Monthly Archives: December 2010

“Trials and the Crown” – Dr. Robert E. Baines, Jr

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Amazingly, I cannot remember the last time I heard my father preach. This past Sunday proved that I need to ensure I hear him MUCH, MUCH more! When I say he killed and murdered this text, I’m being sincere, but I guess you’ll have to see for yourself. He came from James 1:12 (I know, just one verse) and entitled his sermon “Trials and the Crown”.

Here’s his sermon’s highlights:

–          No matter how saved you are, you are eligible for some trials-which will always be more than we expected.

–          We should remember that the crown is greater than the trials.

–          The Trials are Sure to Come:

o   Your avoidance of one type of trial doesn’t prevent you from experiencing one in a different category.

o   Into all of our lives, a little rain must fall (Mt. 5:45).

–          We Must Endure:

o   There’s a crown for those who do.

o   How to endure:

1.       Feed your faith with…

a.       The study and digestion of the Word

i.      The Word can only help you if you understand it! So we need to dissect the Word.

ii.      We need something bigger than the temporary fixes to our trials offered by the world.

iii.      The Word has to move from our head and ears into our heart for it to help!

b.      A song

c.       Prayer

i.      It equips us for service by emptying us out and filling us with Him

ii.      It creates a situation in which our mind is above what we’re going through

d.      Fellowship

i.      You are at your weakest when you become isolated

2.       Starve your doubts and fears to death!

a.       Our fears and doubts are only present because we are feeding them. Whatever you feed, grows.

b.      There are some people and things we need to evict from our lives.

i.      People effect our posture (Ps. 1:1) – We go from walking, to standing, to sitting with sinners.

–          The Crown is Worth it:

o   Rev. 20 ensures that we don’t have to worry about the Great White Throne judgment if we’re saved, but we need to remember there’s a Judgment Seat of Christ (I Cor. 3).

§  If we want more than wood, hay and stubble, we have to endure.

o   God has promised us a crown of life for our endurance and God is a promise keeper!

–   Of all the possible witnesses to attest this, Christ is the ultimate example, coming from 42 generations, suffering the shame and humiliation of a brutal crucifixion, all to be resurrected, ascended to heaven and now sitting at the right hand of the Father waiting for His cue to come back down and set thing in order on earth!

Snob’s Reflection:

As I said at the beginning of this post, it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve heard my father preach and this sermon reminded me of how much God moves through him. I don’t think I’ll ever find a man or woman who I feel is a better preacher than my father, but then again I’m a bit biased. This sermon, however, really was timely. Preached to a congregation and family (the Baines family) dealing with a crisis, the potential loss of one of our pillar, Dr. Robert Baines, Sr. This sermon, however, can help all of you, not just my family, not just me, not just Zion of Buffalo, but anyone dealing with a crisis. While I feel the entire sermon was hot like dynamite, the section that helped me the most was how to endure. Enduring by feeding our faith and starving our doubts and fears to death. In so many of my other posts, I’ve stressed the importance of have a strong foundation in the Word, but this sermon definitely knocked the nail right on the head. The world can only offer you so many temporary fixes, but God’s Word fixes everything. The world gives you empty promises and false hopes, but the Word is full of truth, full of facts, full of hope, full of reality, peace, joy and comfort. Without a base in the Word, you’re doomed (sorry to sound gloomy, but it is what it is). As I deal with this issue and other issues to come in my life, I plan to look back at this sermon for peace, reassurance and closure: that though things hurt and seem dim right now, there’s a crown behind each trial if I endure. Endurance comes best by feeding your faith and starving your fears and doubts. Thanks, Dad!

“Getting Your Joy Back” – Rev. Jamison D.H. Hunter

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Beginning our new series on Joy, Pastor Hunter preached from the familiar text of Philippians 4:1-9.

Here are his sermon’s highlights:

–          The pain of your past doesn’t have to paralyze the potential of your present.

–          “Rejoice” implies that you’ve had joy at some point.

–          Joy has nothing to do with what’s going on around you, but by what’s inside you.

