HANNAH: FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED

This message,
HANNAH’S PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED
by Rev. Bobbi Morehead, PH.D. was preached at
The Potter’s House Church on December 1st, 2021

Pastor Hopper asked me to teach this lesson about Hannah’s prayers. So I knew that there was something or somethings that God specifically wanted me to learn through preparation to teach this lesson. I will share with you what God impressed upon me, and I believe that you will hear and receive a God nugget to challenge you to allow Scripture to lead, guide, and direct your life. 

LET’S PRAY– Dear Jesus, I pray as we reflect upon the story of Hannah and her prayers that we remember to seek your kingdom first, that we find solutions and refuge in your house, that we keep our promises and commitments, and that we always remember to praise you and give you thanks.  

YOUR WORD REMINDS US – In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I pray your thoughts and not my own filter this study and that I only speak words according to your will- In Jesus Name, we pray, AMEN.





Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4 is one of my favorite scriptures. I loved it so much that I had a comforter made for Rose’s bed with this Scripture. I want Rose to be wrapped in this Scripture, because like Hanah, FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED.   I know Pastor asked me to teach this lesson because I can so easily relate to the prayers of Hannah. 

I’m going to tell you the story of Hannah in my own words and include some scriptures from I Samuel chapters 1 and 2. 

Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah. Hannah had no children and was deeply grieved about having no children. I think she was sorrowful for several reasons- First, In that era, women were judged as “less than” if they were barren. Additionally, Penninah (Elkanah’s other wife) constantly made fun of Hannah for being barren. But I believe there was an even greater, deeper reason why Hannah was heartbroken. She had a divine longing to have a child. Hannah knew she had a call from God to bear a child for kingdom purposes. It’s was deeper than a desire to nurture. It was a legacy longing- rooted in her devotion to God. 

Hannah’s husband loved her so much and wanted her to know that he loved her more than his other wife (that’s a whole different story). He gave her extra “presents” to make her feel better about being barren. He even said, “Am I not better to you than 10 sons?” This, of course, did not alleviate the intense burden Hannah carried, knowing her purpose was to have a child for divine service. 

During their annual pilgrimage to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice, Hannah prayed for God to give her a child. 

She prayed so long and so hard and so often that words escaped her. She was so deep in prayer that Scripture says her lips moved, but no words came out. The temple priest, Eli, thought she was drunk and scolded her. Hannah’s response was, I’m not drunk. I’m just sorrowful. I am praying for a child so that I can give him unto the Lord all the days of his life for service in God’s kingdom. 

Eli responded, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:17

1 Samuel 1:18 records Hannah’s response “And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

Hannah received instant peace. Nothing had changed in her situation, but God had spoken through Eli, and Hannah BELIEVED that her situation instantly changed. We know this by what she did- wiped her face, smiled, and ate. 

The story continues, and Hannah had Samuel, and once he was weaned, she brought him to the temple in Shiloh. 

1 Samuel 1:26-28 reads- “And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my Lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.”

Samuel goes on to be a mighty prophet and man of the Lord – a pivotal leader of the Israelites. The Lord first called him at age 11. Little people can do mighty things for God even at age 11. 

As I have reflected on the story of Hannah, God has impressed upon me several essential points:

1) RUN TO THE HOUSE OF GOD

2) TRUST GOD 

3) KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS 

4) PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE

1) RUN TO THE HOUSE OF GOD

First, when you have a need, when your heart is broken, when you feel devastated and made fun of, run (don’t walk) RUN to the house of God. Pour out your sorrows to Jesus just like Hannah did. Hannah didn’t retaliate and give Penninah a piece of her mind, tell her off, smack her, or post about her on FB. She took her hurt to Jesus. Hannah didn’t look around her and say other people (less worthy than me) have kids, and I don’t, so I’m going to get mad at God and let bitterness take root and grow. Instead, She sought refuge in the house of God. She prayed about her situation. God, help me remember this important lesson. PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!

PERSONAL CONNECTION– I remember graduating in December of 2007 with my Ph.D. and thinking I’ve accomplished everything I want to in my educational/ professional goals. That distraction was no longer available. The following winter and spring, I constantly woke up early in the morning with an urgency to have a child. Looking back, I know it was a God urgency- A kingdom dream. 

I was never a baby person, and honestly, my husband took care of Rose much more than I did when she was a baby. But I always had a deep desire to raise a child to boldly and bravely stand for Jesus and be a bright light. However, along the journey, David and I thought we would not be able to have a child. We looked into adoption and thought we were going to adopt a baby. I remember the day that dream closed. I came directly to the house of God and let my sorrowful heart talk to Jesus right here at this altar. Thank you, Lord, for always giving me a desire to seek refuge in your house and pour out my troubles and heartaches to you. 

