Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Be an Encourager: Prayer Still Works!

Be An Encourager is a group that I contribute to on Facebook that was created by some friends of mine from college. It follows the instruction of Hebrews 3:13: "Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”.

Prayer Still Works!

John 15:7 “If you abide in me and my word abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you” (niv).

You can have everything that you want within the will of God if you just ask Him. What are your desires for your life? What are your desires for your family? It is all available to you through God’s will. We have been taught in the past that if you want something strongly enough, you will pull yourself up by your bootstraps and work your butt off to achieve it. And through hard work and sacrifice (of family, health, and morals), you will reach the plateaus of success. What we have not been taught is that the key ingredient to achieving anything of true value is to have God in the midst of your plans. Hard work is good. Dedication is good. Perseverance is necessary. But though God, all things are possible.

You see, God should be the one that we consult with before we decide what we are going to do in all aspects of our life. When we use God as our compass, then anything we ask for will be within the will of God. That means that we typically won’t ask for anything that would be in conflict with the will of God. That means that when we ask for the desires of our heart; it will match up with the desire of God’s heart for us. And if we happen to ask for something that is out of the will of God, then we can accept an answer of no because we know that God is in control of our lives and that He knows what’s best. And if we are truly within the will of God, everything that we endeavor to accomplish will be successful. So be encouraged! You can receive all the desires of your heart. All you have to do is ask. And it will be done in Jesus name! So be Encouraged! Your Joy is in the Lord!

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christian Rapper of the Week: Voice

I heard of Curtis "Voice" Allen because he performed this song at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN back in 2006. I really liked "Unstoppable"; but until today I had not had any luck locating any new music from him. He has released a few albums: Progression (featuring the song, "Unstoppable"), The Crucible, and A Theist(Just recently released). Check him out on iTunes. The lyrics are spiritually solid and the beats are strong.

Video credit to tuckdragon

Album Credits:
The Crucible (2005)
The Progression (2006)?
A "Theist" (2009)


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Monday, July 27, 2009

Pictures of an Immersion Baptism

Here is perfect example of a full immersion baptism(see post below). One of my good friends from home took these pictures of her sons getting baptized this week. Thank you Haishy C. for picture permission and congratulations to Jereun and Jeremy Jr!! Baptism performed by Bishop Douglas.

Final instructions to the candidate.

At this point, the Bishop is probably saying, "In obediance to God and upon the profession of your faith in Him... I now baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!"

Down once, completely submerged in the water, and back up in less than two or three seconds.

Jereun with his baptism certificate

Jeremy Jr. with his baptism certificate


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Church Stuff: Baptism

Church stuff is a new section of "All These Things" that deals with the basics of Christianity and the common practices of the modern Christian church. I am of the Baptist Denomination. Therefore, most of what I write concerning specific practices will be based on what I was taught and what my particular church believes. I will try my best to be correct in my information. However, any input is appreciated. I will never delete a comment or question unless it is deemed disrespectful to God or lewd in wording. Tough Questions are welcomed!

What does it mean to be baptised? Getting baptised is simply a physical demonstration of your spiritual acceptance of Jesus as Lord of your life. It is what we do in the modern church to show that a person has been saved. When you join the church as a member, you can join in three different ways:

1. You may transfer your membership from your current church to your new church by having a letter sent from your old church stating that you are a member in good standing.
2. You may join the church based upon your prior Christian Experience.
3. You may join the church by being baptised into the body of Christ. This is the most common way for new believers.

Baptism is considered one of the two ordinances of the church; the other being communion (the Lord's supper). According to the Great Commission (stated by Jesus) in Mathew 28:19-20: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Jesus himself was baptised by John in the Jordan River as an example to everyone.

As I stated earlier, getting baptised is the physical act of showing that you have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. You should be baptised as a result of your salvation; not to receive salvation. Here are some common questions concerning baptism:

Q. Is there a minimum age to be baptised?
A. No. I have been taught that as long as the candidate for baptism can express a belief that Jesus is the son of God, that He died for our sins, and that God raised Him from the dead; the candidate is eligible for baptism.

Q. What if you accept Jesus Christ, but never get baptised? Do you still go to Heaven? Or do you go to Hell?
A. For this answer to this question, I use the scripture reference of Jesus' conversation with one of the thieves on the cross. While He was being crucified, Jesus was asked by one of the thieves to remember him when He (Jesus) entered into His kingdom. Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." The thief was saved right there on the cross without being baptised. It is because of this passage that we believe that as long as you accept Jesus as Lord, you will be saved.

Q. What is considered a proper baptism?
A. This is a question that has divided churches for years. I remind you that what I am about to say is based upon what we believe in our Baptist church. We believe that a proper baptism consists of the Pastor or minister in charge taking the candidate completely under water and bringing them out of the water. This is symbolic of two things. It represents the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. That is: Jesus physically died, He was buried in the tomb, and He was raised from the dead. It also represents for us the dying of the old sinful man and the raising up of the new believer in Christ. Our method is called a full immersion baptism. Other methods include pouring water over a person's head while they are in knee-deep or waist-deep in water; or sprinkling drops of water onto the candidate's forehead.

