Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church Shooting Impacts All Of Us
June 18, 2015

Almost 40 years ago I began preaching the gospel of Christ.   What happened last night in Charleston, South Carolina at the Emanuel AME Church touched me dearly.  Weekly, preachers, pastors, bishops, ministers, elders hearts are made glad to see individuals assemble midweek after a long day at work, challenges with health and so many other day to day matters.  My heart dropped as I prepared for bed at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday night following a great day serving God.  I had an excellent evening of fellowship at our 6:00 p.m. church meal, being blessed by a wonderful 7:30 p.m. study on the topic “Masters and Servants” only to arrive home and on the 10:00 p.m. news to hear about a church being targeted as the sight of a mass hate murder.

The Emanuel AME Church is considered the mother church of the AME churches in America.  It was reported that 9 of the 13 people assembled to pray and study the Word of God and encourage each other was killed by an individual who entered as a wolf among sheep.  The gunman, just like a wolf among sheep,  had no regard for anyone or anything except their own self serving desires.

The common ground for every place of assembly in the United States is not what the religious positions were of those inside the Emanuel AME Church, but rather the fact that it was a place of assembly for those who believed in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  The common ground is the embrace of Jesus as the one Lord of the Christian community and for that purpose were they assembled on last night together.  If this could happen to Emanuel AME, it could also happen in any place of worship in the United States.  It’s my prayer today that collectively we can all rally around the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in support of God, Christ the Holy Spirit and the desire they had to learn more about God’s will for their lives.

Every person in the entire world who embraces the deity of Christ and the Sovereignty of God should grieve and embrace and support the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in time of their grief.  Rejoice with them who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

“Bucket List” The Rules…..I’m Doing Me Right Now
June 4, 2015

It was December 15, 2007 when the Hollywood blockbuster “Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman hit the world by storm.  The movie cost about $45 million to produce and brought in over $175 million dollars.  The primary plot centered around two terminally ill patients who with nothing to loose deciding to toss restraint to the wind and go out with a bang by doing anything and everything they had always wanted to do but had not yet completed.

Bucket list poster.jpg

Recently an American was on a safari through a lions park where signs in large print were posted warning those driving through the park to keep the vehicle windows up at all times.  For some strange reason according to tour guides in the park people will ignore the verbal and written cautions as if they have nothing to loose and are saying to the world around them “Bucket”.

ABC News recently posted the following regarding the lion incident:

The park where the mauling occurred allows lions to roam while tourists drive through the preserve. A park official said that although visitors are ordered to keep their windows closed, the woman was taking pictures through an open window when the lioness lunged. The vehicle’s driver, believed to be a local tour operator, was also injured and was hospitalized.

South African media have reported that an Australian tourist was bitten by a lion earlier this year while driving through the park with his windows open and a teenager who tried to cut through the park on a bicycle was attacked by a cheetah.

The park official said the lioness would not be killed, but was kept away from tourists after the attack.

Most recently near Jackson, Mississippi a family attending the high school graduation ceremony of a loved one made a decision to ignore the directives of the school district to wait until the end of the awarding of diplomas before cheering and applauding in order for all students to be able to not only hear their name called but to maintain a certain dignity for the commencement ceremony.  A family came to the decision to “Bucket” the schools request and live, celebrate and call out the name of their loved one as if this would be the final commencement they would every attend.

http://news.yahoo.com/video/mississippi-family-members-charged-cheering-225635150.html

Boundaries, regulations, expectations and rules are often in place to protect not only an individual but also the specific institution or environment as well.  The Old Testament nation of Israel continually found themselves in danger and were constantly faced with grief and death because of their decision to “Bucket” many of Gods boundaries, regulations and expectations that were in place to keep them safe.

Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

At some point our country, our communities, our families and our churches must accept the reality that putting laws on a “Bucket List” will destroy the very fabric of this world as God intended.

