Sunday, December 25, 2016

Mary's Christmas. PT 2

Sermon Text: Luke 2: 6 While they were there, time came for the baby to be born

Sermon Title: Mary’s Christmas Pt 2: The Right Look

Point 1: Look for the Star Matt 2: 10 when they saw the star they had joy.

Point 2: Look for the manger Luke 2: 12 This will be a sign to you: you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger

Point 3: Look for the shepherds Luke 2: 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Mary's Christmas

Sermon Text: Luke 2: 6 While they were there, time came for the baby to be born
Sermon Title: Mary’s Christmas

Point 1: She Pondered It while we purchase Luke 2: 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart

Point 2: Mary Sacrificed for Christmas while we look for sales. Luke 1: 26, 27, 29 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a, man named Joseph…(27)The virgins name was Mary…(29) Mary was greatly troubled…

Point 3: She Delivered the word when we wait on UPS deliveries. And she delivered the word during difficult times. Vs 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
1.  Dependable to a fault
2.  Demonstrative in your faith
3.  Determined not to fail

Life Application:
1.   Treasure…
2.   Seize…

3.  Deliberately…

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Christmas List

Sermon Text: Matt 2: 11(b) Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of the incense and of myrrh.
Sermon Title: The Christmas List

Point 1: They brought Jesus Gold

Point 2: They brought Jesus Frankincense

Point 3: They brought Jesus Myrrh

Life Application:
1.  Give Jesus your…time
2.  Give Jesus your…talent

3.  Give Jesus your…treasure

Sunday, December 11, 2016

God Please Show Up 2

Pericope: Matt 1: 18 – 24
Sermon Text: Matthew 1:21-2321 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:  23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”; Isaiah 7:10-14 - 10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Then Isaiah[a] said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman[b] is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.[c]
Sermon Title: God! Show Up! Please! Pt 2
Point 1: To be sin’s CONQUEROR: He came to satisfy the God’s Justice and break sin’s power: HE LIBERATED US! Matt 1: 23(b)

Point 2: To be our COMFORTER: The word “paraclaytos” (gr) spoken of in John 14:16 When you are weak he makes you strong 2 Corinthians 12: 9
1.  He said he will never leave you…what can man do to you Hebrews 13: 5, 6
2.  In the day of trouble, he will keep me safe…hide me…set me on a rock Psalm 27: 5
3.  The Lord shall keep your coming and you’re going…he keep Israel will not sleep Psalm 121
4.  The Lord will wipe away the tears Isaiah 25: 8

Point 3: To be our COURAGE:
1.  Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world John 4: 4
2.  If God is for you who can be against you Romans 8: 31
3.  For the Lord is our shepherd Psalms 23
4.  He has not given you a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind 1 Tim 1: 7
5.  Be strong and courageous Joshua 1: 6, 7, 8, 9


Sunday, December 4, 2016

God Please Show UP

Sermon Text: Matt 2: 23 The virgin will be with child and will give birth, to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, “God with us.”

Sermon Title: God Please Show Up!

Point 1: God showed up in person because of the seriousness of humanity Sin. Matt 1: 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said [to take away the sins of the world] through the prophets 

Point 2: God shows up when our faith gets a little shaky Gen 18: 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.”
a)  When Moses needed direction Exodus 14: 15, 16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. (16) Raise your staff and stretch out your hand…
b)  When Elijah was depressed 1 Kings 19: 12…And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
c)   When Jonah was disappointed with the direction his life was going Jonah 4: 3, 4 Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (4) But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”

Point 3: God shows up to stand up for us Matt 1: 23 …and they will call him Immanuel—which means, “God with us.”
·       Deut. 20: 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you the victory.  
·       Hebrews 13: 5 …Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
·       Rom 9: 20 …if God is for you who can be against you.
·       Isaiah 54: 17 no weapon formed against you will prosper.
a)   In every way…
b)   God has… 1 Corinthians 6: 20 you are bought with a price 7: 23 you are bought with a price…
c)   God wants… 2 Cor 3: 2, 3 you yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. (3) You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts
Life Application:
1.  Wait for God…
2.  Brag on God…

3.  Let God…

Sunday, November 27, 2016

NLCIC 411 November 27 MAIN

Just Say Thank You Pt 2 - In Not for It!