I do want to stress the fact that baptism is a show of faith, not a requirement for salvation. Everyone who believes should be baptised. But the most important part is that every person should believe. Check out this link for more information. Remember that I don't know everything. Look it up for yourself and ask lots of questions!

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mount Zion Youth Retreat

I had an opportunity to speak at our church's youth retreat on Friday night. As you may already know, I'm an associate minister at Mount Zion First Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. The theme of the Retreat was "Developing Healthy Relationships". The entire weekend focused on the youth's relationships with God, other youth their age, and themselves. Shout out to to Rev. Randle(Minister of Youth and Missions) and Pastor Mitchell for organizing some excellent programs for our youth! We had a great time. I only wish I could have stayed for the entire weekend. Here are some pictures.

This is the church seal

Group picture

From Left to Right: Brother Watson, Pastor Mitchell, Rev. Randle, Me, Rev. Steadman

Free Time:


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Friday, July 24, 2009

How I Failed at Reading the Bible in a Year

I started out reading the Bible from cover to cover this year. I found a website that offered several ways to accomplish this, chose the format that fit me best, and started reading. Throughout the first few months, everything was going well. I was reading the required number of chapters and learning a LOT of information. Then life happened. Nothing major, mind you. I just suddenly became a lot busier and a lot more fatigued. Suddenly, it got harder and harder to focus on the reading every day. I made it all the way to Ezekiel chapter 27 before I hit the wall. I remember that it was Ezekiel because I had a Reading the Bible in a Year Header on this Blog.

"What header?" you ask. Exactly. I took it down because I was becoming more and more embarrassed at the fact that it was not moving because I was not reading anymore. Now don't get me wrong... I was still studying the Bible on a consistent basis. But I couldn't focus on everything that was going on at work, the excitement of writing for the blog, spending quality time with my wife and son, and everything else that was happening in life; and keep up with my allotted number of chapters that I needed to read on a daily basis. So I let a couple of days go by; promising myself that I would make them up at my next reading. But then one missed day turned into one missed week. Then one missed week turned into two missed weeks. Then my little header tracking how much I had been reading turned into that condescending look of disapproval that told me daily that I was not doing what I was supposed to do. So one day, after looking at it for the one hundredth time and feeling bad for not reading yet again; I decided to officially throw in the towel. I gave up.

I do realize that this will probable kill the stellar impression that you have of me. I know you thought that I was perfect, but I'm not. I started something wonderfully at the beginning, learned something new about God every day, and then got tired. And I gave up. I'm not proud of it...but it's the truth. I failed at reading the Bible in a Year. I'm truly sorry. And I regret it. BUT... I do realize that I did learn a lot of information. And I was exceptionally blessed by what I did read. So I'm going to go back and start it up again.... after while.

Why am I telling you this? It's kind of like a movie I saw called "The Truman Show", starring Jim Carrey. It was a about a man whose entire life's story was filmed for a television program without his knowing about it. Every moment of his life: from the time he woke up, until he went to sleep..even while he slept was filmed. The viewing public watched him literally from birth until the end of the show. I won't give away the ending just in case you have not seen it. But it's the watching him grow part that is relevant to this particular story. Just like the character Truman, I want you to see me as I grow in Christ. As I said before, this blog has a life of its own. I am along for the ride as much as you are. But I want you to see me as honestly as I can present myself without embarrassing my wife. That's why I don't use other people's real names when I post. They didn't ask to be on the blog. I did. So I will be as honest as possible with you by showing you my many successes and my many failures. For the record... this one counts as a failure. But I will eventually read the Bible in a year. Hopefully you will be here to watch.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can Anything Good Come Out of Ruston, Louisiana?

In John 1:43-50, Jesus began to call men out of their trades in order to make them disciples for Him. Some of those men immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Him. Others... not so immediately. One of those men was Nathanael. In fact Nathanael, after hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was coming his way asked the question, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?". Nazareth was a "no where's land" in the middle of the "no where's town" of Galilee. As a result, some people found it difficult to think that the savior of the world would come out of such a desolate, unfortunate place. There was not much respect for the little town of Nazareth.

It's kind of like my hometown of Ruston, Louisiana. Ruston is a collage town that exists primarily on the money generated by it's local universities, Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University. Both of these universities draw students from many parts of the country and the world. I attended Grambling State University. And I met many people from the much-talked about cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York. And I can't remember how many times I heard people tell me, "You're from no where's Ruston, Louisiana! This little city ain't nowhere! And they would tease me and my friends because of our pride in our little city.

But here's something cool that I have noticed about my little hometown. By my count, little "no where's Ruston has produced about five ministers that are around my age including myself. I have a friend in the Ruston/Grambling area that just preached his first sermon this past Sunday. The other three were also friends that grew up with me: one was my age, one was a year younger, one was a year older. Are we all Pastors in mega-churches? No! To date, one of us is a Pastor, I am an associate at my church, and the others are active associates in their churches. But we are working diligently for God in the capacity that He has placed us in during this time. Now I know each of the people personally that I mentioned. I played highschool football with them, I worked at Wal-Mart with one of them, and I got into trouble constantly with two of them! And during those high school and collage days not many people would have guessed that we would ever turn out to be ministers. Trust me on this one.

