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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Here I Stand

I stand upon what I know and understand, especially what I believe.

I learned to love more since Marley was born as I learned to let go of my grandmother.

I lived within means and then below my means in order to keep things afloat.

My wife shared her grief and frustration, and I offered the best that I could offer her with a hug.

I cried in the dark. I prayed out in the open air.

My heart was filled with joy and my gas tank has rarely been full.

MANY would say that this is oxymoronic, but I am still standing.

I am still standing in spite of storms in my life.

I am still standing.

Here I am.

Here I stand.

A simple solution: When You Desire to Give
Luke 21:1-3 offers a simple solution for when you desire to give and do not have much to give. The widow observed by Jesus gave out of what little she had to live on to begin with, a quite honorable act. She trusted God through her actions, not by mere words.
Trust God with what you have and give out of that. Praying for more to give makes you earnest. Giving out of what you already have makes you wise and faithful.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Approach for a New Year

One of my favorite jazz cover songs of a classic song is "Everything Must Change." It doesn't matter if it is Nina Simone or George Benson singing it. The lyrics say what needs to be said to every listener. Everything truly must change.

As 2010 approaches us, I just wanted to share with those who are in ministry and business a simple approach that can assist in making the next twelve months more productive than the past twelve months. Every venture needs a plan. I am firm believer that some people can't handle a lot of information unless it is doled out to them in smalldoses. That's why I suggest the one-page business plan. It's a novel concept that can also be incorporated for ministry as well as business.

One-Page Business Plan (Format)
  • Vision: a single statement that tells where you see the business/ ministry in the future
  • Mission: a single statement that provides the purpose for the business/ ministry
  • Objectives: Bullet points of what you need to accomplish to fulfill the mission and reach the vision
  • Strategies: Methods for completing the necessary work to reach objectives
  • Timeline: Detail when each strategy will be implemented and completed over the next twelve months

Start with this outline and pray over it prior to kicking off the year. Those who you serve and who serve with you will greatly benefit fromyour planning. Let you coworkers and team members review your outline and provide additional input, insights and ideas for expanding the plan.

More on business plans:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What I Really Do... Day by Day

Daily, I get up and get connected with God through all sorts of ways; prayer, journal, Bible study, reflection, devotional reading, etc.. I keep my ears open to what God has to say through His Word and my eyes open to what He shows me along my way. I love reading DC Talk's Jesus Freaks and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I write at least two blogs daily on Wordpress and Blogger as well as status updates via Facebook, MySpace and Faith Freaks. I even tweet on Twitter throughout the day. I love to check on the latest information for business and ministry via the internet on my Treo Pro (no, not the PRE...P-r-o) an via my laptop. I add to my list of public articles, poems and other resources via Christian Archives and other sites.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Day, Another Gift

Today is a gift from God. He has allowed us to see today that we might further the expanse of the kingdom of God today by word and deed. Check out and see what God can do when you are ready to call it quits. I think we need to look on today as an opportunity to do great things in His name, not just another day. It's another gift directly from Him. As the gospel melody tells us, 'He didn't have to let it be.'

Monday, December 21, 2009

Service in His Name

I believe that we are to serve God with all that we have in our hearts. With all that we have to offer, our service should speak volumes for itself about our relationship with God. Look at how we approach the end of 2009. There are numerous ways that we can serve and seek to give God the glory and the praise due to His name. We can post to a daily blog online or share via social networks. You can make the most of your free time and volunteer with local agencies or mentor youth through a wide variety of programs. Think about where help is needed and offer your services and time to lend a hand.

Church or Community?

There's a question brewing among the saints. Evangelicals and radicals alike are tossing ideas back and forth. Many folks in Christian circles are trying to figure out what to do during these hard economic times. People are trying to figure out if it is about the church being part of the community or the community being part of the church.

We contemplate the complicated. We mix and mingle a whole lot of mess. In the end, we are left with the simple discovery that there is no better solution than what we had before. The countless ways that we can dream up and scheme up don't seem to matter much because God has already offered the best alternative.

He expects us to be part of the solution to both the community's issues and the church's ills. The church needs to get over itself and recognize that it's not that holy. Church people sin just like evryone else, by thought, word and deed. The church should serve those within the community to help meet unmet needs of the fatherless, homeless, jobless, and others. Our service is not good works if the benefactors are merely other church people. That would make us simply hypocrites. We need to get out into the community and see where we might be able to lend support to existing services and add to the plethora of newly-adapted services needed to reach people at their lowest points as they seek to survive and simply make ends meet. Let the church serve its community, embracing brothers and sisters with all that they have to offer.

The unity of the church will consist
not in organizations,
not in dogmas,
not in liturgies,
not in pious hearts,
but in the word of God
in the voice of Jesus Christ.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stewardship 101

I am convinced that much of how we taught people in previous years transcended beyond the simple, especially in the church. Whatever happened between the old school and new school did a lot to get us away fom the basics of what the Bible teaches us about how we are to live in Christ. We soon discover all of these new terms like atonement, propitiation and reconciliation amid the countless treasures of biblical knowledge available to us. We need to learn about stewardship and that's real. Churches and pastors should teach from the broad spectrum of stewardship rather than Christian giving. Why? Well, let's identify the benefits that outweigh simply teaching about giving. Stewardship is a lifestyle, not a mere act. As stewards, our actions are driven based upon how God has positioned us in this life. We can become better parents, spouses, employees and even employers as we learn more about stewardship. Stewardship teaches us about accountability as well as responsibility. As we share more about wise stewardship, we will reveal more and more about our actions as a response to our relationship with God. Start with Stewardship 101 and we should see a change in the people and their actions. I believe that we can do this. Learn about giving and you can give an offering Sunday by Sunday; learn about stewardship and you can learn to take care of the kingdom business just as you would take care of your own.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Inspired by God

