Even in sickness and heartache, God is still blessing you. Praise Him! Even in the victories and triumphs of life, God is blessing you. Praise Him! Let everything and everyone that has breath praise the Lord.

Have a Happy New Year and remember God has plans for you!

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