Monday, August 30, 2010

Guard Up

Hey everybody. I pray that everyone's week has started off right. If not, keep persevering and obeying the Word of God. It's gonna be all right. Tonight's post is all about defense. After all, defense wins championships, right? Put up the #1 offense against the #1 defense and the majority of the time, defense wins.
With that said, one of my favorite football players is Ray Lewis. Talk about a defensive mind. It's like he knows what the offense is planning before the offense knows. Not much of a Ravens fan, but I'll rock Ray's jersey anytime. So, what's the metaphor? Why do we need to guard up? And from whom? You guessed it....nosy church folk.
Here's something to ponder. Why are some nosy church folk—who love dippin' into other folks' business—the first ones to fight when someone dips into theirs? Pause. Think about that. They're 38 Hot. Haymakers and F-bombs, know what I mean? Not church folk? Really? Yes, really. Something to think about, right?
Now I'll be the first to admit. The mind is inquisitive. It's always looking for information. And if we're not careful, we'll salivate when busybodies start dramatizing something juicy. I know I would. I NEED GOD to keep me straight, or I'd be just as nosy as anyone else. We need to let the Holy Spirit's influence kick in when our ears prick up to a story we have no business hearing. Gotta Guard Up. Common sense should tell us that if we fill our minds with junk, then junk is coming out. And believe me, nosy church folk have a lot of garbage at their disposal. That's all they dig for. Trash!!
So, we need to guard up in at least two ways. 1) Don't let your spirit be someone else's garbage can. The ole cliche says, "If a dog will bring a bone...then he'll carry one." If nosy church folk are quick to tell us something about someone else, they are just as quick to tell others what they know about us. And you KNOW that's right. 2) Keep folk out of YOUR business. Don't feel bad when you wish to keep your private affairs private. Your affairs are no one else's business. Nosy church folk won't cause me to lose sleep, no matter how mad they get with me. They're mad and I ain't sorry.
Test case. Nosy church folk are so obvious it's funny. Ever heard this: "I was just in the neighborhood, decided to stop by" Now, you live WAY out the way, in the sticks somewhere, a place that'll fry up your GPS, but they're just in the neighborhood? Come on! Nah...they were looking for you. I've seen it done. Or in my case, when Sandra and I first got engaged, church members took a ride down to the Hue City (i.e. ship where I was stationed in the Navy) to find out more about me. Concern? Negative. It was nosiness...plain and simple.
I'm very careful about who I let in. And you should be careful too. Before you know it, those nosy churchgoers will spread your business in the church, in the workplace, in the beauty shop and in the streets. I encourage you to be more discreet. Guard Up and shut em down.
Remember...DEFENSE wins championships.
Stay tuned and stay prayerful
Your brother,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Remove The WOOD

Hey everybody. I pray that everything's good with you. Been a couple of days since my last post, and I apologize for that. Don't want to wear you out though (lol). And not because I haven't had anything to jot down—heaven knows there's enough to talk about when it comes to churchgoers—but we've been busy. You KNOW how that goes. Ministry is tough. Work is tough. Times are tough. With all that going on, the last thing we need in our lives is gossiping church folk stirring up mess in the lives of other people.

Read an interesting Proverb on yesterday, but I was just too tired to blog on it last night. It was Proverbs 26:20. It says "For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases," (ESV)—English Standard Version. Check this out.

If you stop adding wood to a flame, the flame will eventually fizzle out. So, just like fire goes out by a lack of wood or fuel, difficulties disappear when there's no gossiper going around perpetuating nonsense. Get rid of "talkin" church folk, and the worship experience changes for the better. There's a difference between churchgoers and worshippers.

I can tell you why those in church who know nothing about us can't stand us. Church folk been running their mouths. Spreading rumors. Spreading gossip. Talking lies. Dramatizing everything they say. What kind of life do these "whisperers" have? Not much of one, I'm afraid. If they were busy trying to solve their own problems, they'd have less time stirring up problems for you and I. Know what I mean?

Remove the wood!!!