God did give me peace, and I wiped away the tears, and the Lord changed my countenance. My situation had not YET changed, but I received peace of mind to continue.  

2) TRUST GOD

The second point God impressed upon me is Hannah’s example of trusting God and trusting His anointed one, Eli. When Eli speaks to Hannah and says, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” She immediately dries up her tear-streaked face, smiles, and eats with her family. She does not doubt the message of God or judge the messenger. The Word even tells us Eli fell short. He ignored his sinful son’s behavior and allowed the temple to be desecrated. But Eli was still the anointed one until God transferred that anointing to another. It was not Hanah’s job to judge the messenger. God’s message is far more powerful than any messenger He chooses. Hannah knew her lane. She prayed to God, and God spoke a promise through Eli. Hannah accepted that promise and felt instant peace even though she had yet to fulfill the promise. Lord, help me trust your promises and your process. Help me stay focused on your message and pray for your messengers. 

3) KEEP YOUR PROMISES.

The third point God is speaking to me is keeping your promises. 1 Samuel 1:27-28 says, “For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.”

I prayed for Rose, and I promised to raise her to love Jesus to the best of my ability. 

I pray, Lord, please never let my relationship with Rose become more important to me than nurturing Rose’s relationship with you. I will repeat that because God has so strongly placed this on my heart. Lord, please never let my relationship with Rose become more important to me than nurturing Rose’s relationship with you, Jesus Christ. 

My greatest desire is to see Rose love and obey Your Word. Lord, help me celebrate Rose’s relationship with you because, FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED.

PERSONAL CONNECTION- We dedicate our babies to the Lord but do we faithfully keep that commitment? Do we celebrate the right things? Are we more concerned with grades, awards, sports, trophies, cute outfits, and entertainment? Lord, help me keep my commitment to you and follow through with the baby’s dedication. Help me celebrate the things that draw Rose closer to you. Rose loves youth rallies. She loves youth class. She loves Sunday school class. She loves going to church. I celebrate that.  

Lord, I’m so thankful my child chose to sing a Christian song to try out for a solo for her winter concert at school. Lord, I’m so grateful my child has a desire to lead a P7 Bible Club at public school. I’m thankful I stand outside her bedroom door and hear her singing songs about Jesus as she drifts off to sleep. I celebrate this. Thank you, Jesus. Please never let me take that for granted. 

Lord, help me follow through with my commitment to first and foremost raise Rose to LOVE you… because FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED.

I feel led to share with you an article I wrote in the Pentecostal Herald in August of 2012, which illustrates what I most desire to impart to Rose- an Apostolic Legacy.

LEAVING AN APOSTOLIC LEGACY

In 2010 God miraculously blessed me with my baby girl, Rose Marie Morehead. Our journey to become parents had been filled with the answer no. 

Mother’s Day had become a day I would rather skip due to all the condolences and “comforting” hugs I received for not having the opportunity to be a mother. BUT GOD… decided to allow me the privilege of becoming a mother. My journey was marked by a series of “Letters to Rose” my daughter about what’s most important in life. If I had one last chance to impart an Apostolic legacy through a “Last Lecture,” or letter, this is what I would want my precious baby girl to know.

Rose, “Seek you first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). God must be first. He must be the Alpha and Omega of your day, year, and life. Every goal you set for yourself must be grounded in your love for Jesus Christ and your desire to make Him LORD of your life.   

Baby girl, always love this Apostolic message. Teach it, preach it, live it, love it, and PROTECT it. Every night during the first year of your life as I fed you and rocked you to sleep, I quoted Acts 2:38-39, 

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” 

And then I would sing to you, “I’m a one God Apostolic tongue-talking holy roller born again Heaven-bound believer in the liberating power of Jesus name. I’ve been washed in the blood and sanctified by the Spirit. I believe in holiness and I suggest that you do the same….” 

This song and passage of Scripture will never become outdated or irrelevant. 

Rosie, one of Momma’s favorite Scripture passages comes from Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I desired that will I seek after that I may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life and behold his beauty and inquire in his temple.” Always love the house of God, the people of God, and the work of God. The best place to learn is in His temple or presence surrounded by His people. I want you to know that your Momma took this Scripture literally and sought refuge in His house. While I attended Western Michigan University, my favorite place to do my homework was at the church. 

I have always loved just being in His house—your mom values education. I have many degrees. But the education I value most I learned in His House, from His Word, or by standing still and listening to His voice. Life can be stormy, but my Jesus always calms the storms. Only He has the authority to say, “Peace be still.”

Rosie, I want you to know that when life knocks you down, and you feel like you can’t get back up, you can read Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.” Repeat that over and over when you need the courage to take another step. 

Know that your mind will often be where the most dangerous wars are waged, but you can choose to fortify your mind: “Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

Memorize 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” Baby girl, the mind is such a battlefield because it is powerful. 

