Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shepastor: "Christ Has Risen Indeed: Now What?"

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57 NIV

This past Sunday Christians all over the world celebrated Jesus' victory over Death, Hell and the Grave!!! We lifted our voices and hands in high praise. Maybe praise dancers danced, preachers pulled out their best sermons, flag teams waved colorful flags high. What ever the tradition, churches gave their highest and best to honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But not everyone walked out with jubilant spirits. Some with painted on smiles and loud hosannas left the church building with heavy hearts and broken spirits. Some left with questions about the realities of their existence. Some are asking, "Christ got up from the grave but now what? How does His victory impact my life today?"

Jesus gave us victory on several levels. His victory opens up victory for us.

- When we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, our first victory is that we have eternal life. We now have peace with God...

- We have victory over sin...through Christ, we have the power to choose the more excellent way...

- As daughters and sons of the Lord, we have victory over darkness, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us...

- We have the victory of knowing that all things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to God's purpose...

- We have the victory in knowing that we walk by faith and not by sight. We can speak those things that be not as though they were...

In Christ, we have the victory. Even in the midst of life's greatest struggle, we have the assurance that the risen Christ is with us to carry us through...

Christ is risen indeed...and with that He lifted us! He is the lifter of our heads! Choose to walk in victory and not defeat today!

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Shepastor: "What Temptation is Knocking on Your Door?"

37Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14: 37-38

This week we retrace the steps of Jesus from the triumphant gates of Jerusalem towards the brutality of Golgotha. Our scripture focus for today, however, considers Jesus’ words to the disciples and yes to us.

In one sense, Jesus’ question is somewhat startling. The disciples clearly were feeling the pressure of increasing opposition towards their leader and subsequently them. No doubt they were filled with anxiety, fear and questions. They didn’t understand Jesus’ true mission. They didn’t seem to “get” that Jesus was about to die for the sins of the world. Their hearts were heavy, they were tired and they were sleepy.

Yet Jesus confronted them about their sleep. Furthermore, Jesus admonished them to “Watch and pray” so that they would not fall into temptation. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” What was Jesus suggesting? After all, they were human beings. What was happening that night in Gethsemane?

One might argue that Jesus was being confronted with His own duality – fully human and fully divine…on the human side, filled with fear, stress, anticipation of the blood bath coming and anger that his “friends” left him alone to battle the spiritual and psychological darkness by himself…not even wrestling with Him in prayer. On the divine side, Jesus knew that He was about to face separation momentarily from the Father because He would bear the sins of the world.

But what temptations would the disciples face beyond the obvious – denial, betrayal, desertion? Was Jesus speaking about something even beyond Calvary... “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak?”

What life struggles, stresses, difficulties, disappointments are making you sleepy? What time in prayer are you neglecting because you are sleepy…not just physically weary but spiritually weary…oblivious, undiscerning, clouded vision due to life circumstances?
Jesus knows our human struggles. He put on human flesh so that He could identify. But this scripture seems to suggest that even the heaviest of struggles that life has to offer does exempt us from remaining alert. Jesus urges us to remain alert – alert to our own realities…alert to the things that would over take us and convince us that we don’t have the energy to pray…alert and on the post in the spirit.

Each of us face different temptations. Simply put, temptation is anything that turns our hearts away from God…God’s way, God’s Word, God’s will. What temptation is knocking on your door? What is causing your eyes to be heavy with sleep? Jesus’ admonition to us all… “Watch and pray…although you are willing to walk right, your flesh is weak and you cannot do it without the power of prayer.”

As we prepare to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord, Jesus, may we remember the lessons learned in Gethsemane. Temptation continues to knock…

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,

Pastor Chris

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shepastor: "Hit Reset..."

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10: 4-5

Some years ago, in order to reduce the risk of getting shocked, electricians developed new outlets that use three pronged plugs, instead of two pronged. These outlets, though thought to be safer, are sometimes annoying. You go to plug in your lamp and low and behold, the light does not come on. So you run to the cabinet or upstairs or down stairs to get a new light bulb, go back to the lamp, plug it in and it still does not turn on. UGGHHH! What in the world could be wrong?

It finally occurs to you that you need to press the rest button. A fuse was tripped or burned out and the plug needs to be reset before it can produce the electricity necessary to turn the light on.

In the same way, our minds, our brains, our psyche, at times need to be reset…reset because wrong thoughts of a garden variety can drain you of energy, joy, life, healing, wholeness and vitality in Christ.

Our focus scripture reminds us that we don’t have to fight off unhealthy patterns of thinking on our own. The children of God have weaponry that is not of this world. The child of God has weapons with “divine power to demolish strongholds.”

What is a “stronghold?”

The literal meaning of stronghold is,
A place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack

Synonyms for stronghold are: fortress (A heavily protected and impenetrable building) - fort (A fortified building or strategic position) citadel (A fortress, typically on high ground, protecting or dominating a city.- castle - fastness – bulwark (a defensive wall)

In the spiritual sense, a stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. It is as if the enemy has set up a fortress, a citadel, a bulwark in your mind that you can't seem to overcome. Strongholds have the capability of affecting our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life, and can play a large role in hindering our spiritual freedom.