I can't understand how church folk can have the audacity to ruin people's lives, destroying relationships and wreaking havoc in God's house. Yet, they testify—ooops, I mean, test-a-LIE—about the goodness of God. Shouting. Screaming. Waving their hands. Speaking in tongues and all that. Talkin from both sides of their mouth. Praising God in one breath, and tearing down their church family in the next.

SHUT UP, already!!! Tired of that foolishness. Am I angry? Yes. Who else is? I enjoy friendships. I enjoy relationships. And what angers me is someone allowing the devil to stir up unholy passions and making conflict more difficult to settle. Why should I have to explain myself to someone cutting his/her eyes at me and we've never had one conversation? How do you know ME life that? They don't. They're basing their biases and perceptions on the chatter of unholy, spiritless church folk. Some folk love gossip and will continue to hear it AND speak it.

My brothers and sisters in the Lord. Don't allow the devil to use your mind for his garbage. God demands unity. Not uniformity...but unity. Because we can all wear dark suits and white dresses and look UNIFORM. But if my smile is a disguise for hate, our UNIFORM is meaningless. We may look alike, but we're not thinking and feeling alike.

Remove the wood!!!

Not telling you to disrespect others, but if we are to have holy and compassionate relationships with one another, we cannot tolerate slander. Let's surround ourselves with people who love God and love each other. I love yawl. (...we'll talk about Character Killers in upcoming posts)


Stay tuned and stay prayerful

Your brother,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

They're Hatin' On Your Gift

I sure wish I could sing, yawl. Unfortunately, God hasn't blessed me with that gift. My voice is horrible. I'm more of a shower artist, know what I mean? Sandra, my beautiful wife, can tell you about those numerous James Brown and Ray Charles concerts I've had in the master bath. Don't laugh, because many of you do it too. Stop frontin' (LOL).

But I have enough sense to appreciate those in the church who do sing with power and anointing. But not just singing; whatever gifts God has given His children, I've learned to appreciate. How do I do it? I focus on what He gave me. Time out for trying to be the next person or hatin' on a brother/sister because of a gift I wish I had. If I'm not careful, jealousy will rise up in me, and before I know it, I'm hatin' on the gift. Have to be on guard, lest I end up like Cain (cf. Genesis 4).

Unfortunately, not everyone in the church shares the same sentiment. Churchgoers want to be the center of attention for EVERYTHING. They want to be the bride at every wedding, the teacher at every seminar, the headliner at every concert, the soloist in every choir, and even the corpse at every funeral.

Don't put their name in the church bulletin, and watch the fireworks!

If God has blessed you with an awesome gift, they hate you. Preach better than SOME pastors, and they'll start slinging rocks at you from the pulpit and in Bible study (...more on that in another entry). They'll take cheap shots at you and use the Bible to do it. All because they have control of the microphone and the adoration of all their Biblically-illiterate flunkies. Come on now, you KNOW I'm telling the truth. Aight....I'm sorry, I'll be nice.

But for real. When God uses you to bless His people, don't the haters try to cut you down? I'm feeling you. They'll orchestrate a rumor about you. They'll tell folks all about your business. They'll rally other haters to assault you. They'll ostracize you from their fellowship. They roll their eyes, suck their teeth and commence the neck action. Right? I know...been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

Here's a word for you. Hang in there. God knows how to shut your enemies up. He has His own army in the church that'll help build you up, encourage you in the Lord and push you to limits you'd never thought you'd reach. Continue to pray. Focus. Stay busy in the things of God and keep being obedient to the Lord.

They may hate on your gift. But when God decides to blow you up, they'll have no choice but to accept it. Stay humble.

Peace and love to you. (...more to come)

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Your brother

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cunning Approach - Part II

One of my favorite preachers is John Piper, who heads a ministry called Desiring God out of Minneapolis. Something I heard him say about "flattery" just stuck with me. Nothing all that deep, but it "stuck" with me. Don't remember the phraseology verbatim, but it went something like this. "When someone flatters you, they're trying to take something from you." Like I said, not all that deep, but something worth pondering over. We're not talking about a compliment here, we're talking about excessive praise motivated by self-interest. The culprits are sychophants, plain and simple, no other way to explain them.