But God saw it in us. Just as he saw fit to bring Jesus out of Nazareth, He also saw fit to bring ministers out of Ruston. God also saw fit to bring you from the city that you came from as well. No matter how large or how small your hometown was, God saw fit to make that hometown your frame of reference. There are people in every city that need to see God in us. And we all have the wonderful opportunity to give our testimonies to them. If you didn't live in your city, who would witness to the people there? Who would show the love of God to them? So take pride in your hometown. And take pride in whatever position God currently has you in. He has placed you there for a reason. I am reminded of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-29: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." We are all spread out throughout the world so that we can fulfill the Great Commission. And I want you to know that you are exactly where God needs you to be. So no matter what your circumstances, understand that God is with you. And understand that you are on the right path.

Peace and Love,

Rev Mike


Back to Homepage is providing an exciting contest over the next six months. Check out the links below to see how you could win one of 72 bibles that will be given away though this site. The Bibles range in values from $50 to over $200. Also check out the Bible Search tab located on my sidebar just above my favorite blogs. It's an excellent tool for looking up scriptures. Good Luck and God Bless!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Be an Encourager: You Have a Comforter!

Be An Encouager is a group that I contribute to on Facebook that was created by some friends of mine from college. It follows the instruction of Hebrews 3:13: "Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. This is one that I did on July 1st of this year.

Be Encouraged! You Have a Comforter!

Matthew 5:4 states, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted”. Those are the words of Jesus during His Sermon on the Mountain. I think it is safe to say there has been some mourning going on this past week. We are mourning the loss of some significant people in our lives. We have lost celebrities like Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays. We have lost countrymen, troops from the United States and the world who have sacrificed their lives for their nations’ sake. Some losses are closer to home: fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers. These are people that we could touch and hug, laugh and cry with. We are left to bear the heartbreak of their absence. I want you to know that it is okay to mourn. Mourning allows us to focus on the beautiful lives that we were blessed to spend time with. I don’t want you to think that your grief is permanent, or unending. You see, the second part of that fourth verse of Matthew, chapter five illustrates our blessing as believers. It states those that mourn will be comforted. And that comfort comes from the Holy Spirit.

Just as Jesus Christ is our door to God, the Holy Spirit is God’s comforter for us. The Holy Spirit soothes us during those times that we are desolate, and during those times that we are hurting. When we go to God with our problems, He will give us peace. The Holy Spirit is the deliverer of that peace. We can take great comfort in the fact our loved ones are no longer suffering, as well as the fact that they are in Heaven with God. And here is more good news- you still have time to receive God’s comfort for yourself. All you have to do is follow the instructions of Romans 10:9-10. “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” It is through that belief that we are saved, and with salvation comes the comfort of the Holy Spirit. So be encouraged and take advantage of the wonderful opportunity from God to experience His comfort for yourself. You will surely be blessed by it!

Be Encouraged! Your Joy is in the Lord!


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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Church Stuff: Tithes and Offerings Part II

Church stuff is a new section of "All These Things" that deals with the basics of Christianity and the common practices of the modern Christian church. I am of the Baptist Denomination. Therefore, most of what I write concerning specific practices will be based on what I was taught and what my particular church believes. I will try my best to be correct in my information. However, any input is appreciated. I will never delete a comment or question unless it is deemed disrespectful to God or lewd in wording. Tough Questions are welcomed!

In an earlier post about tithes and offerings, I spent some time talking about why tithes and offerings were used to support the church and what ministries my particular church supports with the money received. I received several comments to that post concerning the relevance of tithing and whether or not the church should still teach tithing. The comments also stated that the old Levitical tithing was "cold legalism" and not relevant for the New Testiment church. Another comment implied that all old laws died on the cross with Jesus. I went back and researched some information. I encourage you to do the same. In the meantime, here are some points that I want to make based on what I found.

I. Tithing and the Levites

The Levites were the descendants of Levi, the third born out of twelve sons of Jacob. The other sons(in order), were: Reuben, Simeon, (Levi), Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. The descendants of these twelve brothers became the twelve tribes of Isreal. Isreal was Jacob's new name that he was given after wrestling throughout the night with an angel(Genesis 32:24).

Levi had three sons. The descendents of these three sons became priests and their assistants. Levi was actually the great great grandfather of Aaron and his younger brother Moses. They were in charge of the tabernacle and other duties within the tribe. The Levites were assigned to the service of the Lord at all times; so they did not occupy a particular territory in the Promised land like the rest of the tribes. Instead they were scattered out among all the other tribes. Their sole purpose was for service. So they did not work in the fields, or hunt, or do anything outside of of that service. As a result, the other eleven tribes supported them and provided for them by bringing them a tithe of the produce of the land. I took most of this information from this site. So the tithe to the Levites was a commandment from God (Numbers 18:8-32).

II. Tithing and Abraham (Abram)

I also referenced Abram's tithe to King Melchizedek in Genesis 14. I stated that the tithe was given to the King from the spoils of war and that it was a gesture of respect to the one in authority. Matthew Henry's commentary of the Bible suggests that King Melchizedek was actually of the lineage of Moses. That would make King Melchizedek one of God's kings. See the section entitled "Abram's Interview with Melchizedek" in the Matthew Henry link. I think that it is safe to say that a tithe given to one of God's kings was a tithe to God Himself. In Malachi 3, God scolds those that refuse to give the proper tithes to Him through His priests.