Sermon Text: I Thes. 5: 18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Sermon Title: Just Say Thank You Pt 2 In Not for It!

Point 1: THANKSGIVING SHOULD BE EXPRESSED Ps.100 which says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart." David says in Ps. 107"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good." We should express our thanks to God and others. 
1) Spend time with Him

2) When you forgive others
3) When you serve in His church
4) When you share His Plan of salvation
5) When you reach out to hurting people
6) When you give God the best of your TTT
7) When you praise Him enthusiastically from the heart 


1) The Blessings of Life. 
2) The Burdens of Life. 
3) The Benefits of life as well.

1) This is the mark of a Growing Christian.
2) Our thanksgiving is also the mark of a Giving Christian.
3) A Glowing Christian. 

Life Application:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Don't Die Looking

Sermon Text: Deuteronomy 34: 4 Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it”

Sermon Title: Don’t Die Looking!

Point 1: Put the past in the past vs. 8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains for thirty days, until for weeping and mourning was over.

Point 2: Put a premium on obeying God’s word. Numbers 20: 11, 12 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.
Don’t you roll the dice. You are too close to what God has for you for you to start disobeying God now. You are too close to the promotion, job, car, wife, husband, peace of mind to start disobeying God now. Obey God with all your heart. He said if you love him you will keep his commandments. Hide his word in your heart so you will not sin against him. Proverbs 3: 5 – 7 Trust in the Lord and lean not to your own understanding and all thou ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.

Point 3: Posses the promise by pushing forward Joshua 1: 1 – 2 After the death of Moses…the Lord said to Joshua…(2) my servant Moses is deadget ready to cross the Jordan River
1.  They acted as a unified people Joshua 3: 17 The priest who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on the dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground
2.  They understood the connection between their house and God’s house Joshua 7: 1, 20 (1) But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Camri… (20) Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord… (21) I coveted them and took them
3.  They fought for every promised piece of land they acquired

Life Application:
1.  Don’t stare at the promises of God go get them
2.  Overcome overconfidence put your faith in God

3.  Fight for what God has for you

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Defining Moments - Homecoming!

Sermon Text: 2 Samuel 6: 9(b) How can the ark of the Lord ever come to me?
Sermon Title: Defining Moments: Homecoming!
Point 1: Somebody has to go get God vs. 2 He and all his men set out to…bring up from there the ark of the God…
Point 2: They had to handle God the right way vs. 3 they set the ark on a new cart. 1 Samuel 6: 7 Now then get a new cart ready… (8) …take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart
Point 3: Whoever has God in their house will be blessed vs. 10 He was not willing to take the ark of the Lord to be with him in the city of David. Instead he took it aside to the house of Oded-Edom the Gittite for three months’ vs 11 …for three months the Lord blessed him and his entire household
Point 4: Go get God again…do it again vs. 12 So David went down and brought up the ark of God from Obed-Edom to the city of David
Life Application:
1.  Connect what you…
2.  Receive the…
3.  Handle…

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Defining Moment Pt 2

Sermon Text: Isaiah 41: 10 - do not fear, for I am with you,
    do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Sermon Title: A Defining Moment Pt 2
Point 1: Detect God in the Moment
Point 2: Don’t fear
·       Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
·       Prov 3: 5, 6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him,  and he will make straight your paths.
·       Prov 21: 1The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;    he turns it wherever he will.
Point 3: Don’t hate
1 Timothy 2: 1 – 3 - First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
Life Application:
1.  Live your life The White House is not your house nor God’s house…
2.  Get involved politically…

3.  Be a beacon of light in this very dark world…

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dont Miss the Moment - Bishop Dudley - 11am

There will always be defining moments in your life.  What will you do in the defining moment?
Sermon Text:  Luke 19:5 When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and said to him Zacchaeus come down immediately – I must stay at your house today.