Domestic Violence – It’s Clearly A Crime – Just Not Clearly Defined In Legal Circles
September 8, 2014

Intimate partner violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This report presents trends in intimate partner violence by sex, and examines intimate partner violence against women by the victim’s age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, and household composition. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

Take a look at this video and decide what type of crime is being committed?  Is it simple assault, attempted murder, a felony, or a misunderstanding?  Depending upon the officer, the prosecutor, who the person committing the action is or who the individual on the receiving end of the action is, determines how the incident is handled.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq

Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.

According to The U.S. Department of Justice in a July 1996 National Institute of Justice report to Congress under the Violence Against Women Act:

Within the criminal justice system, data collection is complicated by the division of
responsibilities across many independent entities—law enforcement agencies,
prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Although some local jurisdictions have
established integrated criminal justice information systems, most criminal justice data
are fragmented along operational boundaries. The continued difficulties in obtaining
complete and accurate criminal history records were cited as one indicator of the
inability to track individuals as they move through the criminal justice system or
recidivate for subsequent crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice 1996 report revealed another eyeopener:

Multi-jurisdictional—multiple State and local agencies
Because of victim and offender mobility, agencies increasingly must be able to share
information across State and local boundaries. There are several Federal and regional
efforts under way to either provide mechanisms to do this or to encourage the
development of these systems. Achieving this goal will take time, however, and many
technical and organizational obstacles will have to be overcome.
One situation where this has been identified as a serious problem is with court
protection orders because officials outside of the originating jurisdictions generally do
not have ready access to the information required for enforcement. In addition,
policies and standards for issuing court protection orders can vary from area to area, making enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries a complex issue for local authorities.

The absence of a national definition of domestic violence causes irregularities in the
inclusion/exclusion of more informal relationships such as current or ex-boyfriends/
girlfriends, roommates, and cohabitants.  For example, Michigan and Kansas
have added a box on their crime incident report forms that officers must mark to
indicate whether an incident was domestic violence related. Other States (e.g.,
Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin) have separate forms for reporting domestic
violence. The special domestic violence report form enables States to collect offense specific
information that may be more difficult to include in a general crime incident
report form. Use of a separate form, however, does carry the physical and
psychological burden of additional paperwork, which increases the likelihood that
officers will fail to complete or submit a report.

Because domestic and sexual violence victims can face possible reprisals by the
offenders, a heavy burden of embarrassment, and other repercussions, obtaining their
cooperation can be extremely difficult for law enforcement and other agencies. The
act of reporting domestic violence and some sexual violence incidents may be
considered by victims as a last resort or as a way to make an irreparable break in a
relationship. Consequently, the victims may perceive reporting as an admission of
personal failure that they cannot face or believe is avoidable.
Additionally, the problem of adequate training of personnel in handling these cases
often was cited in the project panel discussions and survey responses. As many
jurisdictions are recognizing the seriousness of these offenses, new laws and policies
are being adopted, which in turn may require time to train all relevant staff in new
procedures and to fully implement them.

For all the above reasons, under reporting of domestic and sexual violence can be
more of a problem than for other types of offenses. Although efforts can be made to
overcome some of the factors hindering accurate reporting, some barriers may never
be completely surmounted given the nature of these crimes and the social and
behavioral issues involved.

Because identifying domestic violence crimes may involve consideration of a criminal
act, the relationship between the victim and offender, and the offender’s motive for
committing the act, properly classifying cases can be more difficult than for other
types of offenses. For example, a crime incident that would normally be considered a
property crime (e.g., a burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, or vandalism) could be
classified as a domestic violence incident if the perpetrator’s intent is to harass or
intimidate the victim. This may require the investigating officers to go beyond the
facts initially presented for a complaint to its possible underlying circumstances.
An additional complication for data reporting is that some States have not mandated a
specific domestic violence offense with which to charge an offender. In these
instances, the offender is charged with another offense, but his case may be flagged as
a domestic violence case for reporting purposes. Other States have broader family
violence statutes that include domestic violence.