III. Tithing and Jesus

I refer back to another link concerning Jesus and His views on tithing. As taken from the link: "for the Church, the point is this: Jesus implies that responsible disciples are expected to contribute to the work of God appropriately. And the standard contribution to the work of God was, and still is, ten-percent."

IV. Don't Take My Word For It!

For the sake of time, space, and my own energy; I will stop my thoughts on the subject here. And since we have established that I don't know everything, I would advise you to use this as a spingboard to launch yourself into research mode. There is a lot of information available and I would have you use some of the links that I referenced as your starting point. I hope that you learned something new from this little survey. I know that I have. And it is my prayer that we would all continue to grow with each other as we continue to grow in the Lord. More lessons to come in the future.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Christian Rapper of the Week: Tedashii

OH MY GOODNESS! I could not wait untill next week to put this one out. Video credit by fanatic 116. If you feel like Satan is attacking you, MAKE WAR!

Album Credits:
Kingdom People (2006)
Identity Crises (2009)


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Changing Direction

Let me tell you my Religious and physical background:

1. I grew up in the Baptist Church

2. Joined the church and was baptized around the age of nine.

3. Somewhere around the 10th or 11th grade I truly knew what it meant to be saved.

4. Became a knuckle-head around the second semester of my Senior year in high school (alcohol, women, bad horror movies).

5. Pledged a fraternity my second semester of collage; thus taking my knuckle-headness-ness (I don't think that's a word) to the next level.

6. Nearly got expelled from school the following semester

7. Transferred to a collage closer to my home town and proceeded to graduate with honors.

8. Two DWI's and a near suicide three months before I was supposed to graduate.

9. Still Graduated with honors with a Marketing degree.

10. Moved to San Antonio, Texas in 1997. Realized a calling to the Ministry in 2001

11. Licensed to preach in July of 2001. Been working in the church as an associate minister while maintaining a secular job every since.

12. No formal seminary training.

13. Have witnessed the love, patience, and providence of God throughout my life.

14. Still learning and praying that I will have an opportunity to do full-time ministry.

Why am I telling you this? Recent events have reminded me that I need to search the scriptures more diligently so that I can properly explain why I believe what I believe and why the church does what it does. I recognize that there are others out there that have studied both formally and informally and have a wonderful knowledge of the scriptures. These people also understand the history of the church and can quote the Bible backwards and forwards. And although I value education, I have seen God work through many different types of people. I have seen uneducated pastors lead churches for many years without one misstep. And I have also watched as churches fell into civil war under the leadership of the most educated seminarians. For the record I do see myself attending seminary in the future. Just not in the immediate future (mainly due to finances).

Again, what's the point of this? I am admitting that I don't know everything. It was not this blog's intention to be a Christian reference; just this particular Christian's reference. But part of "Getting Dangerous" for God means following God's lead as He takes you in the direction that He needs you to go. So the direction of this blog has changed. I will continue to tell you about my experiences. But I will also try to educate you on what it truly means to be a Christian. With that in mind, I need your help. Your questions and your input will challenge me to learn more so that I can put more complete information on the blog. Future posts will include:

-The observance of the Lord's Supper
-What does it truly mean to be "saved"
-Other meaty bits of information

Don't worry; I'll still be my same charming self :). But understand that the intensity level is going to go up around here every once in a while. That may be good for some of you; or maybe not. But I feel this is the direction that God is taking the blog. And I am not the pilot of this ship. So if you are still okay with that, then have a seat and buckle up. Let's find out where we are going together.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Be an Encourager: Hope in the Lord! Be Encouraged!

Be An Encourager is a group that I contribute to on Facebook that was created by some friends of mine from college. It follows the instruction of Hebrews 3:13: "Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. This week's post is from Gwaylon (G.D.) Gilbert. Gwaylon is the originator of The Be an Encourager group. His tireless effort to provide encouragement and comfort to others has resulted in a body of believers on Facebook that is over 1800 members strong to date. Congratulations G.D.!

Peace and Love,

Hope in the Lord! Be Encouraged!

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31, NIV).

Everyone has times when they feel tired and overwhelmed by the pressures of life. But notice, this scripture gives us a clear remedy: Hope in the Lord. It’s easy to put your hope in other things; maybe you had hope in a relationship, hope in a job, hope in the stock market. It’s time to redirect your hope to the One who will never let you down; the One who never changes, the Rock of Ages.

When you’re tempted to give up on your dreams, when you’re tempted to just settle where you are, listen to that still, small voice of hope on the inside that says, “No way. This is not who I am. I was created to live in victory. I was created to overcome this sickness. I was created to rise above these problems.” Put your hope and trust in the Lord because He is faithful! As you do, He will renew your strength. He’ll cause you to soar on wings like the eagle, and you’ll be empowered to move forward confidently into the victory He has for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, today I choose to put my hope in You. I know You have good plans for me. Thank You for renewing my strength and keeping me close to You. Fill me with Your peace and joy today.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Christian Rapper of the Week: Flame

video credit: catchatyou

Album credits:

FLAME (2004)
Rewind (2005)
Our World: Fallen (2007)
Our World: Redeamed (2008)


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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Church Stuff: Tithes and Offering

Church stuff is a new section of "All These Things" that deals with the basics of Christianity and the common practices of the modern Christian church. I am of the Baptist Denomination. Therefore, most of what I write concerning specific practices will be based on what I was taught and what my particular church believes. I will try my best to be correct in my information. However, any input is appreciated. I will never delete a comment or question unless it is deamed disrespectful to God or lewd in wording. Tough Questions are welcomed!

