by Pastor Robert Earl Houston
FRANKFORT, KY – It’s another Sunday Night and all I can say is “Lord, thank you.”
Our 8 a.m. services went very well and had good attendance. We’ve had this second service now for a year and it’s been a blessing, a convenience, and a great preaching service. I have no regrets in having an early service and we’re the only African-American congregation in the area that offers an early service. It’s not a perfect service, but the service is definitely here to stay.
In both of our services we have the same emphasis – Family. First Sundays are the Sundays that we recognize birthdays, special accomplishments, etc. Also, we had a voting emphasis today and we announced the work of our local NAACP who is providing transportation to the polls. We obviously cannot endorse a Presidential Candidate, but we can provide transportation for those members who need to get to the polls on Tuesday.
Minister Sheniqua Roberts provided a musical selection during our early service and we were blessed by the presence of the Kentucky State University Gospel Ensemble at 11:00 a.m. After the service, we had a YOUNG ADULT BLOWOUT which was a full meal – pork chops, greens, mac-n-cheese, etc. with a presentation from our Sunday School and I had the opportunity to talk and eat with the young people as well. I told them that we want them to be an active part of the church. Young people are not the church of tomorrow, they are a part of the church of today!!!
The sermon (in both services) was not what I planned to preach. This morning, the Lord changed it and it was a doctrinal sermon, “What If Jesus Died of Old Age?” (1 Corinthians 1:23) (available at the Sermon Sharing Service – http://www.sermonsharingservice.com). It was a challenging message and it actually goes against what I teach about preaching – I argued against the text in a manner that made the text answer the argument.
Sermon snippet:I hope I haven’t raised your theological eyebrows too high, but I need to say, we have differences – we have denominations that won’t speak to each other; we have preachers that won’t fellowship with each other; we argue about whether women should or shouldn’t preach; we fight over moderators, state presidents, and national presidents; we argue whether over full gospel and trivialize the conversation to full gospel vs. half gospel vs. one-quarter gospel. We are all in agreement – HE DID DIE.
No matter if you wear a clergy collar or designer suit collar; If you’re called Pastor or Minister or Doctor or Bishop or Overseer or Apostle or International Bishop or Suffaragin Bishop or Saint or Father or CEO across the pulpit, we are all in agreement – HE DID DIE.
He died on a rugged cross. His atoning death at Calvary – but willingly, deliberately, and prophetically – dying on a cross, has changed the world, changed that region, changed cities, changed groups, but most important, changed me – for it’s by the Blood of Jesus, I now have a right to the tree of life.
Our text argues for this point. The Apostle Paul says that our preaching is not based on hyperbole. He opens up his definitive letter to the Corinthians by establishing theological principles – and Paul says, we preach, we herald, we announce, we proclaim, we publish – the crucifixion of Christ.
But…what if Jesus had died of causes other than crucifixion? What if . . .
What if Jesus had died of a heart attack?
What if Jesus had died of malignant neoplasms or cancer?
What if Jesus had died of Cerebrovascular disease or stroke?
What if Jesus had died of Chronic lower respiratory disease or emphysema?
What if Jesus had died of Unintentional injuries or a camel accident on 3rd and Main Streets?
What if Jesus had died of Diabetes mellitus or sugar?
What if Jesus had died of Influenza and pneumonia or the flu?
What if Jesus had died of Alzheimer’s Disease or senility?
What if Jesus had died of Nephritis and Nephrosis or kidney disease?
What if Jesus had died of Septicemia or systematic infection?
What if Jesus had died of Intentional self-harm or suicide?
What if Jesus had died of Chronic Cirrhosis or liver disease?
What if Jesus had died of Essential Hypertension or High Blood Pressure?
What if Jesus had died of Homicide or murder in the street?
God was kind to this preacher and to the congregation to whom the sermon was preached. We served the Lord’s Supper in both services and for the first time we had a pre-communion hymn which allowed some reflection time and some time for me to be prepared as well to serve. It went very well. I have a great reverence for the Lord’s Supper and I’m grateful for the Sons and Daughters of the ministry for their assistance along with our faithful deacons. This time of the year, our Deacons and Ministers are dressed in black suits, black shirts, and white ties/scarfs. Very good looking indeed.
This evening at 5 p.m. was our monthly Ministers Meeting and I personally look forward to this time of impartation and ministry, and yes, even some smiles and humor. I use articles that were originally published by Leadership Journal as a basis for our class and tonight, we discussed “The Patented Preacher” an article written by Dr. Warren Wiersbe (one of my favorite writers and preachers). The lesson was really about being yourself in ministry, discovering who you are. You could boil his lesson down to five points: (1) Avoid comparisons; (2) We are not in competition with any who preach the gospel; (3) We lose much by pampering ourselves; (4) If God has called you, then He has given you what you need to do the job; and, finally, (5) Give yourself time to discover and develop your gift.
I have a lot of love for these young preachers and I’m always praying that God will take them beyond what I’ve been able to experience in ministry and make a meaningful difference in ministry.
And now, the N-F-L, the National Football League.
But before I do, how about those OREGON DUCKS who historically defeated the U.S.C. Trojans. Oregon in their winter white, ran through the Trojan defense and by the end of the night, defeated them 62-51. Then the OREGON STATE BEAVERS knocked down the Arizona State team, 36-26. Both teams deserve to be in the top 10 in the nation, and the Ducks should be ranked # 1 or # 2. Sadly, Joker Philipps was dismissed today by the University of Kentucky – it’s been a dismal season for them and this move was not unexpected. And the Portland Trailblazers (2-1) look impressive. Damian Lillard is the real deal.
Denver 31, Cincinnati 23 – Uh oh, Peyton Manning is starting to flow in Denver. Could make the AFC West very interesting.
Baltimore 25, Cleveland 15 - The world is right again. The Browns are back to their losing ways.
Green Bay 31, Arizona 17 - Green Bay is a well oiled machine and that running game is off the chain (go Alex Green!).
Chicago 51, Tennessee 20 - Please don’t allow children to watch this game. This was worse than “Halloween 2.”
Indianapolis 23, Miami 20 - Andrew Luck is proving himself week after week. No NFL title this year, but you’re on the list for the future.
Carolina 21, Washington 13 – Two QBs with Heismans should hang out in the off season because both of your teams aren’t going to the dance.
Detroit 31, Jacksonville 14 - Did anybody even bother to watch this game? Jacksonville may trade for Tebow.
Houston 21, Buffalo 9 - The game was close in the first half, second half was a blow-out.
Tampa Bay 42, Oakland 32 - See the Carolina-Washington game. These are second level teams at best.
Seattle 30, Minnesota 20 - The Seahawks can’t lose at home. The problem is only half of their games are at home.
Pittsburgh 24, NY Giants 20 - This game was all Steelers – uhm, in the 4th Quarter.
San Diego 31, Kansas City 13 - See the Carolina-Washington game. These are second level teams at best.
Dallas at Atlanta. Cowboys by 3.