Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Cry for Revival …

    I continue to hear the cry for Revival in America, and around the World. However, as I see three things must happen.

 2 Chronicles 7:14 (HCSB) “My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.

·        Transformation of Individuals Hearts within the Church to live a Holy and Righteous Life!

·        Reformation within the Church, pastors and members return to the Biblical Mandate of Christ for the church.

·        Proclamation of the Gospel to a lost generation that needs to hear about the Love of Christ.  Sharing our faith, not our opinions!

 

Personally, when studying the history of Revival … I don’t see Revival happening on the street corners, in the bars, at the workplace, or in the schools until it first happens in the Church!

I like how J.I. Packer pastor and theologian who at the age of 93 recently passed away put it:

          “Revival is the visitation of God which brings to life Christians who have been sleeping and restores a deep sense of God's near presence and holiness. Thence springs a vivid sense of sin and a profound exercise of heart in repentance, praise, and love, with an evangelistic outflow.”

 

It is time for a major Transformation, Reformation, and Proclamation throughout the World by the Church of God!

 

 

 


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Wow ... when a scripture jumps off a page!

Wow!

            Have you ever been reading the scripture and a passage jumps off the page at you?

 

This morning I was reading in the book of Acts and the passage from Acts 10: 34 – 42 just jumped into my spirit, and I felt like I need to share some thoughts that God was showing me today!

In the Holman Christian Standard version, the passage reads:

“34 Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, (The King James states “God is no respecter of persons:” 35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.  36 He sent the message to the Israelites, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all.  37 You know the events that took place throughout Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John preached:  38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him.  39 We ourselves are witnesses of everything He did in both the Judean country and in Jerusalem, yet they killed Him by hanging Him on a tree.  40 God raised up this man on the third day and permitted Him to be seen, 41 not by all the people, but by us, witnesses appointed beforehand by God, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.  42 He (JESUS) commanded us to preach to the people and to solemnly testify that He is the One appointed by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.  43 All the prophets testify about Him that through His name everyone who believes in Him will receive forgiveness of sins.”

 

C.S. Lewis, wrote in his Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer “A man who first tried to guess 'what the public wants,' and then preached that as Christianity because the public wanted it, would be a pretty mixture of fool and knave { words means: a dishonest or unscrupulous man}

 

Can we break this down into simple terms?

       I.            We need to understand that God/Christ Loves Everybody!

Within the Chaos of our day with Black Lives Matters, White Supremacy, Socialism, Political divide like I have not seen in my lifetime. A Pandemic that has taken God-fearing Christians and Pastors, and made them shelter in fear in their homes, and any number of things that distract us from the Word of God, it’s time we focus on HIM. And YES, I believe they all are being distracted from the mandate for the Church, to preach and teach HIM.

a.      John 3:16 … John 3:14-16 Amplified Bible “14 Just as Moses lifted up the [bronze] serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross],  15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life [after physical death, and will actually live forever]. 16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Rev. Don Lougheed who pastored the Flint Baptist Temple in Burton, Michigan for over 50 years and was my pastor throughout my childhood, teens, and as a young adult would always tell us young preachers, “I don’t care where you start in scripture but, always RUN for the Cross”

Let me ask when you are preaching/teaching … What is your agenda, is it to get them to the Cross or something else?

 

     II.            We need to understand that Christ died for all mankind, that is willing to accept Him!

a.      Romans 5:8 in the Amplified Bible “8 But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

There was an old Southern Gospel song that the words “Signs of the Times are Everywhere”.  I heard a preacher say once that if God didn’t come back soon and judge America, He will owe Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. I would never go that far, but I will tell you with the current course we are on it will not be long before God, steps in to judge the nations.

My question is are we preaching Christ so that every individual understand that there is only one way to heaven as found in Acts 4:12 King James Version (KJV) “12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” …  It is irrelevant what celebrity preachers and talk show host think, it is  important that the church is Preaching Jesus!