–          In order to get our joy back, we…

  1. Have to Relate Right (Eudia and Synteche)
  • It only takes 2-3 people to threaten the unity of the church (James 3).
  • You have to get rid of your mess, so you can get your joy.
    • Where there is no unity, there is no joy.
  • When you walk around mad at someone, you’re giving them too much attention.
  • You can’t worship with a bad attitude.
  • Squash all the petty stuff!!
  1. Have to Pray Right
  • You can’t worry for anything!
  • In every circumstance, we have to pray.
  • Worry is a joy stealer.
    • God told us to be a warrior not a worrier.
  • There are things we can’t handle.
    • Take all your stuff, big and small, to God.
  • The enemy enters through our heart and mind, but when we pray, God sends peace to guard both entrances!!
  1. Have to Think Right
  • You have a choice between negativity and positivity?
    • Which do I usually choose?
  • We need to constantly bring up great things about God from our insides.
    • Some of us can’t shout because we’re not studying. We can’t bring up things from the inside because we don’t have anything stored up there. What can you shout about if you don’t know anything?
  1. Have to Do Right
  • When we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit. This, in effect, affects our spirit (sad Holy Spirit > bad mood/spirit)
    • WE HAVE TO WANT THE JOY OF THE LORD MORE THAN WE WANT THE PLEASURES OF OUR BODIES!!!!
  • Do have joy; we have to have a do-right mind.
  • Even if you sin, you can have joy once you confess and ask for cleansing.
  • It doesn’t matter what the Devil stole from you, you can reclaim it by being content.

Snob’s Reflection:

“We have to want the joy of the Lord more than we want the pleasures of our bodies” and “…when we pray, God sends peace to guard both entrances” are two of the most convicting, challenging and comforting points in one of Pastor Hunter’s sermons. We all want joy. We sing songs about it. We write poems about it. It’s the topic of most of our conversations…but do we desire this joy on the inside more than we want the temporary, extremely nice satisfaction of external pleasures from the world in the forms of vengeance, fornication, overindulgence in alcohol and food, being spiteful, lying, fighting…? Sadly, some of us, me included, have to weigh the costs every single time, and, although the answer should be obviously the joy of the Lord, most of us don’t choose His joy of our temporary pleasure. We allow the desires of our flesh to overshadow the conviction of our Holy Spirit. No need to over talk that point…next.

Paul told the believers in Philippi in verses 6-7 that when they turn their worries over to God through prayer and petition, the peace that “transcends all understanding” comes down to guard your heart and your mind. The devil gets to us through our emotions, through our doubt, through logic, through monetary balances in our accounts, through letters from potential employers, universities, newly ex-partners…God blocks all that mess when we pray! The issue for the jury is did you pray? We see the insufficient funds letter and ask God to put money in our account, but do we pray that He assist us in managing our money, getting more gainful employment, living within or underneath our means, that He takes away the anxiety of being in debt? Not usually. Usually we want Him to provide the same temporary fixes the world does, not fix the real issue and reinstitute our joy. We have to work on pray and petitioning to God with confidence, so we can block out all of the devil’s mess.

This sermon was so good, I really don’t wanna mess it up by over analyzing it, so I’d encourage you to reflect on regaining your joy if you’ve lost it, or increasing that which you have by relating, thinking, praying and doing what pleases God. God Bless!

“A Posture of Expectation” – Rev. Lakendra Hardware

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On a surprise visit back to UDIM (University of Dayton Interdenominational Ministry) service, Rev. Lakendra Hardware both blessed and challenged us. Coming from Luke 2:25-28, she preached on “The Posture of Expectation”.

Here are her sermon’s highlights:

–          How often do we look forward to Christ showing up in our situation?

–          What are you expecting from God?

–          Our postures:

  1. The Posture of Prayerful Expectancy (Simeon)
  • You cannot be devout without discipline.
    • Is seeking God a daily thing or an every-now-and-then thing for you?
  • Our expectations should be based on God, not ourselves or others, therefore negativity and naysayers ought not affect us.
  • Simeon’s posture enabled him to run into Christ in his daily walk.
    • Does my posture enable me to run into Christ?
  • You cannot live based on what’s given to you, but what God has promised you.
  • How are you living?
  1. The Posture of Routine turned into a Posture of Marvel (Mary and Joseph)
  • The very bearers of Christ had no idea what they carried.
    • Do you know how to carry Christ?
    • Do you know the power I carry by carrying Christ?
  • We should never stop being amazed at the works of God.
    • Has your complacency in Christ numbed you from His glory?
  1. The Posture of Praise (Anna’s Posture)
  • Is your lifestyle built on worship?
  • Benefits of a lifestyle built on worship: Discernment and unlimited resources through prayer
  • While we don’t live in the temple, it should be living in us.
  • Our worship births our witness.
    • What label are you wearing when others see you?
    • Our praise should be a continuation of our daily lives.
      • Are you ready for praise and witnessing in everything you do?
    • WHAT DOES YOUR WORSHIP GIVE BIRTH TO?
    • Does your posture block God’s glory?

–          We should start our life anew daily in pursuit of Christ. Every day should be spent preparing for your encounter with Christ.

