The Parable of Christians and A Marching Band

So, here’s my attempt at using a parable to express my feelings.

This weekend I had the opportunity to go and see my cousin Kyle, who is a member of Virginia State University’s Marching Band. He is a freshman and he plays the drums.

When you watch and listen to a marching band, it s very clear that in order to achieve the desired sound, everyone instrument and every person has to be in their correct position.  If the horns don’t come in when they are suppose to, the sound is not accurate; if a person misses a step, they could find themselves going in the opposite direction from everyone else. But, when everyone has properly practiced and prepared themselves and are in right position, the sound is wonderful.

So, what sound are we as Christians making? Are we prepared (study of the word, prayer, worship) so that when we are needed to encourage, guide, teach, lead, be an example to this world, we are in position?

As the church, as the kingdom of God, are a sweet savor? As people watch and listen to us, what does it sound like? Is it evident that we are dependent on each other?

Ephesians 4:16: From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Romans 12: 3-5: For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

The Church, Christians, the Citizens of the Kingdom of God here on earth, will be most effective when we all do our part, play our position. Pastors have their part, but they can’t do it alone. You, me, we are a member of the body of Christ and we have a function that no one else has. Are you living on “your purpose”?

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Self Assessment-Needed Daily

Minister Mathew Winder challenged us today to take a self assessment of sorts, Mark 4:13-20. It describes the obstacles that can prevent God’s truth from truly impacting our lives. At times the word does not have a chance to be heard and at other times, the word is received but fails to have impact due to distractions or failure to take hold, to really be received by our hearts and minds.

For me, I don’t believe these scenarios necessarily happen in order or reflect a growth pattern. For me, I believe at times I’m in a Mark 4: 20 season, in which I’m fruitful and having a positive impact on God’s Kingdom. Then at other times, I feel like I’m in a Mark 4:18-19 season. I hear and know the word but I let the distractions of this world impact my ability to live out my purpose. The truth is that when we’re not living out our purpose, someone or something suffers because as member of the body of Christ, to be most effective, we all have to do our part.

The word for Ebenezer Baptist Church today was not the most feel good message I’ve ever had (smile), but it was effective for me. For me, I need to take my self assessment daily. Daily? Yes, time in God’s word daily, time in prayer daily, time listening to God’s voice and not my own daily, more focus on showing kindness daily, more focus on doing my part for the kingdom daily. Thanks Mathew for the challenge.

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Blow Your Trumpet

Today at church we celebrated Pastor Dean’s 43 Anniversary. 43 years of shepherding over Ebenezer Baptist Church. Our speak Dr. James A. Hudson, Associate Minister at Emmanuel Baptist Church, in Newport News, VA encouraged our Pastor to continue to “Blow His Trumpet”-continue to share the truth of God’s word. The bible verse referenced was Isaiah 58:1. Blowing his Trumpet is part of Pastor Dean’s call but another fact is that we all have trumpets.

The way we walk, talk, what we do, how we interact with people, how we use our time and how we spend our money are all “sounds” from our personal trumpets. The question is, what sound is coming from your trumpet?

1. Is it pleasant? Filled with kindness, helpfulness, encouragement

2. Is it unpredictable? Filled with encouragement sometimes and discouragement at other times.

3. Is it rising? Is your life in a continuous growth and learning mode? Always striving to be better than you were the day before?

I’m challenged to assess my sound, my trumpet. What is my life saying? Am I having a positive impact on people or do people want to cover their ears when they are around me?

Let’s work on assessing our sound and taking action to make sure that it is pleasant and on key.  What sound is coming from your personal trumpet?

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Strength in Our Cry

Tonight I  saw the movie Courageous at church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Oh my, what a powerful movie. After the movie we discussed the characters and their backgrounds, situations and points in their life that transformed them.

In one scene, Javier, who was recently laid off and had become behind on his bills was calling out to God as he just lost another employment opportunity. He is asking God why this is happening to him, discussing how he has been trusting the Lord, living right and questioning what God wants him to do.

I know there are varying opinions on if we should ever question God and if that displays a lack of faith. Well, tonight, I saw Javier’s faith in his cry. When times got tough and he lacked understanding he asked. He discussed why he was asking and called out to God for help. I did not see weakness. I saw someone going to his source for understanding. I saw a display of faith. Faith in knowing who to go to and who can help. God always welcomes our call.

The Truth Is:

I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me. Psalm 57:2

If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. Exodus 22:23


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Gatorade Guidance

While watching Denver and New England tonight my spirit was moved. Not by the game but by a commercial. In short the commercial aligns with the fact that success is not rooted in the “external” but in the “internal”.  As we navigate through life we have to be able to tap into the strength of our spirit person. If we start to believe that success is all tied up in outward and external things, we will not be able to stand long term. The flesh’s strength is temporary, we have to be motivated from within.

Mark 14:38  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”


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Do you really mean Amen?

We here it all the time in church. The Pastor makes a comment, we like what was said and to show agreement we say “Amen”.  After certain songs we say “Amen”. After scripture is read, we end with “Amen”.

But do you really mean Amen? Do you know what you are saying when you say “Amen”? indicates:

1. As an interjection it means it is so; so be it (used after a prayer, creed, or other formal statement to express solemn ratification or agreement).

2. As an adverb it means verily, truly

In short when you say “Amen” you are indicating that you agree. If you agree than an outcome of that agreement should be an action that aligns with what you agree to. If you agree to accept a job than one should expect you to show up on time and work as required. If you agree that as a parent you should be involved in your child’s education, then assisting with homework and attending PTA meetings displays your agreement.