Point 1:  Define the moment (recognize) – Don’t miss your moment.

Point 2:  Determine the direction of your destinyvs. 5 - When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and said to him Zacchaeus come down immediately – I must stay at your house today.

Point 3:  Embrace your destiny
a)  Abraham – Gen. 12:1 - The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
b)  Moses – Exodus 3 - 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
c)  Joshua – Joshua 1: 7-8 - 7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
d)  David and Goliath

Life Application: 
1.  Remember your destiny is God’s will in the earth manifested
2.  Include Jesus on the journey.

3.  Establish a connection between your house and God’s house. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hell, No

Sermon Text: Matt 16: 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome [prevail] it.

Sermon Title: Hell, No!

Point 1: [Satan wont stop] The people of the church [Peter] vs 18(a) And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church…

Point 2: [Satan won’t stop] The prevailing of the church vs. 18(b) the gates of hell will not [prevail] overcome it

Point 3: [Satan won’t stop] The power of the church vs. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven

 Life Application:
1.   Take authority over Satan’s attempt to stop you
2.   Prevail by binding and loosing God’s word

3.  Celebrate your victory and the victory of New Life

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Delayed Not Denied - Main and North Campus

Sermon Text: Nehemiah 2: 20 I answered them by saying, “the God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding…

Sermon Title: Delayed Not Denied!

Point 1: Its WE NOT ME! vs. 17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace,”
Matthew 18: 18 had it right when two or three gather in his name whatever we bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth is loosed in heaven. Genesis 11: 6 says it even better if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do sill be impossible. ALL YOU AND I HAVE TO DO IS STICK TOGETHER AND REALIZE IT WE NOT ME!

Point 2: It’s HIM not THEM vs. 18, 20 I also told them about the gracious hand of God on me… (20) I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success

Life Application:
1.  Put God first
2.  Join us in our week of prayer
3.  Ask God what you should give

4.  Attend the prayer breaking ground breaking next Sunday Oct 30th 1:30 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Who Am I Under Pressure? By Howard Murray