 

  III.            We need to understand the Apostle message was always Christ-centered!

I love the quote of Richard Baxter, an English Puritan church leader and theologian wrote: “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”

Paul, Peter and the others set the example as they traveled throughout the world with a simple message “Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection” without these simple truths you don’t have any other message.

            I believe we need the cry of John Wesley … when he stated “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.”

What is your purpose in the pulpit today?

To be a motivational speaker, be a great life coach, encourage social change, to raise money for a great building, or any other of number of things.

However, as I see it (and I understand that dozens of my closest friends in ministry will tell me that I’m over simplifying it, and that is ok everybody can have an opinion) it is time for the Pastors of the World to stand in unity and Preach Christ to a lost and dyeing world!

 

 

 

 


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Time for the church to stand!

            In the mist of Chaos is when God work’s best! And believe America is in the mist of chaos. From a pandemic that has killed thousands, to finical struggles that is crippling the America, to riots throughout the country.

            Nobody in his or her right mind believes that these events are not real, and action needs to be taken. However, the only solution is an Old Fashion Holy Ghost God shaking revival.  We are not going to change these events by changing Congress, the President, Governors, or Mayors. We are not going to change these events with investigations, new laws, or name calling. They will only change when the Church stands up and does what it was called to do. 

            God is not interested in the name on your church building, your denominational affiliation, your cultural back, if we are Urban or Rural, the amount in you’re a bank account, the number of people you feed last week, or if you preached in your building this week or from home on Facebook. I believe that God is only interested in one thing … Are you talking about Him and his Love!

            Preachers across the country have gotten to the point they are more worried about preaching on finical security, being successful, and being liked by the community than on what Christ did at the Cross. Let’s be clear what happen in Minneapolis with the Cop and George Floyd was wrong and is SIN condemned in the 10 commandments by God. However, burning down someone’s business, school, church or home is SIN as well, pulling someone from their car and beating them is SIN.

            Honestly pastors I’m scared to death, because I believe judgment is not just coming on America, I believe it coming on us as Pastors and preachers as well …   When Paul wrote that famous quoted words in Romans 1: 16 (NKJV) “For, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, the Jew first and also the Greek”

You ask what makes me scared is my belief that today? The feeling that 90% (this my number from my observation) of the Pastors, Preachers, Evangelist, and missionaries in America can’t say this verse and mean it with a straight face.

            I believed three things most happen ASAP if not we will never see America survive. As a 60-year-old white male that has been preaching and teaching for over 40 years, and someone that call his best friend brother and my children call him uncle (who is an African American Pastor) I have been privileged to preach churches that go across the racial divide throughout my 40 years of ministry. No matter the make up of the church, all white, all black, all Latino, or culturally diversity, it is time for the church and most importantly their Pastors to have one voice of GOD! We must do 3 things!

1.     Pastors, preachers, evangelist, and missionaries must stand up and preach the Gospel of Christ love to every individual.

2.     Pastors, preachers, evangelist, and missionaries must stand up and preach that SIN is SIN, and quite justifying sin because is done by a certain group of people.

3.     It is time for the Pastors, preachers, evangelist, and missionaries to take our place in the mist of this chaos, pandemic, social unrest, hate, and destructive behavior and stand of and declare Christ is the Answer!

The only way this happens is when we as Pastors, preachers, evangelist, and missionaries, quite allowing the politicians, rioters, and news media to dictate the message. We have the message and it has not changed in 2000 years of hope, love, and healing.  Then and only then will we see a Real Revival, Healing of Racism and Social Justice and a Holy Ghost Move of God!

           


Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Amazing Prayer:
         Over the past 40 years of ministry I have read the Prayer of Jabez found in I Chronicles 4: 9 & 10 dozens if not hundreds of times. I have read countless articles, sermons, and even a book on this prayer. However, with all that is happening in the world the Lord has drawn me to this prayer daily for the past two weeks.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 in NKJV reads:
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.”  10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So, God granted him what he requested.

As I read this short prayer, I realized that Jabez was a man of passion and also felt a personal close relationship to God, which allowed him to come into his presence and ask.  

As I have read and meditated on this prayer God showed me a couple of things, that I feel are relevant for each of us today.