Snob’s Reflection:

I look at myself as a intermediately mature Christian, but I still have a lot of growing up to do in God. The area of hope and expectancy is definitely an area in need of improvement. As an INTJ on the Myer’s Brigg, my personality doesn’t support wishful thinking, so the concept of faith in unseen things is very difficult for me. I don’t struggle to believe in God or salvation, because I can rationalize it. It’s very abstract, but God has opened my eyes, my mind and my heart and placed these truths inside of me and they are, now, undeniable and at the very essence of my being. However, I’m still struggling on the promises side. Rev. Lakendra has always challenged me to improve my posture of expectation and this sermon was a great reminder. Since I’ve been out of UDIM for a few months, I haven’t been challenged in this area. Now it’s back up in my face and I have to ask myself the question “how often do I look for Christ in my situations?” I always try to look at how I can solve the situation, but rarely do I look Christ in it. When my finances our out of whack I don’t look for God, I look for a quick hustle to get my affairs in order. When I’m dealing with friendship issues, I don’t look for  Christ, I look for what in my personality or my friends’ personality needs to be changed to make it work or if we need to separate. God desires that we place our hope in Him, not reason, not our 401K, not our jobs, not scholarships, not our spouse, not even our Pastor or our church, just Him. As we, myself especially included, develop the posture of expectation in pray, praise and marvel, we learn how to carry Christ effectively. While I attempt to live a life daily for Him, I never thought about the benefits of this. I’m newly marriage and I enjoy Alex’s companionship, our interactions, and even how I’m becoming a better person for him, I’m just now realizing that our relationship entitles me to cry on his shoulder, ask for advice, vent about my day and troubles, let him doctor me when I’m sick, come to my aid when I’m in trouble and help fight my battles when I can’t handle it myself. The same goes with my relationship with God. I’m working hard to please   Him and enjoy the joy I get from our relationship, but I still struggle to ask for His help. I pray this sermon assists you in changing your posture. We have to move from a posture of worry, sorrow, depression and frustration to the postures of the characters in the texts: postures of prayerful expectancy, marvel and praise.

“A Habit of Praise” – Elder Joshua M. Washington

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Coming out of a very familar passage, Acts 16:25-29, Elder Joshua M. Washington blessed and challenged our congregation on Sunday, November 21, 2010.

Here are his sermon’s highlights:

–          When you carry God’s Word, you cannot be afraid.

  • What spirit do you carry in you?

–          We have to learn to recognize a person’s spirit.

  • Speak to the spirit, not the person.

–          If you’ve never encountered the Devil in your ministry, you might need to check if you’re within God’s will.

–          How can you use your mouth for gossip, but not for praise?

–          When praise is a habit, your surrounding won’t affect it (who’s next to you, where you are, etc)!

  • “If you knew my story, you’d understand my glory!”
  • Our praise is not predicated by what we go through. Habitual praisers go hard, regardless!

–          Praisers have more favor.

–          Do I have the courage to praise God when I’m going through hardship?

–          We should grow to the point of praising because we’re praisers, regardless of what’s going on or how things are going.

–          Your praise should be so awesome that the things binding you become the same things that release you.

–          Our praise ought to be so effective and powerful that our enemies forget they hate us and become interested and desire a relationship with God like ours.

Snob’s Reflection:

The concept of effective and powerful praise seems simple to some, but to me it is challenging. Just a couple months ago, in our Young Adult Sunday School class, I told our young adults that God desires intelligent praise and then my sister and I had a conversation about her pastor’s discussion of 2 Cor and in his sermon, he repeated this same idea, God wants intelligent praise. It is not His desire that we throw ourselves around aimlessly with no result in mind. It is not His desire that we repeat “hand-me down praise”. You the things we heard our parents and grandparents say as they worshipped that mean nothing to us like “You didn’t have to do it but you did, Lawd. You didn’t let my bed become my cooling board. You kept me in a right mind…”. While some of their testimonies may have become ours, our praise should be a reflection of our relationship with God, not our family’s relationships. Powerful praise in unadulterated, pure, and sincere. This would require coming to church with the purpose of praising, not waiting for the musicians or the praise team to get you there, not praying God puts you there during altar call, not waiting for your pastor’s hoop to get you there, but having the spirit and purpose of praise before you even enter His house! Effective praise achieves a goal. You should leave a worship service feeling lighter or filled with the Holy Spirit, filled with peace, clarity and understanding. However, too many of us get caught in the happy feelings of others who aren’t going through what we’re going through. It’s nice to rejoice and feel pain for our brothers and sisters, but we should be praising God for who He is and who we need Him to be for us. I love the idea of intelligent praise. It is impossible to worship God for who He is without knowing Him and it is impossible to know Him without knowledge of Him. How can you forfeit Bible Study, Sunday School, and personal devotion, but wanna be the first to lead worship or lead a song? We need to grow to the point that study and worship just make sense together. I pray this reflection challenges you to learn more about God and that, as a result of what you discover about his amazing being, you begin to develop the most incredible habit ever: the habit of praise!