15 OCT 2015
Who Am I Under Pressure?
By Howard Murray

Salutation and acknowledgements: Many thanks and much respect to Bishop Dudley, MOV Leadership especially Bro. Rodney Skinner for giving me the opportunity to speak today.  Thanks to all you good brothers for forsaking those last precious minutes of sleep, especially now that it’s starting to get a little colder in the morning.  Times like this make you want to clutch those covers just a little while longer, don’t they?  I find myself in the curious position this morning of standing firmly in the middle of following the powerful words given by our own Deacon Michael Holland last month.  Deac reminded us that We Don’t Look Like What We’ve Been Through – and of course a delicious breakfast prepared by the fellas in the kitchen.  That being said, pray my strength that God’s will be done.  That I be Bold, that I be Brief and that the word spoken be a Blessing to us both collectively and individually.
Title: Who Am I Under Pressure?
Scriptural basis: Mat. 8:23-27 (NIV)
23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this?Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Intro. If there’s one thing I know about us men, it’s that we are competitive by nature.  We constantly assess one another and size each other up almost subconsciously.  It may be by height, strength, wealth, military rank, most attractive spouse, smartest or most athletic kids.  Raise your hand if you’ve ever met a new person and thought to yourself, “I can take him.”  I’m better than or at least as good as . . .  It seems that we as men are always trying to see where we fit in the pecking order.  It’s in our nature.  It’s how we are wired.  
Saying that lets us know that we watch each other.  We take cues from one another on how to be.  How to stand. How to speak. How to dress. How to work. How to husband.  How to father.  How to be a man.  You may have watched your father, uncle, a school teacher or for those of us at New Life, we have an excellent example in our man of God, Bishop Dudley.  A key thing we observe in one another is how we should respond to difficult situations.  How am I supposed to deal with life’s pressures? We know for sure that we are going to face some.  
Is it ok if I take a brief aside? Many of you know that I’m a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. While going through the process it was customary for brothers to challenge your knowledge of different things about the organization.  It could be history, poems, famous members, key events etc.  One day a big brother asked me, “Howard, do you know the Greek alphabet?”  I was like yes sir, Big Brother, sir!  He said, I bet you do, but do you know it under pressure?  He then reached in his jacket pocket and took out a pair of black leather gloves.  It’s funny how that moment changed my perspective.  Something that I had memorized and most certainly could recite verbatim suddenly didn’t seem so easy.
It’s fair to say, that in nearly any given situation, we men know what to do.  We are great logicians.  We know how to solve problems.  We know how to plan and strategize.  That is one of our key strengths.  Execution is something else altogether, especially execution in the face of calamity, difficulty, pressure.  The great philosopher, Iron Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody’s got a plan, until they get hit!”  What do I mean by that?  You know that you need to pay your tithes, but the car needs repairing.  You know that you need to exercise more and eat less in order to lose weight, but the game is on and Pizza Hut is running a special.  You know you should hold your peace in that argument with your spouse or significant other, but you are always the one apologizing.  You’re tired of her mouth.  This time you are going to win the argument.  You are going to say that thing that stings her to her core so that she backs up off of you!  Am I talking to anybody?
We as men, we like to lead and we don’t mind being led by a strong leader.  Life’s pressures can knock us off our square and reduce our effectiveness.  Bad response to pressure can cause those that we lead to get off track just as a favorable response can strengthen our squad, solidify our confidence, secure loved ones from harm and set the stage for a more favorable future!
Which brings me to our text – We find Jesus and the disciples in a ship on their way to the other side of the lake.  Jesus had had a long day.  He healed a man with leprosy.  He encountered a centurion soldier who asked him to speak a word that his servant may be healed.  He stopped by his homie, Peter’s house and healed his mother-in-law from a fever.  As always when word gets out that Jesus is in the neighborhoodcrowds form.  Droves of people come and Jesus heals them from various diseases, drives out demons and even takes time to interview some potential disciples.  Interview, you ask?  It’s right there in the text.