1.     We must be Honorable (a right relationship with God) every moment of our life.
2.    As we pray ask (personalize it) for the desires of your hearts. Notice Jabez prayed!
a.    If only you will bless me!
· Throughout all the battles we face in life physical, emotional, financial, relationships, etc.  We understand the reality is clear that what we really need is God blessing today and every day.  
b.    Extend my boarder!
· God expand my business, ministry, sphere of influences so all that you do glorifies God.
c.    Let your hand be with me!
· God I can’t accomplish anything with out you, so please take my hand and lead me where you want me, and stay with me throughout all of life’s challenges.
d.   Keep me from harm!
· In the midst of danger, pandemics, and troubles keep me safe, so that I will be able to rejoice in the glory of your safety.
e.    So that, I will not cause any pain!
· So that I will not cause pain to others, especially so that I do not lead other’s astray in the relationship with you, or make other’s miss knowing you by my actions. Or cause pain to those that I love in my actions, or words.
f.     God grant this request!
· Amen! Amen!



Thursday, March 26, 2020

What do I need to know to help preach the scripture?


When I was a young minister, my pastor Dr. James Lougheed at the Flint Baptist Temple (Burton, Michigan) would remind me all the time that 90% of the time you spend studying, reading and preparing the message, and the other 10% you spend in the pulpit having fun.  

As Pastors, Associate, Youth Pastors, Bible teachers, and college professors it is important that we dig deep (become scholars/students of the word) into the word of God personally, before going into the pulpit or classroom to preach or teach!

Pastors, I found an outline in some old notes in my office, I have no idea who shared them originally, so I took the liberty to use them and added a few thoughts of my own.

What? So What? And Now What?

What do I need to know personally to understand a book or passage of the Bible?

1)    Who wrote the book?
2)    To whom was it written? (was it an individual?  or was it to a church?)
3)    When was it written?
4)    Why did the author write the letter or book, what was his purpose or intention?
5)    What tools or literary devises did the author employ? (did the author use a parable, miracle, or etc.?)
6)    What kind of literature is the book/passage? (i.e. prophecy, poetic, etc.)
7)    Who is speaking in this passage?
8)    What are the key ideas, words, concepts, or issues that are addressed?
a.     How has meaning of the words used in this passaged changed over time?
b.     What current terms would evoke similar images or thoughts?
c.     What are similar issues in our culture?
9)    If the passage is a narrative, what are the characters like? It is important we try to see the story from their point of view.

So What? Now that I have a sense of the passage/book, how shall I use the information?

1)    How does the passage speak to me personally?
a.     What does it mean?
b.     What does it move me to do/not do?
c.     Is there discomfort/conviction created by this passage?
2)    Does my church feel, think, or believe the same way I do?
a.     If not, why not?
b.     What is my role at this point in the church?
3)    How can I recreate the discomfort/conviction by this passage for the church members?
a.     Do the literary forms suggest anything?
b.     How can I recreate the movement of the passage?
4)    What shall we do as a result of the text?
a.     Is it a matter of belief, values, or action?
b.     Is immediate response called for, or longer-term transformation?

Now What?

1)    Begin to prepare the message itself.
2)    It is important to take the first century concepts and culture and make it relevant today?
3)    Develop images, stories, or illustrations that you want to share
4)    Make the abstract concrete and general specific (Make it understandable)
5)    What is the purpose of this message?

Suggestions:

1)    Do not run to commentaries or other external resources too quickly, live with the passage yourself for a time.
2)    Do not begin writing the message too quickly, let the ideas from your study brew for a while.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID-19


The COVID-19 has swept across the globe causing fear like I have not seen in my lifetime. I understand that much of the fear is a result of constant updates from the government, medical professionals, and the opinions of the news reporters.

As I spoke to the patients at the psychiatric hospitals in chapel this past weekend I shared simply that God is not about the Fear Factor, God is about challenging us to take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

We have gotten good at taking care of ourselves physically we are able to self-quarantine if needed, wash our hands a hundred times a day, stay six feet from other people, don’t shake hands, and use gallons of hand sanitizer. However, the reality is that we are not as good with the other two.