But here is what our Pastor expressed today. Agreement and logical actions that align with Agreement should be the same with the Word of God. We read the scriptures, we say we agree but is our agreement visible?

The bible says: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31 .  Do you love your neighbor as yourself? Do you treat your neighbor the way you want to be treated?

The bible says:” Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. Proverbs 3:5. Do you trust the Lord with every aspect of your life? Do you trust God for direction or do you place your knowledge, skills, abilities and desire above what you know God is directing you to do?

The bible says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6. When your bills equal more than your money, when your children are not behaving, when you were informed that you lost your job, when the doctor requests x-rays….is your first position one of worry or do you pray? Do you exclaim to God that you trust him but continue to worry?

If we say “Amen”, then we agree and we should be careful to make sure that our actions show that we agree. Do you really mean “Amen” when you read the word of God? Take a look at your actions and you’ll get the answer.





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2012 Resolution-A Do Over

For 2011, I made a resolution but I was not successful, so I’m going to stick with it until I get it right.  Essentially, I’m giving myself a do-over.

I’m keeping my word choice for 2011 as my word choice for 2012.  My word is…..THRIVE!

My declaration, right here, right now, is that in 2012, I don’t just want to live, to do, to go, to be… I want to THRIVE in all areas of my life. I want to reach new heights, have effective and new impacts on God’s Kingdom, be a light in this world, a solid encourager to people that I meet, be all that I can be, be the best me! Whether it is carrying out obligations related to work, home, church, children, family, friends, ministry…whatever, I want do to it in a spirit of Excellence and Victory. I’m tired of just getting by, going through motions and ending up at the same place, a few steps ahead or a few steps behind. This year, I’m going to THRIVE! And I know I can because I know the truth.


Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

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Layaway Angels-An Example of Giving

Not sure if you all have been paying attention to the Layaway Angels movement, but simply put people deemed “layaway angels” were paying off the balance of a person’s layaway that was at jeopardy of being put back due to non-payment.  My aunt actually experienced it herself when she got a call from Wal-Mart indicating that a layaway angel was offering to pay off her layaway balance this past week. She did not accept it but requested that they bless someone else; but I was just so excited to see the “layaway angels” in action.

To me this is a nice example of what this Season is about. God gave his son Jesus that we may have life. The focus was on US, or for purposes of this discussion, OTHERS. The layaway angels are expressing a concern and focus on OTHERS not themselves.  In order to impact the world we can’t just speak the word, read the word and give instructions, we have to DO.  Our actions must display love, kindness and forgiveness at all times.

While all of us are not in position to be layaway angels we can give. We can give of our time, we can give a kind word and we can give of our talents. As you prepare to start this new year, make “Giving to Others” a resolution. I’m confident that the fact of knowing that you helped someone will be more than enough to keep you giving all year long.

The Truth Is:

Deuteronomy 16:17
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.


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Quality vs Quantity For the Kingdom

Sometimes when we first make our commitment to live a life that will please God, one of the first things we began to do is to be “active” as it relates to church and taking parts in positive activities such as:

  • bible study
  • prayer meetings
  • sunday school
  • missionary events
  • retreats
  • visit nursing homes

On the surface all of this seems find and are necessary. But, what we can’t allow to happen is that all these things become routine, requirements and checklists; lacking substance. Once a month you visit the nursing homes and pass out food to the homeless. But how are you different?  Have those events become routine and fulfill your “acts of kindness” goal on your checklist. Do you feel blessed by participating in those events or do you just go and complete your rotation, your task, your time and move on the next one?

We have to be careful to not get so busy in “doing” that we are not focused on the quality of our activities. We have to be careful to leave a word of encouragement, share “Jesus”, be kind and not just perform acts of kindness. We have to make sure everything we do strengthens others and ourselves. Strengthens us in our faith, in the word of God and our ability to navigate through this world and live an upstanding life. Don’t worry about how much you do, focus on assuring that you do your part in helping someone else strengthen their knowledge and relationship with God. When you are not focused on yourself and things that you do, you can have QUALITY impact on God’s kingdom.

God’s Word Says:

Timothy 2: 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Hebrews 13:18

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.


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What If We All Had The Same Fruit In Our Baskets?

I can only imagine how wonderful the world would be if every single person had the same fruit in their basket. If everyone’s behavior was based on the same fruits. Not the same personalities, not the same skin tone, not the same skills, not the same language, not the same hobbies but that we all “act” and “behave” based on the same Fruit Foundation.

Galatians 5:22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

  • If each time we had a disagreement, we expressed our self in love.
  • If each time we made a business deal, we negotiated with kindness.
  • If each time that we entered social situations, we maintained self-control.
  • If each time we saw a broken heart or a hung down head, we spread joy.

I guess some would say that I’m just dreaming and maybe I am. But when I think about a company having a vision, girl and boy scout troops operating based on a set of guidelines, fraternities and sororities having a motto, creed or whatever the term is for how they should carry themselves, it really doesn’t feel impossible. It is a group of people coming together and making a commitment and a promise. So while it is not easy, it really is not impossible for all of our baskets to be the same.

So, let’s do it. Let’s all grab an orange (Kindness), green apple (Gentleness), peach (Love), banana (Self Control), pear (Forbearance), grapes (Goodness), kiwi (Joy), plums (Peace), red apple  (Faithfulness) and put them in our baskets. Put them in our way of thinking, our way of walking, our way of talking, our way of planning, our way of behaving, our way of dreaming, our way of working and our way of playing. If we all did this we could change the world.

I’m pretty confident that we’re all familiar with these fruits, the key is that we put them in our baskets and that we don’t forget our baskets!



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