A friend of mine asked me to relay some thoughts to them about tithing and giving offerings to the church. I started thinking about it and how to put it into words. So many times, we as Christians do things because that's we are told to do. But when we have to explain why we do the things that we do, we need to make sure that we have the proper answers. Here is what I said:

The purpose of tithes and offering is to support the church. All of the tithes and offerings are designated to go to particular ministries or “accounts”. As an example, my church has a General fund account that goes for the following expenses:

1. The pastor's salary
2. The staff salary
3. Membership dues for the Baptist Conventions and other membership organizations

We also have a Building fund account that goes towards the upkeep of the Church building and for maintaining the land around the church. Then we have a Mission Offering Fund account that is designated money for our mission outreach programs. These programs include:

1. Providing food for families.
2. Supporting a ministry church in Haiti
3. Helping members to pay electricity bills, rent, or any emergency that they may need assistance with.

Here are the major questions about giving:

Q: What is a tithe?

A: A tithe is simply 10% of your income given to the church. In the book of Genesis 14:20, Abram (Who later was renamed Abraham) gave a tenth of his winnings in war to the King. It was a gesture of respect to the one in authority. Since God is in authority in our lives, we should give our tithes to God through the church. If you make $100, then the tithe is $10 dollars. Some people ask should you give 10% of your gross income or your net income. I say that you should start out giving 10% of your net income. As God continues to bless you (and He will!), then you can give more. Here’s the thing though. The tithe given is the minimum that you are required to give. If you can afford to give more, certainly give more. But don’t worry about that at this point. An offering is simply anything else that you give in addition to your required 10%(tithe).

Q: “Why should I give?

A: You should give because God has commanded us to give. In Malachi 3:10, it states, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”NIV. These are the words of God through the prophet Malachi. He is saying that we should bring in our tithes and offering to the church (storehouse) so that there will be plenty available to do the work of the church. In the scripture referenced above, the word food is used because many of the people during that time brought crops and livestock as an offering to God. The food was used to feed the priests and provide for the elderly, the widows and the orphans. The community as a whole was responsible for providing for the church so that the church could perform its duties. Just as the community provided for the church; we should provide for the church through our monetary donations(as well as our time and talent).

Q: What if the church does not do the right thing with the money?

A: Just as you are required to be responsible with your money, the church is required to be responsible with the money that is given to it. The trustees of the church have the responsibility to make sure that the money is used for what it is supposed to be used for. If the church misuses the money that you give them; then that is between the church and God. I had an old Deacon tell me that he didn’t care if the church put the money in the parking lot and set it on fire! He knew that he did what God wanted him to do by giving. His responsibility to the money ended once it left his hand and went to the church.

Q: But what if I can’t afford to tithe?

A: God promises that He will provide for us as long as we do our part. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.NIV These are the verses that we say(at my church) before we give our offering. What it means is that the more you give to the church, the more that God will give to you in blessings. They may not necessarily be monetary blessings. But they may be blessings of good health, peace in the home, and other ways. It might be a monetary blessing. But my prayer is that the blessing that you receive is the blessing that you need.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Based on the many strong comments I received on this article, I looked online to see what else was out there. Here's a good article that I found:
Does the New Covenat Require Tithing?

I copy/pasted the article below:

The New Testament clearly assumes there was a new covenant established between humanity and God through the advent of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 3.6; Hebrews 7-9). Many have claimed that grace has replaced law, which was the keyword of the old covenant. Paul wrote repeatedly that grace was superior to the law, and it seems the Church came to a similar understanding.

However, I'm not sure Jesus would agree that the old covenants with God are null and void. Indeed, he said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished" (Matthew 5.17-18). Some have said that what was to be "accomplished" was the cross-resurrection event; however, the sense of what Jesus says in the remainder of this passage seems to belie that notion: "Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5.19).

So, to the question: Should tithing be a thing of the past? One of the little known facts is related to this very issue. Did you know that Jesus had more to say about money than he did any other subject? More than about loving your neighbor? More than about loving God. He even had more to say about money than he did about his own death and resurrection. Finances were important to Jesus.

So, what did he have to say about money? Well, mostly he had to say that if we were preoccupied with money then we were in a lot of trouble. "I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God" (Matthew 19.24). He also said, "Therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions" (Luke 14:33). Pretty harsh words about our "worldly possessions" and what it means to be a true follower of Jesus. On the other hand, he never asks us to do anything he hasn't already done himself.

Jesus only once mentioned tithing by name - and that was to condemn the Pharisees who were abusing the system (Luke 11.42). The only other time the word tithing occurs in the New Testament is in Hebrews 7.5-9 where Abraham's tithe is used as an example about the high priesthood.

