What a Moment in the Body!

The recent events that have filled the Christian World and the Christian Blogosphere are revealing that the Church is at a crossroad. Many of the Generals of the Faith are passing on or adavanced in age, and many of us were not ready, nor in position to catch the mantles that they could or could have passed on. We now have any number of our prominent younger leaders in The Body of Christ who are dealing with issues that have made the news in ways that are not flattering. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus because it is apparent that many in The Body of Christ have had our eyes on our leaders and not on Jesus Christ. What can we do to take advantage of this moment in The Body of Christ?

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

StephenFSmith.Org

Advertisements

Does the Devil Read Our Press Clippings?

           Surely the devil knows not to mess with the Saints of God in 2007. Hasn’t he read our bios on the inside cover or the back of our latest Christian book. Doesn’t he know that we know Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Arabic, and many other languages of old? Doesn’t he know that being churchy is now socially acceptable? Does the devil realize just how many of one’s fraternity brothers and sorority sisters that are now members of the church? Maybe someone better let the Devil know that he’s to be scared of us. Well, my brother and mysister in Christ, it is evident that the Devil is not reading our press clippings, nor our press releases.

How can the Body of Christ spend so much time tooting our own horns, when our cities are under attack? Violent Crime is spiraling upward nationwide. Racial Tolerance is at an all time low. Maybe the Devil hasn’t read all of our press clippings and our press releases. The sheer nerve of this individual to be on his mission to steal, to kill, and to destroy while we are so busy in the Body designing our next press releases! Maybe we should spend less time positioning ourselves in a flamboyant manner and more time putting our known enemy on the run!

Respectfully Submitted,

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

Sure House Church, Inc.

Till We Meet Again!

The late Bishop G. E. Patterson was a champion of the faith! Many in the Body of Christ are still grasping the enormity of his passing. He touched so many people during his life. He sat with kings and queens, but maintained the common touch. I can proudly say that the person that he seemed to be via his national broadcasts was the person that he would be everytime that you would see him. This great gospel preacher made preachers proud to be preachers. This gospel giant would preach thousands into a frenzy each and every Sunday and then he would spend nearly another hour or so after service fellowshipping with members. I have seen literally hundreds upon hundreds of small kids lined up to give Bishop Patterson a hug. He influenced so many people to strive for excellence in their individual endeavors. He was determined that no one that walked into the halls of Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ would leave like they came!

A great televangelist, a great pastor, an awesome preacher that was touchable. This man was an icon in every sense of the word, yet he would stop and shake hands with everyone in a Walgreen’s store or any business that he would walk into. Wherever he went he drew a crowd, but he didn’t let this puff his head up. I have seen him personally read many of the mounds of letters that he would receive from the viewers of his broadcast on a weekly basis. I am proud to have had the opportunity to have known this great man! God blessed us all with his wonderful example and many in the Body of Christ are looking forward to the day when we can tell this man thank you for helping us make it in! I loved the man as a father and I can boldly say that there are probably at least another thousand or so individuals who can say that same thing. Bishop Gilbert Patterson was a faithful servant that is now getting his just due in a land where there is no more sickness, no more pain, no more curse, and most of all no more death! Our Bishop is enjoying the place that God has prepared for him. Till we meet again!

Respectfully Submitted,

Pastor Stephen F. Smith

Sure House Church, Inc.

Byron Cage

Byron Cage sings the opening of Psalm 34 by singing I Will Bless the Lord at All Times. Byron Cage is one of the greatest Praise and Worship Leaders in the Body of Christ. Byron Cage is an anointed vessel. He can lead an audience into the presense of God like few can.

Winning the Argument, but Losing the Soul!

I have recently run into a group of Apologetics/Heresy hunters online. I felt that many of the larger African American ministries were targeted a little too frequently. I then submitted a post that made these individuals very upset. I suggested that maybe they should consider the potential harm to all of the individuals that follow the men that their websites target. I have been known in the past as a preacher that preaches a hard text. Yet as I grow older and wiser, I have realized that it is not in the best interest of the Body of Christ for us to send every preacher and believer that we don’t agree with to hell.

There will always be differences in doctrine in our churches. Some say that people from other churches will go to hell for not going to church on the right day, for being baptized the wrong way, or for the length of one’s hemline. One of Bishop G. E. Patterson’s most popular sermons ever was, “Salvation is an Inside Job”. In this message he tackled the various arguments over doctrine that are waged in the Body of Christ. Saints, I am also proclaiming that Salvation is an Inside Job. The late Charles Spurgeon once said that, Morality can keep one out of prison, but only the blood of Jesus can keep one out of hell. Salvation is a gift from God that doesn’t come from a list of external dos and don’ts.

One has to learn to know God for himself. I have been challenged to answer a list of questions by one of these “online barometers of ministry effectiveness”. I have also been asked why I support men like the Bishop Noel Jones, who is a oneness preacher or as they were called back in the day a “Jesus Only” preacher. I am not his best friend, yet I have enjoyed his preaching throughout the years. I don’t have to defend Bishop Noel Jones, who is one of America’s greater pulpiteers. I have heard him on many occasions and not once has he tried to assert his beliefs on a Trinitarian audience. I am one that definitely espouses Trinitarian beliefs. However; websites like Pulpit Pimps don’t have a heaven or a hell to put Bishop Jones in.

I did not feel like defending my photo with Bishop Jones would be a productive use of my time. I will always remember a comment from a muslim minster in my days of being in the world. This particular muslim minister admonished his followers to witness to Christians from the Bible, because most Christians can’t defend their faith.I resolved from that day forward to be an individual that was able to defend his faith. My decision to not engage in an online battle over doctrinal issues was not because of my inability to defend my faith.

Who wins the battle when Christians openly battle over doctrine? What benchmarks are achieved by doing this? Christians should stomp out heresy in their midst; however some of us need to reexamine the manner in which we attempt to do this. If we win the debate, what’s the prize that we will get? I submit to you the prize that we receive from our battles over doctrine, end up being pyrrhic victories, which are victories that are achieved at too great a cost. Are we winning the argument, but losing the souls? Will anyone stick around to view our battles over doctrinal issues? Do we grasp that there are potential souls of unbelievers that are ready to be won to the kingdom?

Will these souls be won by Christians who are fighting more that those in the mean streets that they came from? I considered all of these factors before I engaged this group any further. Was this my chance to show how well read I am, or was this a chance to show the sheer compassion and the boundless love that God must have in just forgiving me of my shortcomings? We serve a compassionate God who has mercies that are new every morning. Let’s not win all of the Christian arguments at the price of losing souls! Are some of us adopting the attitudes of the scribes and pharisees? Should we attempt to rid the kingdom of those who preach heresy? Yes we should, yet not at the cost of never promoting a positive message of the love of God to unbelievers!

How can we expect God to forgive our “the sin”, and not expect God to forgive the sins of others? The patriarchs of old attacked sin with a reckless abandon, but they didn’t sit back like the scribes and pharisees and just pass judgement on others. One of the surprises in heaven will be that people that some of us didn’t think would make it will make it. Yes, there will also be many individuals that we thought had heaven made, who will receive eternal damnation. A televangelist in heaven, yes heresy hunters it is very possible despite what you write about them. A heresy hunter in hell, that is also possible if one submits to the spirit of pride and feels like he or she is God’s only moral compass for the world.

There’s a Heaven to gain and a hell to shun. Let’s get ourselves right, and not be so caught up winning arguments and in the process losing souls! Contending for the faith does not mean bashing others all day long and never delivering that same faith to others!

Matthew Chapter 23 verse 23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.St. Matthew 6:14-15-14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

St. Matthew 18:21-35 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.