A religious teacher said he wanted to follow him, but wasn’t completely sold on the benefits package.  Jesus told him about thecorporate travel and lodging plan – Foxes have dens, birds have nest, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  Unfortunately the young man left before he heard the rest of the benefits.  See Jesus was leading a startup and therefore didn’t have the hookup with Visa or American Express nor did he have the discounts at the various hotels and so forth, but he was connected to a strong and prosperous parent company owned and operated by his daddy.  If he had waited a minuet, Jesus would have told him that, “In my father’s house are many mansions.”  He would have learned that he would have access to some very exclusive spots because Jesus can open doors that no man can shut.  Another guy said he wanted to sign up, but wasn’t too thrilled with the bereavement leave policy.  He said he would follow Jesus, but he had to bury his father first.  Jesus said; Let the dead bury the dead.  See Jesus is in the business of now.  Had he not left the interview so early, he would have learned about the fire insurance policy offered through salvation.  Anybody got that fire insurance?  He also would have learned about a heavenly retirement package that is absolutely, positively too good to pass up.  Be careful not to leave an interview too early.  Psalms 103 instructs us to forget not all His benefits.  Getting back to the story. . .  Shortly afterwards, Jesus tells the disciples to get on this boat and to go to the other side.  He then heads down into the belly of the ship to lie down.  
Jesus is awakened by the disciples because a violent storm is out there and they fear the boat may sink!  How will Jesus respond?  Remember, Jesus is Tired.  The storm is Real.  The disciples are Afraid and they are looking to him for Answers.  Have you ever been in the eye of the storm?  Ever had a situation where everyone was looking to you to provide the answer?
I’m told people respond to pressure in one of three ways.  You are either:
1. An egg.
2. A potato. Or a
3. A coffee bean.
AN EGG.  What happens to eggs under pressure?  Place an egg in boiling water and what happens?  It gets hard.  It loses flexibility.
Biblical Example: Jacob. Genesis Ch. 35:16-19.
You know Jacob’s story. He was Isaac’s son, Abraham’s grandson.  He was a man of promise.  He had just left Bethel. While there, God promised him that he would bless him - that a nation would be birthed from his loins.  He was promised the land that God had promised to his father and his father before him.  He’s on his way back to Ephrath (a place that would later be known as Bethlehem) with his family.  In this caravan is Rachel, his wife who is not only pregnant, but in labor.  Do you guys remember Rachel?  She was very beautiful.  She’s the one Jacob worked 14 years for.  She’s the one he loved so much that he put up with her lying, backstabbing daddy, Laban.  For Rachel, Jacob spent years tending his father-in-law’s sheep.  He got the short end of the stick on a land deal and various other hardships and misdealings.  He even got tricked into marrying her older sister with the lazy eye.  Well in this passage of the bible, things are looking up; Jacob just heard some great newsdirectly from God.  He is determined to get out and claim his inheritance.  Jacob is so determined that he can’t wait in Bethel for a day or two while Rachel delivers his child.  Rachel, who if you know the story had trouble conceiving to begin with, dies while delivering the child.  Jacob is so driven, that he doesn’t even stop to give Rachel, the love of his life a proper funeral. He doesn’t even bring her body home to bury her on the family plot.  Nope. Genesis 35:19 says that Jacob buried her on the side of the road and kepton rolling to Ephrath.  Men are you so driven by purpose, by passion, by promise that you are destroying everything around you including the ones you love the most?  Don’t be an egg under pressure!
A POTATO.   What happens to a potato under pressure?  What happens to a potato in boiling water?  It gets soft.  It gets mushy.  If left in the boiling water too long, it will liquefy.  You won’t even be able to tell that it was a potato.
Biblical Example: Saul. 1 Sam Ch. 15.
Do you guys remember Saul?  He was a tall, handsome fella.  He was chosen to be Israel’s first king.  This guy was anointed and appointed.  He was popular with the people, anointed by the great prophet Samuel and accepted by God to rule over His chosen people.  Saul even had God’s blessing and assurance of victory in battle.  How many people would like to go in a fight knowing they’re going to win?  Saul’s downfall was that despite all that he had going for him, he cared more about what people said than what God said.  God commanded Saul to lead his armies to destroy the Amalekites.  God instructed Saul to wipe out every man, woman and child.  God said, don’t even spare the livestock!  God said kill every sheep, donkey and camel.  It’s in the text, I’m telling you.  Saul goes into battle and wins as promised.  Instead of following God’s instructions, he listens to his boys.  They’re like why would we destroy these nice things: clothes, jewels, sheep, and cows.  What about the “good” people like the king?  Saul thought would I like it if the shoe was on the other foot and the victors just killed me?  Along comes Samuel the prophet to inquire as to why Saul hadn’t followed God’s command.  Samuel says why didn’t you do what God told you to do?  Saul said, I did.  Samuel is so cold, he says in verse 14, why do I hear all these sheep bleating and cows mooing then?  Saul says, well, I killed most of them, I saved the good stuff, check this out, to offer to God on the altar.  Really, Saul?