On the surface, it looks like the tithe just might be an old covenant issue, since it is referred to so rarely in the New Testament - and then never by command. So, why does the church still hang on to it? Because of one particular reminder by Jesus.

That reminder in found most clearly in Matthew. On Tuesday, the week of Jesus' ultimate arrest, the religious leaders were trying trump up a reason to arrest him that would stand in a Roman court. They tried a variety of trick questions, and finally got around to asking, "Is it lawful for a Jew to pay Roman taxes?" It was a loaded question. If he answered, "Yes" he would become rather unpopular with the crowd who were anti-Roman. On the other hand, if he said, "No" the Romans could arrest him for sedition. Instead he replied, "'Show me the coin used for the tax.' And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, 'Whose head is this, and whose title?' They answered, 'The emperor's.' Then he said to them, 'Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's'" (Matthew 22.19-21). His answer astounded the crowd because he had tricked the religious leaders: (1) They were in the Temple and coins with engraved faces on them were not allowed there (and the religious leaders knew better), and (2) the fact that they were using a governmental provided coin implied they owed the government for services rendered.

But for the Church, the point is this: Jesus here implies that responsible disciples are expected to contribute to the work of God appropriately. And the standard contribution to the work of God was, and still is, ten-percent.

It is written that where your treasure is, there you will find your heart. If offering ten-percent of one's income to the work of God through the church seems high, then an accounting of our checkbooks will reveal most clearly where our heart really is.

Something Lite

Q: What type of illness do Ministers Get?

A: Whooping Cough!


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time to Get Dangerous

There was a Walt Disney cartoon in the 1990's called "Darkwing Duck". It was about a duck named Drake Mallard who led a secret life as the title character. He was a relatively laid back individual until the "evil villains" attempted to do something "evil". Then he would look directly into the camera and issue is his famous catchphrase: "Let's Get Dangerous!". When that happened, you knew that he was no longer playing around. When those words were uttered, Darkwing Duck took his crime fighting intensity to the next level.

Sounds pretty goofy, right? But I was thinking about my life and what I have been doing to further God's kingdom and I came to the conclusion that my spiritual life had reached a safe place. I've been working for God, my church, and my fellow man and all that good stuff. But I had not really been stretching myself for God the way that I could. I have been conveniently working for God without completely going all out for God. Sure, I look good on paper, but what more could I be doing to take my Christian walk to the next level? Essentially, I have been playing it safe and not getting "dangerous" for God.

How can one get dangerous for God? Getting dangerous for God means that no matter what the situation, you make sure that people see God in you. Whether at work, at home, in the streets, or at church; the people that you come into contact with should see something different about you. Let's be real for a second. I have worked in a furniture store, an airline reservation office, an insurance company, and two car dealerships. I know that there is drama in every workplace. If I am truly being dangerous for God, I'm not going to get along with everybody in my office because everybody in my office is not seeking God like I should be seeking God. Being dangerous for God means not knowing every joke or every office hook-up. It means not being the most popular person in the office. It means that you are set apart.

So how can we start being dangerous for God? We should actively seek God's guidance in every aspect of our lives. That means that we should seek God first before every decision. And we should be receptive to God when he answers our questions. When we do that, we will truly start to be dangerous for God. And other people will begin to notice. They will wonder what is going on with you. And maybe, if you're really dangerous, they just might ask you what it is that makes you so different. And that will be your opportunity to do something else dangerous. You can witness to them right there at work. So let's go out there. We are under attack. The enemy is all around us. And they are serious. So....Let's get Dangerous.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Friday, July 10, 2009

8 Ways That Rev. Mike Has Acted Like the Isrealites

Israelites: God rescued them out of Egypt and slavery from Pharaoh.
Rev. Mike: God rescued him out of addiction and slavery from alcohol.
Exodus Chapter 14

Israelites: Had a short journey from Egypt to the Promised Land
Rev. Mike: Had an opportunity to serve God immediately.

Israelites: Saw the Promised Land and said, "We cannot take the land!"
Rev. Mike: Saw the opportunity and said, "It doesn't pay enough money!"
Numbers Chapter 31

Israelites: Worshiped idols (golden calf)
Rev. Mike: Chased after idol things (fancy watches, positions, respect of man)
Exodus Chapter 32

Israelites: Suffered hardships because of disobedience.
Rev. Mike: Me too.
Exodus, Leviticus

Israelites: Many of them had to die before they could enter the Promised Land.
Rev. Mike: Many habits and thoughts have to die before he can serve God correctly.
Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy

Israelites: Finally entered the Promise Land
Rev. Mike: Ready to enter into God's promise for his life.
Joshua Chapter 1

Israelites: Still didn't learn
Rev. Mike: ?????

Do you see any similarities between you and the Israelites? Read the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Duteronomy, and Joshua for more stories.

Peace and Love,


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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Be an Encourager: You ARE Beautiful!

Be An Encourager is a group that I contribute to on Facebook that was created by some friends of mine from college. It follows the instruction of Hebrews 3:13: "Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. This week's post is from Kim Ford, another one of the contributors.

Peace and Love,

What do you see when you look in the mirror? For multiple reasons, far too many people don't like what they see. This happens because some grew up in a dis functional home or were in relationships where all they heard were negative affirmations. "You're too fat", "You'll never be anything", or "You'll never make it without me" may have been heard so much that they started believing it themselves. I have great news for you. You ARE beautiful!

