Sunday, January 22, 2012

Second opportunities

It is unusual for me to write a blog on a Sunday morning but I was impressed by the Holy Spirit to share this message with you.  Today is the twenty second day of a new year. Are you doing anything different? Are you pursuing your purpose? I hope that every day is a day where you live in the Presence of God demonstrating the power of God as you receive the provisions of God.

I want to encourage you today to be ready for second opportunities that are coming your way in 2012. I believe with all my heart that God is going to present many of His children with second opportunities this year.

A second opportunity is God bringing you the same experience that you missed the last time He presented you with it. And please understand that it is not my intention to cast you into the land of regret where you bemoan past opportunities that you now realize has past you by. I have great news for you, many of those opportunities that you let get away are coming back. You may be asking the question how do I know this?

Because God gave me this message to preach today at the New Mine Creek Church and the Holy Spirit got me up early this morning to write this message to you.

In St Mark chapter six Jesus came to Nazareth a second time. The first time He came to Nazareth is recorded in St Luke chapter four. The good people of Nazareth rejected Jesus the first time. They missed an opportunity of a lifetime, receiving God who came to deliver them from darkness into light.

But two years later Jesus came back. He came to give the town where He had grown up and where many of His family lived a second opportunity to receive Him and see God move in their community. But unfortunately they missed this second opportunity to receive Jesus. In a few months He would be dying on a cross and a few day later He would be resurrected and forty days after that He would ascend to heaven.

Like the people of Nazareth many of us have missed God opportunities in our past but I believe strongly that 2012 is a going to be a year of second opportunities. And I'm not talking about new opportunities I'm talking about missed opportunities. And so be ready to receive what you passed over the last time.

I missed an opportunity some years ago. I missed it because I was distracted when it appeared. I passed it over without praying about it. And when I realized that I missed an opportunity to live a dream I thought that a dream had come to an end but then some years later the opportunity returned for the second time. This time I prayed and I waited on the Holy Spirit to give me instructions and when He led me I grabbed hold to it. Excitement and faith rose up in me when I recognized that God had given me another opportunity. The same thing is going to happen to you in 2012. BELIEVE IT!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Experiencing Success and Sorrow

I know that you have probably been wondering where I've been. It has been a couple of weeks since I have posted a blog but I have been busy and spending time on the release of my book DIVINE FAVOR: GOD ACTS FOR YOU WHILE YOUR ENEMIES ACT AGAINST YOU. It will be released as an ebook in a few weeks. 

I hope that the end of 2011 was a time of joy and celebration for you as you look excitedly to the new year 2012. Me and my family closed the year with an invigorating vacation in central Florida. We spent five days in Orlando Florida and loved every minute of it. The weather was perfect. The resort that we stayed at was beautiful. The restaurants that we ate at where good, even though I didn't get to go to the Crab House that I was trying to find and kept getting caught in traffic! and our visit to the Holy Land Experience on Christmas Eve was great!

If you've never been to the Holy Land Experience I encourage you to go. The Crouches and TBN has done a phenomenal job in creating that park. It has created a desire in me now to visit the Holy Land in Israel and experience the place where our Lord lived.

My son Quincy

Me, Myself and I.

With a new year I have a new mind. I have new plans and new goals. I have new dreams and new projects. I am excited about 2012 and what I will accomplish because God has given me the idea and the grace to perform the idea but in the midst of this new year I have already experienced sorrow. That's part and parcel of this life that we live. Success is inside of me manifesting and sorrow is in me because of devastating losses.

On last Thursday my wife Vantoria received news that her best friend had died. Her nickname was Dee, her name Daveida Wallace. She was the mother of Eric, me and Vantoria's godson, Kayla and David. She fought valiantly with cancer but last week she broke the news to my wife that they had reached the end of the road together. She bid my wife goodbye and went into the hospital the next day. She died two days later.

It has been painful watching my wife deal with the pain from the death of her friend. The two of them had been through a lot together. They had shared many experiences, both good and bad. They were loyal to one another and they were friends to the very end.

Although the two of them lived hundreds apart and they didn't see each other often the distance didn't diminish their relationship. They counted themselves blessed to have known each other and Vantoria will have a great void in her life with her best friend gone.

Dee and her daughter Kayla

Dee and her firstborn Eric 

The day after I received the news about Dee dying I discovered on the Internet that one of my mentors and a giant in the field of preaching died a month ago. The Reverend Freddie L. Brown was one of Cleveland's greatest preachers. He pastored the Mount Gillion Baptist Church for over thirty years. In the National Baptist Convention Reverend Brown was a renown revivalist and one of the most popular preachers in that denomination. He was packed with spiritual power and a dynamo in the pulpit.

For many years Reverend Brown was heard all over Cleveland Ohio and surrounding areas through his radio broadcast heard on Sunday nights from WJMO. As a young preacher I attended Mount Gillion every Sunday night where I sat and learned the fundamentals of soul preaching preaching from Reverend Brown. Before Reverend Brown would preach he would lead the choir in singing "Look where he brought me from." Another song that he would sing during prayer time was  "God will take care of you." Over the weekend as I mourned his passing I can still hear Reverend Brown singing those songs lifting the congregation in the church and over the airwaves to a crescendo of excitement.     

Reverend Brown encouraged young preachers like me. I preached on youth day at Mount Gillion  when I was eighteen years old. It was the largest church that I had preached at up to that point and the experience was a foreshadow of where I was going in ministry. After that service Rev Brown told me to take my time and grow into the calling that God had on my life. That would be the first of many lessons that I would receive from Reverend Brown who opened his pulpit and his heart to developing me as a minister of the gospel.

Because of his openness to young preachers a gang of us assembled at at Mount Gillion. We were in school learning from one of the best.

The last time I saw Reverend Brown was in a November 2006. Reverend Brown had a stroke that summer that left him unable to speak. With no voice one of the greatest preachers in America could no longer do what he had been doing since the 1950's and he stepped away from active ministry. The church had a lengthy celebration as he was retired that November. I went that night to let Reverend Brown know how much he meant to me. The preacher that Friday night was Reverend Jasper Williams from Atlanta. The service was explosive, it took me back to old times, the way church use to be. 

I walked over to Reverend Brown to speak to him and shake his hand. I told him that I would be praying for him and how much he had influenced me to pursue excellence in ministry as he done, to love people and care for their souls, and to be innovative and always seeking God for fresh approaches to ministry. He couldn't reply although he tried to.

So my mind is looking to success and what I need to do to experience success. And my mind is reflecting on these two incredible persons who I had the privilege of knowing. My heart is full of hope for the future and my heart is full of sorrow over the passing of these two very important people that blessed my life with their presence.    

Please enjoy this short excerpt of Reverend Brown's message "The Seven Promises of God."