14But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”
Needless to say, God rejects Saul.  He promises the kingdom to young shepherd boy by the name of David.  The rest of Saul’s lifefollowing this event is very uninspiring.  He becomes given to jealous fits of rage.  Still listening more to people than God, he can’t bear to see other people be blessed.  He becomes the pure definition of a player hater.  There was a song, you may have heard it.  Saul has killed his thousands and David, his ten thousands.  He hated that song!  Anybody out here ever had a song written about them?  I mean even if you don’t get top billing, you get a good honorable mention doing some fly stuff and it’s a hit record.  Anyway, Saul loses everything: battles, territory, the respect of his followers, his legacy and ultimately his life.  He and his son, Jonathan, die on a battlefield losing to the enemy.  Men are you so caught up with keeping the peace that you are wishy washy?   A former pastor of mine once told me, Jesus said blessed are the peace MAKERS, not the peace KEEPERS.  Can people trust your Yeas to be Yeas and your Nays to be Nays?  Are you so afraid oftelling your wife or children No that no one is steering the ship that you call your family and you are all headed off the cliff?
Are you a leader or a supervisor that refuses to make the hard call because you’d rather be liked as opposed to being respected?  Man of God, don’t be a potato under pressure!
A COFFEE BEAN.  Now we’ve gotten to the good part!  Are there any coffee drinkers out there?  Me either.  I don’t drink coffee, but I know what it is.  I know that when you place a coffee bean in boiling water, the bean doesn’t dissolve.  It doesn’t change shape.  It doesn’t get soft or hard.  If you pull a coffee bean out of hot water, do you know what you’ll get?  A coffee bean.  Instead of being changed, deformed, contorted and distorted by the pressure, it changes the boiling water.   That hot water turns into coffee.  The thing that put pressure on the bean instead of destroying it, takes on the characteristics of the bean itself and becomes something fit for consumption.  It gives the pressure a pleasant aroma.  It gives color to a hot and pressing situation.
Our biblical example is Jesus.  Remember back in chapter 8, we left Jesus being awakened from his sleep by a boatful of people scared of a storm and desperately looking to him to make it better.  Instead of being caught up in the storm, Jesus spoke to the storm and said, Peace, Be still.  At his command, the wind and the seas obeyed.  The people on that ship, the men said among themselves, “What manner of man is this that even the wind and the seas obey him?”  Men, God sent me to tell you that someone is looking to you.  They are sizing you up.  They’re waiting on you to make your move.  They are waiting on you to make a tough situation better.  They are looking to you to speak life to a dead situation.  They are desperately hoping that you will do something to change the atmosphere.  The only way we can do that is with Jesus.  He is the only one who can make the storm obey.  He is the only one who will go into the fire with you like he did for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and to take the heat out of hot.  Jesus is the only one who if you would just keep your eyes on him and listen to his voice will allow you to walk on water like Peter did.
God has called us to be Prophet, Priest, Protector, Provider and Progenitor.  God has given us a challenge worthy of a coffee bean.  He needs us to change the atmosphere.  If we go in as eggs or potatoes, we won’t be successful.  Before we can accept the challenge have to know who we are.  More importantly, we have to know who we are under pressure.  When the heat is on, will you get hard hearted and lose compassion for those around you?  Will you, strong man bear the infirmities of the weak or just leave a trail of corpses in your wake?  Will you get all mushy when the pressure comes trying to be that people-pleasing person that everybody likes, but no one respects?  The one that everybody knows, but nobody can count on?  God forbid.  We will be coffee beans.  We will stand up to the pressure through the power of God, in the unity of our faith, under the leadership of our Bishop!
When God first gave me the idea for this message, I wanted to use biblical villains as examples.  Pharaoh was my egg and Pilate was my potato.  This made perfect sense to me.  Pharaoh getting hard hearted during the plagues.  Pilate giving in to the whims of the Jewish religious leaders and ultimately giving the order to crucify Jesus - those were my original images of the egg and the potato. But God said I want my men, men that know my voice, men that have relationship with me, men under my anointing to see themselves in these examples.  I want them to see that without me they can do nothing, and that with me nothing shall be impossible.

Family Exercise

    worship (online only) please complete the Life Application from the sermon.  See attached or below.   Family Exercise – Virtual Family S...