As early as 1930 the Uniform Crime Reporting System has been in existence and all states contribute data into it in one form or another.  The UCRS was not mandatory however.  In 1980 the FBI replaced the old 1930 UCRS with the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS.  The new NIBRS is not mandatory for states to enter data.  Whether it’s the old UCRS reporting or the newer NIBRS reporting system, neither system has a clearly defined category for Domestic Violence under Category A or Category B Crimes. 

Time has come for our communities, schools, churches, businesses and families to demand that individuals who commit domestic violence be held accountable for their behaviors.  Men are to honor women as vessels of high value.  Women are to esteem men as one who is her point man or one who is willing to go before her.  Behaviorally, whenever domestic violence presents itself, it is certain that someone is functioning below God’s expectations.  There is never a time when domestic violence should be accepted or explained away in a civilized society.

God Is NOT DEAD….Now That’s One Worth Seeing!!!!!
April 7, 2014

What would you do if you were faced with the following dilemma:  In order to insure a 30% raise, or to increase your potential for landing the career promotion of your dream just say publicly “God Is Dead”.  What would you do if you were promised by the most desired (finest, cutest) bachelor or bachelorette in the entire world that not only will they go out with you, but they would love to marry you after you say publicly “God Is Dead”.  Finally, what would you do if you were promised perfect health, endless access to all the money you will ever need in your entire lifetime and that of your children’s children if you simply say publicly “God Is Dead”.  Once again I just returned from watching another movie.  The movie I saw today was God Is NOT Dead.  A freshman college student choose to stand in the Power of God’s might against an atheist professor who assured a class of 80 students a 30% grade advantage if the would simply write on a sheet of paper three words and sign their name and then turn the paper in to him.  The three words were, “God Is Dead”.  Any person refusing to follow the professor’s directive would likely fail the class.  One student who held faith in God as a Christian refused to sign his faith away and was under threat of failure in class, his girlfriend of six years left him.  Another young lady who was Muslim was caught by her family listening to the Bible on her cell phone and was beaten and thrown out of her families home.

 

Wallpapers

The only thing that made the above individuals different from their peers was their internal understanding of the power inside them through the power of God through Christ.  The difference the individuals made by being examples of power ultimately lead a movement inside many others to unleash the power that was already inside them.  The movie did an excellent job conveying an attitude that power is activated by each persons faith.  The movie did an excellent job conveying the message that once power is understood and embraced, indeed one is capable of doing all things through Christ who keeps powering them.  There are many other scenes in this movie where individuals were being robbed by the bank robber of their soul.  The bank robber is always the devil and he was dressed to the nines in deceptive clothing of education, corporate power, importance in the eyes of people.  For two hours the theater was captivated by watching the power of God work through people operating in their purpose calling doing battle against character after character operating outside their God given potential attempting over and over again to discourage individuals by making withdrawals after withdrawals into their soul.  The ending of the movie was so uplifting.  When a person walks in the power of God’s might they not only are growing closer to God personally but also may be the example of power to others causing them to allow God to power their life.  This is not just a feel good movie but rather a movie that challenges individuals to unleash their best work every day even as stated by Todd Henry author of Accidental Creative and Die Empty.  This movie was almost like watching onscreen today’s sermon about The Baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:13 – 17.  Jesus understood his purpose and would not allow anyone to talk him into a shortcut or bypassing the path to purpose.  Are you living life before the world in a manner that cry out God Is Not Dead?  In your work world do you conduct yourself in a manner that cry out God Is Not Dead?  In your dedication to prayer, worship, study of God’s Word do you model a message to those you are in touch with that God Is Not Dead?  When was the last time you invited a person to come and worship with you in order for them to experience assembling with others who serve The Living God who is Good All The Time and All The Time He Is Good.  Invite three people to come with you this Sunday to experience The God Who Is Not Dead….that is unless you have signed the piece of paper and passed it in that has made a statement to those in your circle that your God is not able. 

1.  You show God is not able by never talking about how he has delivered you

2.  You show God is not able by not encouraging other to try him for themselves

3.  You show God is not able by not making Him a priority in your own personal life

This movie is a must see. Why?  Because God Is Not Dead.