The Psalmist declared,
“I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law].” Psalm 119:15 Amphv

The Bible instructs us to meditate upon God’s Word. The Psalmist said that he spent a lot of time meditating upon the “precepts” of God. In other words, he spent a lot of time thinking about, praying about, pondering God’s ways, God’s instructions and God’s teachings.

Psalm 1 tells us of the condition of the individual who meditates upon God. It says that we will be blessed, we will be like trees planted by the rivers of water, our leaves will not whither and whatsoever we do will prosper…

We must learn to cast down “mind binding spirits…”

Mind binding spirits are the spirits that seek to literally tie up your mind with thoughts of defeat, depression oppression, failure, inability etc. These spirits are strong holds that seek to thwart, lock up, bind up your faith and distort your outlook on life. You must learn to cast these demonic thoughts down and replace them through prayer, determination and meditation upon God’s Word. How? Consider the following…

Be careful what you think!

Consider Mark 4:24 in the Amplified version of the Bible…

…Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you who hear.

This scripture suggests that the more time we spend thinking about the Word we read and hear, the more power and ability we will have to do it, to follow it, to live it!

Romans 10:17 declares, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (KJV)

“Think about what you are thinking!”

“Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind…” Ephesians 2:3 Amphv

This passage warns us not to be governed by our sensual nature or to obey the impulses of our flesh, the thoughts of our carnal mind. We must determine to replace our carnal thoughts with thoughts purified by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word.

Romans 12: 1-2. Tells us to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds…”

Always remember that your mind plays an important role in your victory!

Remember our primary scripture…

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10: 4-5

Determine today to take “every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.”

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Shepastor: "The Sacred Privilege and Responsibility of Voting..."

1He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. 2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Proverbs 29: 1-2

In the coming months, America will elect the next President of the United States, along with a host of local, county and state representatives, senators, governors, and judges. Currently, people across our Nation are voting in primaries, listening to “colorful” debates, arguing back at commentators and throwing shoes and other items at the television screen out of shear anger and disgust!!!

Politics in America have run the gamut. At stake are issues of national and international security, the economy, equal rights, jobs, health care and our environment, to name a few. Some, unfortunately, have taken the position that the people of God should “pray and trust God for the outcome.” The Scriptures, however, admonish us to be actively involved in “doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God.”

We have a sacred responsibility to speak truth to power, and to do all that we can to ensure that righteous rule prevails. Certainly, “the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous avails much,” but “faith without works is dead!” Those who suggest that God’s people should not be involved in the political process are ignoring major facts. They are ignoring the fact that they are beneficiaries of the blood, sweat and tears of those who broke down barriers for our rights, through voting.

If God’s people were not involved in protest and voting, African Americans would still be slaves in America. If God’s people were not involved in protest and voting, we would still have children working in the fields instead of going to school in America. If God’s people were not involved in protest and voting, we would still have lynchings, Jim Crow Laws and legalized brutality. Without protest and voting, women’s rights would still be denied in America.

Finally if God’s people don’t vote, what will be the alternative? We will be left to mourn. While we know that “this world is not our home,” and that “The Lord holds all power in His hands,” but God has given us the privilege and the responsibility to influence righteousness in the land, while we are still here. Don’t sleep on this… pray for wisdom and guidance, pray for healing in our land, pray for our elected officials, pray that righteousness will prevail, pray, pray, pray and then, GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,

In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Shepastor: "Praying Hands..."

So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. Psalm 63:4

Frequently we see pictures of “praying hands,” hands with their palms pressed together, wrist towards the chest and fingers pointed upward. But what does this really mean?

As a child I was taught to bow my head and pray in this way. However, I find that I rarely use this gesture as an adult. No particular reason, just stopped. Primarily because I frequently hold the hand of others when praying. During quiet times and in worship I might spread my hands and lift them in praise.

Recently, however, I was drawn to revisit my childhood position in prayer…pressing my palms together and lifting them towards heaven. A certain calm and peace came over me as I felt the presence of the Lord. This brief experience drew me to read about the meaning of the “praying hands.”

Below are some interesting things I discovered…
- Individuals from various religions across the world use this prayer gesture
- It is believed that Jesus himself prayed with his hands together
- It is believed that this prayer gesture is a symbol of obedience, submission, sincerity and repentance.
- Some cultures greet one another using this gesture, which signifies, “I bow to the divinity within you from the divinity within me”
- Some use this gesture as a “centering” activity that brings the two hemisphere’s of our brain together.
Some see it as a symbol of fidelity and loyalty

WOW! So much wrapped up in this simple gesture. For physical reasons (arthritis, amputations, birth defects, etc.), some may not be able to place their palms against one another. But may we all consider the power of bringing the “hands of our heart” together, bowing before our Lord in obedience, submission, sincerity and repentance. May we recognize the “divinity” within ourselves and others as we interact. May we take time to become centered, calm and focused. May we, through prayer, grace and faith, seek to be honest and loyal.

“Hear our prayer oh Lord, incline thine ear to us and grant us thy peace.”

To read more about the symbolism of praying hands, visit,

Until next week,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris