Tag Archives: religion

The Label Says Cotton Blend But I know Better!

cotton_labelI come from a background of textiles.  Yes, Gaston County, North Carolina was my hometown area, and our bread and butter were textiles.  I didn’t know anything else for 18 years.  My dad and mom worked in it all their lives.  It was nothing for me to see my dad covered in lint from the top of his head to the tops of his shoes.  The fragrant smell of cloth, yarn, cotton and material dye permeated our clothes, our house and our town.

Even now, I find myself buying a new garment and putting it up to my nose to get a nostalgic smell and memory of my childhood days. I know that someone has just used the label to sell me a cheap product.

I overheard a conversation recently with some pastors and one pastor’s comment was that he makes sure that they are “Christians” before he marries them.  I interjected into the conversation.  I explained how that it is a sad commentary, as there are non-Christians who have better marriages than Christians a lot of the time.

Just because someone wears the label “Christian” it doesn’t always mean what we think it means.  However, many choose to use that label to be accepted by others, to gain favor in business relationships or even to gain a position or favor swinging the pendulum to their side.

When folks wear the label and don’t measure up to the standards of what Christ meant–it sadly devalues the entire family of believers.  So what do we do about it?  We continue to show others what it means to be 100% Christian and not a blend of good and evil.  Even Jesus said that there would be tares among the wheat.  Tares look like wheat until maturation at harvest time.  The wheat bows over with the golden top.  However, the tares stand upright and proud.

Interesting that wheat bows while tares pridefully do not.  Yes, there are people who look like, smell like, act like and even wear the label of Christian that live among us.  In actuality, they are just not Christians.  Jesus said at harvest time, he would take care of them.

Remember, it might say it on the label, but it doesn’t mean it is the read deal.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.com

Why Do We Call Ministers Reverend?

ordinationJesus was so right on when he made several statements about the titles many carried in His day. He realized that agape didn’t need titles to get people to love and respect Him. Even in His last days, the opposition tried to call Him king, and He just replied with a non-answer answer.

We have so many religious titles that men love to have, wear and become attentive to when called by their title. We have the reverends, the pastor, father, bishops, overseers, elder, priests, and rabbi. Many in the religious fields probably feel that they could take them or leave them. However, there are those who feel that respect is in a title. Their expectation of others to call them by their title is their reassurance of that respect.

Agape doesn’t label religious leaders with titles. We give men titles because of protocol in our religious world’s system. Men receive titles to assure others that they have completed the criteria and process demanded of them for that office.

People who know me call me Tim; others call me Timothy. Some call me Pastor Timothy. When I was growing up in church, we called the pastor, “preacher.” Some, I have come to find out, feel that that title is disrespectful. I never could figure that one out.

I appreciate it when people call me pastor, but the truth of the matter is that if they wanted to call me Tim or Timothy, it’s just fine with me. Agape carries with it a respect and care for others without the crown of a title. Agape says that you can just call me by my name; I don’t need to be called by any title.

Jesus even referred to those who were psychologically gratified and loved having their egos fed when others would call them by their titles. They loved it. They lived for it. Vanity is the foundation for such titles. They are used by those who crave attention.

I was in the presence, years ago, of a man who was a district overseer for a particular denomination. He demanded that no one call him by his first name, but by his title, “Bishop.” I guess some people need that sort of thing in the religious world.

Agape says you can love me for who I am. Agape says that I’m going to love you for who you are. Agape is not bias, prejudice nor judgmental. Agape loves when all other loves fail.

Paul says that if I have not agaped, I am nothing. It doesn’t matter if you have titles a mile long, If you don’t agape people, then you are absolutely nothing. That’s pretty harsh. However, agape should be the basis for our leadership and not what title we hold. Jesus asked Peter if he agaped Him and then he told him to feed His sheep. It was agape that would cause Peter to lead people, not a title of rank. Respect is not found in a title. Respect is found in a person.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo11

You See Them Everyday

les9fig10Have you ever given yourself permission to leave your circumstances and situations just to think about him or her and what they go through or are going through? You see them everyday, and yet you give no time to how they think or what they feel. You might just say, “Hi, how are you?” They reply back to you, “Fine, thank you.” You hear this reply all the time because they really don’t expect you to notice, care or even listen to how they really are. Our politeness and courtesy, many times, become a futility of meaningless words. Just being friendly, that’s all that’s required of us right?

Now let’s go back to them. You see them everyday and do you really want to know how they are feeling or what they are going through? Agape says, “Yes, I really, seriously do.” Agape says, “I’m going to take the time to find out (if they want to share with me) the good, bad and the ugly of their lives.” They might need you right now. They might just need someone who sincerely cares about them and their circumstances. They might even need something you have that you could possibly give them. It doesn’t have to be money. So don’t even let that be your first thought.

You see them everyday and you just go through the process of acknowledging them and share in your return of verbal niceties. “Yeah, I see you. So there.” Then we allow them to go on their way and we get back to doing what we were doing. When you’re really focused on what is going on in your life at the time, you don’t want to take time for others–now do you? When you’re in a time crunch, now is not the time to show agape. Or is it? Maybe it does show agape when you’re in a self absorbed moment and you’re willing to show the other person the agape of Jesus.

You see them everyday and you know we live in a complicated and messed up world. People travel through life storms as well as emotional or physical earthquakes of catastrophic proportions. Proportions, of which, we are unaware. They need our agape! They need it right at a time when they wish they could find an emergency red handle on a wall somewhere that says, “pull if you need someone who cares!”

Yes, you see them everyday but they look and act just like you and me. You don’t know what is churning on the inside of them unless agape seeks out the bad and replaces it with good. Agape says, “I’m busy, but I do have time for you.” Agape says, “I care when no one else cares.”

Agape says, “Come unto me, all you busy people who are tired of hiding your problems and acting like nothing is wrong, and I will give you relief and rest.” – Jesus Christ.

Agape should be on the endangered species list. It is so very difficult to find when you need it.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo9

He Doesn’t Care For Plastic Surgery

first_surgery_1Modern medicine is simply amazing. They can almost do anything with surgery and creativity. You can be remade, refurbished, re-fixed, remolded or re-anything for that matter. There have been those who have had catastrophic accidents and the surgeons were able to correct it to almost its original state.

Men and women who have been injured on a battlefield have required extensive skin and bone surgery and our wonderful doctors have been able to bring some semblance of hope and joy to these people because of their skills.

Dr. Jonathan Dutton came into my life years ago when I was required to have a tumor examined behind my left eye. Dr. Dutton, an ocular-plastic surgeon at Duke University shared with me, pre-surgery, that he would leave a line on my eyebrow that would give the appearance of an expression line. This was to keep from having a major scar. He was true to his word. More years later, Dr. Dutton shared with me his involvement in introducing and utilizing Botox to the market of the common public for cosmetic purposes.

I have had difficulties and situations in my life that have left scars, rips and tears in my emotional and spiritual appearance that needed some major work so that others would perceive me as having it all together and in total and complete health in both areas. However, as usual in plastic surgery, I knew many people could see through that and knew that I had an artificial makeover. The makeover was more embarrassing than the actual disfigurement. It made me look proud and vain.

However, God showed me that agape went deeper than my scars, rips and tears. In fact, He didn’t like the fact that I was trying to take care of something that I had no education or skill in. He didn’t like that I was trying to do self-surgery and internal spiritual repair. His agape to me revealed what my lover knew about me all along. See, in spite of my emotional and spiritual disfigurement, He agaped me for who I was. He agaped me for me. He knew I had been afflicted, storm battered and un-pitied. He told me He didn’t care for plastic surgery. For He showed me scars of agape on His body. I smiled when He said, “Look, see these deep scars on my forehead?” He told me of the crown of thorns. “And look,” He said, “see these scars on my back?” I turned my face in horror. But when He took my hand and grasped them with both of His, I wept as I felt two very deep scars; one on top of my hand from His hand and one underneath my hand from His hand.

He told me that His agape for me would take care of me above and beneath. His scars were proof of that agape.

I’m so glad that that He doesn’t like plastic surgery. However, I realized that my scars don’t matter anymore. His scars are all that matter now. For when I looked again at mine, they were gone, and I looked at Him again and saw them on Him where mine once were on me.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW-www.exaltationchurch.comeclogo4

Love Is A Wonderful Thing

320_si_207_kissDuring the campaign of President Obama, there was much talk of religion and him having to distance himself from his pastor of 20 years as a result of political pressure. This action didn’t help those who see themselves as being “religious” and only aided the cause of those who do not see the need for religion. To some he was doing the right thing, to others he was playing the role of the hypocrite for just now doing this for the sake of his campaign. I have a gut feeling that he’ll be viewed as a prodigal who lost his mind for a while and then returned to the safe haven of his former pastor.

All too often, people view events such as this and shake their head in bewilderment and confusion wondering what the real deal is as it is pertains to Christianity. People want to see and know if believers are “keeping it real.” Now, here is where it gets perplexing.

Everyone uses phrases like, “we ought to love one another. We ought to love our neighbor as ourselves. Love is a many splendored thing,” and on and on. However, are we really receiving this kind of love?

Imagine with me a world where people actually loved one another like family. Ok, so that’s not going to happen, I agree. So where are we going to get this love? And when we need it, where do we find it? Don’t you know of people that are in dire need of love? Don’t you know of people who don’t have any love? What do they do?

God originally asked his children to love others and to show His love to others. I long for our Christian brothers and sisters to become skilled at of the love of the Father and distribute it with others. However the first thing we have to do is recognize, experience and know this love. It’s not just any kind of love. It is a love that looks beyond faults, failures and flaws. It’s a love that gives someone a hug because you know they need it. It’s the kind of love that kisses someone on the face because they need it. It’s the kind that cries for the person who needs it–out of concern for them. It is a love that loves intensely.

See, this is the kind of love of which Jesus was speaking. When you understand this love, you’ve understood God’s love; agape love. A love that comprises all loves within one. A love that cares, embraces and serves others. A kind of love that is so far above all other types of love, that it is inexplicable.

Anybody need some love?

We have plenty of it.

That’s what I think about it

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.com

Field Generals of Faith

weweresoldiersA field general is one that takes charge of his men, not just in speech, but also in action. They see him doing–not just saying. He’s a player, not a cheerleader.

A pastor is very much like a field general. He must not be one who barks out orders and waits to see what happens. Contrarily, he must lead in confidence knowing that what he says and does has been asked of him by his commander; the Lord Jesus Christ. He must be fully convinced of, not only what he says, but also what he does.

He must be one who understands the ministry and it’s successes. He also must understand how to prevent failure. He must be one whose metal psyche has been tried, tested and “passed muster.” He has to have the full support of those in his care, guided by his confident demeanor, wisdom and prayerful attitude.

The pastor must not only teach about faith and works, he must show his faith by his works. He does not just cheer people on to victory as some excited cheerleader, but leads in victory by his uncompromising and undeniable faith in Christ.

A pastor must have a track record of fresh faith victories. Victories in the past are great, but they become repetitive and stale; fodder for worn out, dated war stories. People need spiritual leaders who are strong in their vision, purpose and calling. Pastors fall (many times) into the trap of encouraging people to be what they themselves are not. It is at this point where his followers will cease to become courageous. Instead, fear and doubt will become familiar companions once again.

A field general will be passionate about the vision. He will be the one who goes after the fallen (in the midst of the hail of fire from the enemy) when he needs to. He will be the one who shows what love is–rather than telling about it.

No one imitates a cheerleader except another cheerleader. However, a “pay-er” in the stands of a football game will identify with the “play-er” on the field. See, because we love the field general, the captain and the coach.

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – http://www.exaltationchurch.com

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall!

obama-senateSince April 30, 1973, when America was going through a dark time and President Nixon was finishing up a speech to the nation regarding the resignation of major players in his administration, he said what no other President before had at the conclusion of his speech; “May God bless America.”

May God bless America. I have to stop and just think about that phrase.

Gerald Ford nor did Jimmy Carter humbly stoop to use that phrase (surprisingly enough since Jimmy was a Baptist).

However, Ronald Regan made full use of the phrase and communicated his sentiments well through it.

Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43 utilized that phrase in over 80% of their speeches.

I was again reminded of the phrase when President Obama repeated it after his speech to the joint session of Congress recently.

It caused me to think about other phrases about God we employ.

Not only do we use “May God Bless the United States of America,” but also “In God We Trust,” or “…One nation under God.” We really want God’s help in America, and we boldly proclaim it after presidential speeches, on our money and in our Pledge of Allegiance. However, somehow some still think we need a wall of separation between church and state.

The money system that America has depended on has failed us once again. The best economic strategists, otherwise known as the “priests of money,” have no clue on how to fix the problems we are experiencing. All we see from the financial gurus are palms facing upward and shoulders being lifted as the mouth quips, “I dunno?”

So, what do we do?

We go back to what has successfully sustained our nation; God.

Our nation was founded on His word, principles and ideals. 80% of Americans claim to be His children and what some were ostensibly relying on just isn’t working (no surprise here).

So, as Regan said in a speech while in Berlin to President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, I say to Mr. Obama, “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL THAT SEPARATES CHURCH AND STATE!”

You want change? Then here’s your change; tear down this wall, and let’s call a week of prayer and fasting, and then let us see what will happen to our nation. Before any speech to the joint house of congress, do what is done every morning before the session starts by my friend Chaplain Barry Black of the United States Senate or a designee, and that is to have prayer.

Mr. Obama you claimed to be a Christian during your campaign. Show us your colors.

If not, at the end of your speech from now on, you might want to say something like, “May Warren Buffett bless America.” Or, you can use, “May Bill Gates bless America.” Give it a shot and let’s see if they will “show us the money!”

That’s what I think about it.

DTW – www.exaltationchurch.com