Noah The Movie…..NOT REALLY
March 31, 2014

Did you know that Noah was protected by giants called “Watchers”?  Neither did I.  Did you know that a direct ancestor of Adams son Cain ten generations after Cain went into the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that only Noah and his wife and his three sons and the wife of Shem were the only people to enter the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Shem’s wife bore twin girls while in the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Ham murdered that descendant from Cain while on the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that Methuselah prior to Noah beginning building the Ark gave Noah a seed to plant and all of a sudden trees sprang up to provide wood for the building of the Ark?  Neither did I.  Did you know that just before the flood Ham went looking for a wife and almost got her back to the Ark but she was killed?  Neither did I.  The just released movie Noah is an absolute mockery to Old Testament History.  I now understand why this movie wasn’t recommended for children.  My 10 year old grandson would have been as frustrated as we were after sitting through distortion after distortion after distortion through the entire movie.  Oh, I almost forgot, did you know that Noah’s two other sons Ham and Japheth had no wives when they landed on dry ground and exited the ship?  Neither did I.  Did you know that prior to Methuselah’s death he healed Shem’s wife of her inability to bear children?  Neither did I.  That is until today when I saw the movie Noah starring Russell Crowe.

Noah’s Ark no kind of escape planBuilding Noah's Ark

 

I have never been so dumbfounded by a movie in all my life.  Even my wife who has accused me in times past of picking holes in movies just to be critical walked away as frustrated and disappointed as I.  When the movie ended people of all races and probably all religious backgrounds were completely silent.  A better description would be shocked, bewildered, puzzled, feeling tricked, feeling as if the movie makers used the name Noah to trick Godly people into the theater.  This movie was an absolute mockery to the Genesis account of the life of Noah and the great flood.  I would say under normal conditions for you to go and see it for yourself, but in this case I suggest you send the cost of your ticket to a homeless shelter, or donate it to a cause at a local school, or put a few extra dollars in your churches contribution plate.  This movie was terrible.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  Except to take time and read Genesis chapters 6 through 8 for yourself to see if any of the things that I saw in this movie are found in the text.

 

Aren’t You Tired Of Hearing This: “PUT ON YOUR BIG BOY/GIRL $%^&
March 18, 2013

We live in a culture where fads come and go ranging from hair styles to clothing to in vogue paint colors.  The most recent fad that is sweeping the country is the phrase, “it’s time to put on your big boy or girl panties”.  When I first heard the phrase I wondered silently to myself why are so many people saying such a thing.  After deliberating for an extended amount of time and doing tireless research, I am certain that I have found the absolute answer to the popularity of the phrase.  By the way, all total it required less that 5 minutes to gather, assimilate and render my findings on the topic at hand.

First, I found that people rarely use this phrase when speaking to or about little children.  Second, I thought it was significant the frequency in which people utilized the phrase when referring to their assessment of other people’s thoughts, actions and attitudes about matters.  Finally, I found the vast majority of individuals using the phrase toward others, were shamelessly attired in “Big Boy or Big Girl Panties” but were conducting themselves as selfish little children and would have been better off wearing “Little Boy or Little Girl Panties”.  With what shall I compare this generation?  they are like children, playing in a market place, who cry to their friends.  We played the flute for you, but you did not dance.   We wailed, but you did not mourn.  Matthew 11:16-17  The afore text isn’t regarding children but adults who presented themselves as the authorities regarding other peoples thoughts, actions and attitudes.  These were the people who presented themselves as those capable of delivering others from the evils that engulfed them.

Sadly those “Big Boys and Big Girls” according to Jesus were the ones who should be learning a lesson from the “Little Boys and Little Girls”.  In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, asking, “Who is the greatest in heaven’s kingdom?”  He called a little child, and set him in their midst, and said, indeed, I assure you, that unless you turn and become as little children, you will never enter heaven’s kingdom.  Therefore, he who will humble himself as this little child is the greatest in heaven’s kingdom.  Matthew 18:1 – 5

My concluding findings can best be put in the form of a question:  Is it sometimes important for Big Boys and Big Girls to make sure they are first ready to change garments?