True beauty and confidence lives in the person who pursues Godly character. According to Galatians 5:22-23; 25-26 (The Message), when we live God's way He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears on a tree—things like:

• Affection for others,
• Exuberance about life, serenity.
• We develop a willingness to stick with things,
• A sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.
• We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to direct our energies wisely.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

In order to get rid of an unhealthy way of thinking, find out what GOD said about you. In Jeremiah 1:5 AMP, God said "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

There is no one like you. God put you together precisely. You are distinguished, marked, and uniquely you. He has perfectly, genetically, and distinctly put you together. It was God's purpose and plan for you to have your personality, gender, and nationality. Instead of a devalued, hopeless, and helpless feeling that we are nothing and never will be anything ... our heavenly Father gives us love and counts us so valuable that He sent His only Son to die on a cross so we could live with Him forever.

Look in the mirror and declare: "I am NOT the product of my past or of my environment. I am NOT who other people say I am. I AM who God says I am. I AM who God is calling me to be." Thank God and confess it aloud repeatedly, then watch your image take on the image of your Maker and Savior. Share this and encourage others to let them know "You ARE beautiful!"


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Don't Waste Your Life Concert

This is the concert I've been talking about for the past couple of weeks. Definately a great show to experience. All five of the artists performed and testified throughout the night. Don't hesitate if you get a chance to see them in person. And if rap music is not your thing, then pray for them that they continue to do a great work for the Lord.

Check out their link here:

Concert Location

Sho Baraka

Sho Baraka's T-shirt

Trip Lee's Shirt

Lecrae on the left and Trip Lee on the right. The gentleman in the center is a staff member at Tri-Point




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Christian Rapper of the Week: Da T.R.U.T.H.

video credit to 77fattyboy77

Da T.R.U.T.H. is an acronym for "To Reach U Through Him".
Check out the Lyrics:Man Up Lyrics

I want to let you know the reason why I am pushing Christian Rap so much lately. I grew up on rap music. My favorite rap artists from the past were NWA,Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Ghetto Boys, 2 Pac, and Dr. Dre(the Chronic). I still have some of those artists on my IPOD. But when I listen to the lyrics to those old rappers, I think about the things I was going through during those years of my life when those songs were popular. And I realize how dark those days were for me. I tried really hard to get into contemporary gospel music. Although a majority of the contemporary gospel music is spiritually correct; it just doesn't do it for me. Christian rap has allowed me to feed my spiritual man with positive lyrics while still being able to feel the beat and nod my head. So now I listen to Christian Rap Artists like Eric Cross, Da T.R.U.T.H., The Cross Movement, Lecrae, Tripp Lee, Sho Baraka, Tedashii, Flame, and many other very talented artists. That's why I listen to Christian Rap. And I'm not slamming contemporary Christian music. I think that it is very good for worship service and for casual listening. But I don't want to sing Amazing Grace in the car while I'm driving to work. Just like I don't want to listen to jazz, or R&B while driving. It makes me fall asleep. It's great music; but it's just not what I want to hear at the time. Country music(as another example) is full of extremely talented musicians. But you will never hear it playing on my radio. It's my personal taste. I just wanted to say that.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike

Updated 10/14/09: There are a lot of ministers and churches that are either pro-christian rap or anti-christian rap. As I have read through the blogs I have seen many strong opinions for both sides. I advise you to use this litmus test to determine whether something is truly of God:

1. Does the music that you listen to or the T.V. show that you watch bring glory to God?

2. Do the artists seek to exhalt and edify God or themselves?

3. Do you feel that God would be pleased in the fact that you expose your spiritual man (or woman) to these platforms of expression?

Govern yourselves accordingly...


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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Questions and Answers

My wife and I had an interesting conversation with our son this week. I don't remember how it came about; but he began to ask us questions about Heaven and Hell. Now if you know my son (and many of you do), then you know that he is a typical five year old. That means every question that you answer is typically followed by another question.

Son: "What happens if we don't go to Heaven?"

"Then you will go to Hell," my wife answered.

"What happens when you go to Hell?" was the first follow-up question.

"You don't want to go to Hell," I told him hoping that that would be the end of the topic.

"But what happens if you do go to Hell?" He was not going to let it go.

"You don't want to go to Hell," I repeated as my Reverend Thompson character began to emerge. "If you go to Hell you will suffer eternal torment,".

"What's eternal torment?"

I should have known that would happen. Suddenly, I realized that I was in a corner. I was like a boxer trying to survive the first round, but having a hard time doing so because the other guy wouldn't stop hitting me. Do I go into my limited bank of intelligence to explain the fear that has been injected into every Christian's subconscious about total damnation, lake of fire, and all that other stuff? Do I tell him that a red monster with cloven hooves and a pitchfork is going to drag him off to be tortured forever and ever? Or, do I do like many of us do in the modern church and just tell him to be quiet and trust me on this one? I decided to fight out of my corner.