When we can get our minds stayed on Jesus and meditate on His Word, faith grows, and powerful things will be accomplished through what you do, say, live, and sow.

Rose, never be ashamed to share your weakness with others. His Word says that when we are weak, we are strong in Christ. God designed us to need each other and support each other. Sometimes you will be the one loving on others and offering words of wisdom and support. Sometimes you will be the one feeling like you can’t take another breath, and God will send someone to speak into your life just when you need it most, pray for you, and love on you. It is okay to feel strong and weak. But I have learned over the years that He is the most active and powerful in me when I am weak.

Rosie, one of Momma’s favorite Scripture passages is Romans 8:38-39, which tells us that “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” During the darkest hours, I have repeated that passage repeatedly as I hugged my Bible to give me peace and comfort. It is okay to literally depend on Jesus and His Word every second of every minute of every hour of every day. 

I have read this letter to Rose many times. The greatest way I can keep my commitment to God “For this child, I prayed” is to pray for her everyday intentionally. 

Hanah made a coat for her son each year. I envision her praying over this coat specifically and intentionally. 

My husband introduced me to a book entitled “Praying Circles Around Your Children by Mark Batterson.” Batterson gives parents and leaders of children a great idea of praying for your kids. He says that our life is made of lists- a grocery list, an invite list, and a to-do list; why not create prayer lists? He writes . . .

“In fact, prayer is not about our agenda for God at all; it’s about discovering God’s agenda for us. But once we discover His agenda, we have to write it down. In my experience, it’s very difficult to pray with specificity, intentionality, and consistency without a prayer list. And for the record, I encourage you to keep a record. Then you can give God the glory when He answers your prayers.”

I then created a prayer list for Rose when she was four years old. Together, my husband and I pray that Rose Marie Morehead will be . . .

  1. COMMITTED – I pray that Rose will always love truth and stand for Acts 2:38.
  2. AMBITIOUS – I pray that she will reach her full potential in Jesus, dream big dreams, and do big things by loving and serving others and leading many people to Christ.
  3. COMPASSIONATE – I pray Rose always sees those who are hurting and that she helps vulnerable people have a voice and shows them real love and true friendship. I pray she never sees color lines or economic lines but instead that she simply sees everyone in terms of human lines and that all humans need Jesus.
  4. ENCOURAGING – I pray she continues to cheer everyone up and be sensitive in the spirit and minister to the hurting through a smile, a hug, a greeting, a prayer, a song, a “performance”…
  5. JOYFUL – I pray that she chooses to praise Him and be full of joy, confidence in Christ, and the peace that passeth all understanding.
  6. STUDENT – I pray that she loves the Word of God deeply and studies it, and dwells in it. I want her to love the Word, understand it, and find peace and tranquility in your Word. I want her to study to show herself approved.
  7. WORSHIPPER – I want her to love the House of God and see it as a refuge and a place for hurting souls to come together for strength, healing, and salvation.
  8. RIGHTEOUS – I want her prayer every day to be, “Lord, Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit with in me.”
  9. FAITHFUL – I want Rosie to one day stand before JESUS Christ and for her to hear Him say, “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant (Rosie): thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21

Sis Lindsay made us nine signs that you see here today that hang on her bedroom walls.

HER CURTAINS SAY, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

HER COMFORTER SAYS, Psalm 27:4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.

I want Everything in Rose’s room to remind her of Jesus. Every night I say, “I can do all things…” and Rose finishes the Scripture, “through Christ who strengthens me.” And I remember… FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED.

4) PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE

Hannah’s final lesson is HANNAH’S PRAYER OF PRAISE WAS MUCH LONGER THAN HER PRAYER OF PETITION.

Hannah’s song of praise is found in I Samuel 2:1–10.

This prayer was a thanksgiving prayer, a song of praise. Her song of praise consumes four times as much Scripture passage as does her prayer for a son. The prayers of rejoicing should and often do far exceed the prayers of request.

HANNAH’S PRAYER OF PRAISE TO THE LORD (Easy version)

1 Hannah prayed and she said,
‘I am very happy when I think about what the Lord has done.
The Lord has made me very strong.
I can laugh at my enemies because you, Lord, have saved me.
That makes me very happy.

2 Nobody else is holy like the Lord.
There is no other God except you, our God.
You are the only Rock where we can be safe.

3 Do not boast or speak proud words!
The Lord is a God who knows everything.
He judges everything that people do.

4 The weapons of brave soldiers may break.
But weak people who fall become strong again.

5 People who had plenty of food to eat have to work for it now.
But the people who were hungry have enough food now.
Women who could not have any children have now given birth to seven children.
But those who had many children are now alone.

6 The Lord gives both life and death.
He sends some people to their graves,
and he raises other people up.

7 The Lord makes some people poor
and he makes other people rich.
He causes some people to be important
and he puts other people low down.