I am honestly inspired by God as I prepare for an unconventional sermon today. Street preaching, as many will agree, requires one to say what needs to be said and shut up and get out of the way. The Lord will lead you further once you get started, but He gives you enough to get started and share with the people in order to make a real connection with them. At least twice per month, we rotate among 3 to 4 preachers to share a brief inspirational message before a line of people seeking food items and clothes from our community giveaway. Our presentation of the gospel has shifted as hearts have been opened by the Word and our own eyes have been opened to the degree of blight and poverty that exists within our community. As I prepare for my message, I see images of black, brown and yellow faces with hope in their dark eyes. I can't help but hear the Lord's words the "least of these" echo over and over again in my spirit. Keep us in prayer as we serve the people once again.

Bayview Charities Food Giveaway
Sponsored by Feeding America
Every 1st & 3rd Friday
8 AM-10 AM
Visit Rev. Bruce's other blog, too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Love as a Motivator

I am motivated by love. The love that the Lord showed through His submission to the Father for the perfect sacrifice that brought about salvation motivates me. It doesn't take a lot of theological insight or denominational research to see that John 3:16 places a greater emphasis on God's love than man's helpless condition. It speaks about God's love being so great that a sacrifice for salvation came about because of it. In my opinion, God sets the example of true love through this sacrificial act on our behalf. Love is a motivator.

Monday, December 14, 2009

End the Cycle

... every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 17:6 (NASB)
At some point, we have to end the cycle of our own destruction. We need to see that we cannot simply turn back to our old ways. Once we slip back into our old mode of operation, we begin to slip further and further away from the ways of God. Instead of being Spirit-led people, we become people who live by instinct. We end up moving out of the light and gradually drift into the darkness. Itis attimes like this when we need to pray to God for forgiveness, admitting that we have gone astray from Him, and submit to God's Spirit, accepting the way that He has called us to go. Let today begin your fresh start at staying on course and ending the cycle that has led so many down the road of destruction.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Think on It

"As a man thinketh. . ." seems to be the type of quote that leads to a lot of discussion on mental stability versus instability, illness versus wellness, and overall mental health issues. Truly, it does not bring much philosphy to mind. However, it address some philosophical junk that has been piling up for years. Descartes sahred: " I think, therefore, I am" as a means of explaining his very existence. Even the African proverb that says,"Man, know thyself" places knowledge and awareness together as akin or at least bedfellows. For the Christian, however, we must remain in think on the things above. not earthly things. Consider where your mind wanders. Think about how things come to mind for a short time, and then they are gone. Let your mind focus on the things above, not the things on earth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Problematic Prophets of Promise

The Apostle Paul was quite clear when stated for the Philippians to beware of dogs and the false circumcision (Phil.3:2). I often wonder why so many people are quick to jump at judging others. We find ourselves calling out someone who appears to be off with their theolgy with every derrogatory statement imaginable. Almost daily, we see the tv-loominng evangelists and the radiowave-riding revivalists setting new lows in destructive behavior with little biblical backing. We find ourselves stuck between the Religious Right and the Moral Majority.

Somewhere along the way, we became misguided by some losers of leaders and some careless CEOs. It's almost like America needs a Bible Belt bailout or a state-by-state spiritual stimulus. We need to rid ourselves of the fakes that have faked us out for so long and taken advantage of our innocence. We will no longer allow them to speak for us and before us as if God has ordained them with a calling to call all of the people together. As per our request, they will cease claiming their prophetic prosperity and no longer lead us astray like false prophets.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Next Steps

The next steps that we need to take when launching our venture will be revealed to us in time. We get information on a "need-to-know" basis. We get what we need to know when we need to know it. It may seem to be the 11th hour, but we need to be prepared for when it comes our way. in that moment, we need to be attentive and ready for action.

Our next steps should include keeping a watchful eye open for what comes next. We may also need to keep our ears open for what the Lord may have to say and share with us. Best of all, we need to be ready for whatever is next. Are you open for what's next?

Recruit through Relationships

We often recruit people who are like us. It just seems natural. We draw peolpe who look or dress like us. In fact, we really get those people who share our personal opinions and viewpoints. They say great minds think alike, but that means little when these minds are geared towards selfish gain.
Look at recruitment in the New Testament. In John, Andrew and John are led to Jesus by John the Baptist, essentially Jesus' cousin. Andrew gets Simon Peter his brother and brings him to Jesus. Nathanael tries to get one of his homeboys to go and meet Jesus. Based upon this type of example, we can learn to recruit through relationships.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Starting Small

If you starting a new venture in business or ministry, here are a few things to keep in mind. The size of your new baby can grow over time. Starting small should not be connected with anything shameful. Start and stay in it for the long haul.

Focus on a "small"start by:
  • Starting small
  • Starting smart
  • Starting smooth

Try it this way and expect to take your next venture all the way to the next level.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not Again

It seems to happen every so often. I think it happens less often nowadays since I am more aware of it. It just creeps up as if it had been lingering for days, waiting on me and ready to pounce at the first open opportunity. I try to avoid it, but it stays nearby. Like I said, since I am more aware, it pops up less frequently but it still shows up.
Truly, it's my other side. it is the part of me that I have tried to fight off daily by going to Lord in prayer and searching out His Word. It's my first nature and it can be troublesome. It gets under my skin because,well, it dwells within me and wages war with the me that I desperately want to be. Prayer helps. Wise counsel does, too. Bible study comforts me and so does praise. Nonetheless, it comes up every now and then, so I beg you to forgive me.
Romans 7:17-19
Amen Me!