My sisters, be on high alert for churchgoing sycophant brothers. "Did he just say...?" Yeah, I said it and I meant it. They're in church and they're on the prowl. As I stated in a previous blog, not everyone is serious about God. Watch the flatterers and pay VERY close attention to the brothers always quoting the Scripture. Most of the time, it's out of context. Many of them are trying to impress you. Now, there's nothing wrong with sincere compliments, really, but discernment needs to kick in high gear to distinguish whether it's delightful or disastrous.

Cunning. Smooth. He might be trying to take something from you!

Some figure they can get away with it, because they're not that many men in church, unfortunately. So, some of them see you—my sisters—as a buffet. I've heard them talk. Felt like hitting a couple of them. For real. I am serious about Christ and I have a burning hatred for fakery. Am I perfect? No! Far from it. But one thing I can't stand...Cunning Approaches.

That's the negative, but what's the positive? A friend of mine rebuked me today concerning my blog, and it was a healthy one. She wanted to make sure I wasn't just dwelling on the negative things happening in church. She was right. So, what's the positive? There are true brothers in the church who are honestly seeking the Lord. And I applaud them. Not all church brothers are dangerous sycophants. Praise God for that.

Hope you've been blessed and informed. More to come....

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.

Your brother,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Cunning Approach - Part I

I can't stress enough how important it is to stay alert when interacting with churchgoers. Just a shout to my sisters real quick. Won't deal with how the brothers approach you in this entry, but we'll talk a bit about how the other sisters in church come at you. And it's crazy, because they spring up in a variety of ways. We'll talk about just one right now, all right? Cool. Now, in case you didn't know, these sisters—churchgoers—are fishing for information. 411 operators, know what I mean? And the best way they can do that is to befriend you. Trust me, I've seen it done. And please don't have a good-looking man with you. They'll dig deep to find out about him not you. Hate to say it, but church-going sisters—not worshippers—but church-going, get together and talk about what men they'd like know....get with? And many of the brothers they talk about are married. Heaven forbid he's a good preacher. So, this cunning approach they use is the guise of friendship, just so they can jack your marriage up.

I encourage my true sisters to stay close to Christ. Don't be taken in by the smile and the false concern. Now, the Lord has His remnant in the church, and I encourage you to get to know them. Otherwise, you'll be hurt by the so-called "sanctified" ones. Be safe.

I invite dialogue, comments and criticisms. At least we're talking.


Your Brother

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eyes Wide Open

My friends, listen up. A lot of them smile, but they aren't tickled. Who? Church folk, who else? It's important we enter the worship experience with eyes wide open, lest the churchgoers hit us from the blind side. Please don't believe everyone in church is serious. Only worshippers are serious. Churchgoers are sinister. Watch out for the cunning approach! (...more on that in the next entry). Watch out for all their flowery words, because in the midst of the bouquet is a dagger. Protect your heart. Protect your mind. Protect your spirit.

In the coming weeks, we'll be sharing some helpful tips, that I believe will help you to navigate through all the murky waters. Sometimes we have to push through the weeds to get to the pearls. Church Folk can be dangerous, yes. But there are some genuine saints who have a passion for God and who desire to see us persevere. So, it's critical that we move in with EYES WIDE OPEN.

More to come


Your brother

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Start Up

In 2002, I wrote my first book, Church Folk Can Be Dangerous People. Unfortunately, nothing has changed in 2010. Just when you think they couldn't get any lower, they get lower. Trust me when I tell you, folks. Look up the word "danger" in the dictionary and you might find a few church members. Nah, I'm just playing. But for real, what's the problem? What's up with all the gossip, fighting and backbiting? It's a shame when an author can continue to write books about the subject and never run out of things to talk about. I wrote my second book in the Church Folk series in 2004. Shock and salvation, right? What a concept.

Thinking about dropping another book in the series next year. Some of you might be wondering why I'd write about such a sensitive topic. Because I'm tired of seeing people searching for healing but finding hell. It doesn't please Christ and it destroys people. We'll be touching on some sensitive issues here at the blog in coming weeks.

Stay tuned and stay prayerful.


Your brother,