When it comes the Emotional part, I always go to Philippians 4:6 in the Christian Standard Version that reads “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything  through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made know to God.”  Worry is an emotion the dictionary defines as a Verb (an action) “give way to anxiety or unease; allows one's mind to dwell on difficulties or troubles” it is time as Christians we stand on the Promise of God. God states clearly, I will supply all your needs. However, remember he doesn’t promise all you’re wants. The first NEED we must believe that he is going to provide is “PEACE of Mind” and live in the knowledge that God is still God and in control even when we are dealing with the COVID-19 virus, that is causing havoc around the world, and yes even in my own city.

The other place that things like the COVID-19 creates fear and doubt is in my spiritual walk. As I shared with the patients Sunday, if I’m not careful I will allow the uncertainty of the world cause me to struggle in my faith.  Hebrew’s 11:1 state in the New King James version  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I must have faith God is handling the situation even when I can’t see him doing it.

I shared three relevant prayers with them, and I believe they are relevant for everyone of us today. I think that God wants us to keep things simple, especially in times like this.

1)    I prayed (encouraged them to pray) for God’s hand of protection around the individual’s life spiritually, emotionally, and physically through times of uncertainty.

2)     I prayed (encouraged them to pray) for God’s hand of protection around the individual’s family and friends that they would also be touched spiritually, emotionally, and physically through this time of uncertainty.

3)    I prayed (encouraged them to pray) for our government (leadership) that they would deal in facts and through God’s grace find solutions that will bring an end to this uncertainty quickly.

It is time for the church universal (worldwide) to slow down, focus on God, pray and seek his healing and solution throughout this time. We have the power to bring peace, healing, and understanding through this time of uncertainty if we just do it Biblically and not in the worlds panic mode.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

The loss, the grief, the pain!


              I was recently asked for excerpt from my book Greif: Helping Christians Coping with the STORM of Loss by the website www.Grieving.com, that provides resources to individuals dealing with the loss of a loved one.  I shared the following with them from my book:

"Grief is a reality that each of us will cope with more than once in our lifetime. The loss of a loved one, a friend, a pet, our home, our job, or maybe divorce. However, understanding how grief affects us will help us cope with the devastation to our emotional and even physical lives. Understanding the stages of grief is essential to developing healthy coping skills for living a successful life."

              With recent events surrounding the death of Kobe Bryant, and other high-profile individuals such as Jim Lehrer who many of us grew up watching on the news, local Cincinnati politician Todd Portune, and actor Stan Kirsch grief has once again moved to the forefront of the America thinking.  However, the reality is that with these famous people having public funerals and major new coverage we will often over look those around us who are suffering from the loss of a family member to cancer or heart attack, loss of mobility due to a surgery, or the devastation of the death of a pet. Understand I’m not saying we do this intentional, we are simply overwhelmed by the coverage on television. and social media.

              As I watch the television, social media such as Facebook and others.  There is a great deal of coverage of the famous quotes, actions, and yes even family engagement of the famous people that have died. However, there is very limited information being provided on how to cope with the loss.
              I would challenge my friends, pastors, and yes even fellow chaplains to use these events to help people understand the resources that are available and develop the tools to face Grief when it arises in their life.

The great writer C. S. Lewis wrote after the death of wife, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” It is imperative that we help those we come in contact that maybe struggling the loss of these famous individuals, or more importantly those that are struggling with their own personal loss to understand we care and are here to help.

There are several things we can do to help individual to cope with loss when it comes, weather it a national hero, or personal loss:
·       Acknowledge the loss.
·       Help individuals to understand the stages they will go through and provide tools as they go through each of them.
·       Listen to them, and allow them to share feeling and thoughts
·       Encourage them to focus on the future even when they don’t see one.

If you would like more information on coping with grief, please check out my book @  https://www.revdonallenjr.com/p/books.html

Cry for Revival …

     I continue to hear the cry for Revival in America, and around the World. However, as I see three things must happen.   2 Chronicles 7...