"Eternal torment is a lot like being tickled forever and ever without stopping," I said. My son hated to be tickled and I was trying to get him to grasp the concept of endless torture. To prove my point, I grabbed him and began to tickle him until he was rolling on the floor, laughing and trying to get away from me. After a killer fifteen second tickle attack he lay on the floor trying to get his breath back. When he recovered, he sat up and looked me in the eye.

"But what's eternal torment?", he asked again. So my wife and I tried to figure out a way to explain eternal torment to a five year old. And then something came to me.

"If you go to Hell," I told him. "You won't get to see me or mommy anymore."

That got his attention. "Why not?"

"Because mommy and daddy are going to be in Heaven. And if we are in Heaven and you are in Hell, then we won't see each other anymore. Does that make sense?".

Son: "Yes".

Me: "So what do you think? Do you want to go to Heaven or Hell?"

Son: "I want to go to Heaven,(yes!)".

But I couldn't let it stop there. I asked him who he thought Jesus was, what was Jesus' relationship to God, and did he believe that Jesus died for our sins. He answered me back correctly on all questions. He believed that Jesus was God's son. Yes, he believed that Jesus died for our sins. Yes he believed that Jesus was in Heaven with God. And then he went back to playing on the floor.

But here's the thing. I don't know if he completely understands the concept of Heaven or Hell. And I know that he doesn't understand the concept of the Trinity. Some adult Christians don't know that. But my wife and I have tried to answer as many of his questions as honestly as possible in order to build upon his Christian foundation. Was our approach to his questioning the best? I don't know. But here's why I went with the separation from Mother and Father. Do you remember when Jesus was on the cross in Matthew 27:46, and he screamed out "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"(niv). That question occurred because Jesus had experienced separation from God from the very first time. For my son, separation from my wife and me is the absolute worst thing that could happen to him. The most effective punishment we can do to him is not to spank him; but to make him sit in his room by himself. We have tried spanking by the way. So by making him realize that he would be separated from us forever, we created in him a desire to go with us to Heaven. I know he should be focused on being in Heaven with God, but gimme a break... he's five! We can transfer that focus to God more and more as he gets older.

But I learned something about myself during that conversation. I began to think about what it would be like for me to be separated from God. Imagine, not being in good relationship with God and hearing Him say "...Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me,"(Matthew 25:41-43). That's not a conversation that I want to have. By having to answer my son's questions, I essentially had to answer one of my own. Why don't I want to go to Hell? Simple. I don't want to be separated from God the Father. Not a bad lesson to learn; even if you already knew it.

Peace and love,

Rev. Mike


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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Be An Encourager: Your Destiny is Still Before You!

Be An Encouager is a group that I contribute to on Facebook that was created by some friends of mine from college. It follows the instruction of Hebrews 3:13: "Encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”.

Have you ever sat and wondered exactly what you were supposed to be doing with your life? Do you feel like you are not where you should be, or even where you want to be right now? I know that I have felt this way on many occasions. And I’m just talking about work and personal life. I haven’t even touched on what I am supposed to be doing for God. I think that we can all agree that God has been a great influence and protector in our lives. But are we really doing everything that God has planned for us? I would say probably not. But here’s the good news. God has a special purpose prepared for each one of us. And He is preparing us to enter into that purpose. How do I know this? Because I know that God prepares His servants to excel at the missions that He sets before them. Remember the story of Joseph in the Bible? He was seventeen years old when he received his dream that his brothers and parents would all bow down to him (Genesis chapter 37). Little did he know that he would be in control of the entire food supply of Egypt; and second in command to Pharaoh. But Joseph had to go through some major challenges before he was mature enough to handle such an important mission. He also had to go through some hardships in order to be in the right place at the right time. Had his brothers not sold him into slavery, Joseph never would have ended up in Egypt where his destiny was.

When I look at my own life, I realize that God has also taken me through some hardships in order to place me where I needed to be. I had no intention of coming to San Antonio, Texas. Yet by being in San Antonio, I have gone through some life experiences that have prepared me for everything that I am doing for God and for my church right now. Now, it’s important for you to understand that I have not yet come completely into my destiny. God is still preparing me. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel a lot better now than I did when I first arrived here in 1997. Back then, I was an alcoholic with a bad attitude and no job. Now I am a minister who is able to tell someone that you can give up your addiction and be the man or woman that God needs you to be. I’m happy to say that I have been completely sober for eight years. Am I perfect? No! Am I better than I was? Yes! Look at your own life. I bet that you can see that God has taken you through some major experiences. I know that you are stronger because of them. And I bet that you are able to be a positive influence on your peers and your communities. The important thing to remember is that you are further along on your journey than you think. And God is still in control of that journey. Just continue to pray and ask for His guidance. And I know that He will answer all of your prayers. How do I know? I know because He answered my prayers.

Peace and Love,

Rev. Mike


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Christian Rapper of the Week: Trip Lee

I'm really excited about this concert coming to San Antonio. These brothers are exceptionally talented Christian Rappers.
Check out tour dates for your city at this link:

Here is one of the members of the tour, Trip Lee. This is the video with lyrics for "Inexhaustable".

video credit to Pantaziu

Album Credts:
If They Only Knew (2006)
20/20 (2008)

Album Credits with the 116 Clique:
The Compilation Album (2005)
The Compilation Album: Chopped & Screwed (2006)
13 Letters (2007)
Amped (2007)


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