8 He raises up weak people from the ground.
He lifts poor people up out of the dirt.
He makes them become friends of princes.
He puts them in places of honour.
The deep places of the earth belong to the Lord.
He built the world on a strong foundation.

9 He takes care of his faithful people.
But he puts wicked people in a dark place where they can do nothing.
It is not a person’s own strength that makes him great.

10 The Lord will destroy his enemies.
He will shout against them from heaven like loud thunder.
The Lord will judge everyone on earth.
He will make his king strong.
He will give power to the king that he has chosen to rule.’

God help me to remember the four things you impressed upon me through this study:

  • 1) Take my sorrows to you and find refuge in the house of the Lord. 
  • 2) Trust your Word and your anointed leaders. 
  • 3) Keep my promises. 
  • 4) Continually praise your name- my praise must be far greater than my petition. 

CLOSING

In closing, I want to share a song I pray over my daughter Rose every day because, as Hannah… FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED.

The song’s name is “I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle. She is an anointed Apostolic young woman, and her songs usher in the powerful presence of almighty God. I want to share the lyrics with you:

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
Over every heart and every mind
‘Cause I know there is peace within Your presence
I speak Jesus

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
‘Til every dark addiction starts to break
Declaring there is hope and there is freedom
I speak Jesus

‘Cause Your name is power
Your name is healing
Your name is life
Break every stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like a fire

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
Over fear and all anxiety
To every soul held captive by depression
I speak Jesus

‘Cause Your name is power
Your name is healing
Your name is life
Break every stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like the fire

Shout Jesus from the mountains
Jesus in the streets
Jesus in the darkness over every enemy
Jesus for my family
I speak the holy name
Jesus, oh

Shout Jesus from the mountains
Jesus in the streets
Jesus in the darkness over every enemy
Jesus for my family
I speak the holy name
Jesus (Jesus)

Your name is power
Your name is healing
Your name is life
Break every stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like a fire

I just wanna speak the name of Jesus
Over every heart and every mind
‘Cause I know there is peace within Your presence
I speak Jesus

PRAYER ACTIVITY

We will conclude with a prayer activity while the song “I Speak Jesus” plays in the background. 

There are stones on the altar and sharpies. I want you to make a vow and write it on a stone, take it with you, and put it in a visible place to remind you of the vow or promise you make to the Lord. 

My vow is to speak Jesus every day over my family. Sometimes I’m like Hannah. I don’t even know the words to say. But JESUS covers it all…. FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED… I speak Jesus over Rosie every day!

FOR THIS CHILD, I PRAYED – KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

MOREHEAD “20TH ANNIVERSARY” POEM

Today’s post is the 20th Anniversary acrostic poem I wrote for my wife for our Anniversary. Enjoy.

We have reached our 20th wedding anniversary! I wanted to tell you 20 reasons why I still love you “Bobbi Fae “Wife” Morehead! (It takes a lot of words to generate 20 letters)!”

BEAUTIFUL – You are my beautiful wife, and you are more gorgeous today than the day that I married you. 

OPTIMISTIC – No matter the circumstances, you can see the good in situations and people. You are a persistent, positive, problem-solver.

BUBBLY – You light up every room the moment you enter; people can hear your laugh before they ever see you. Your joy is contagious!

BILBREY RESILIENT – We have been through a lot together, but you are Bilbrey resilient, and you always bounce back. Those Bilbrey genes are strong!

INTELLIGENT – You are the smartest person I have ever known. I love that you are Ph.D., and I am ADHD. We are the perfect team.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

FIERCELY LOYAL – I love how YOU can say anything you want to say about me, but nobody can say ANYTHING to you about me. I never have to question if you are on my side!

APOSTOLIC – You are Godly through and through no matter where you are or who is around you. You are absolutely Apostolic. I love how you love Jesus, and you want to share His love with everyone you encounter.

ENERGETIC – I already said that you are bubbly, and I thought one adjective describing your personality was enough, but Rosie insisted that I also use the word “energetic.” You are always the life of the party. People are drawn to your energy and excitement. I love the most that your energy does not come from without; it flows from the Jesus within you!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

WONDERFUL WIFE – You are a wonderful wife, and I can’t wait to spend the next 20 years together. You love me, support me, and you are my helper in the car!

INTENTIONAL – You are intentional in every area of your life. I love watching you do life. You do life with love and gusto! Your intentionality has challenged me to be better.

FAMILY-FOCUSED – I love how you love our family of 3 and “your” family of 303 (Okay, a slight exaggeration). I love the family gatherings at Mackinac, Christmas, and everything in between. I love how you are instilling family loyalty to our Rosie.

EDUCATOR – You are the best teacher I’ve ever known. It’s kind when people brag on me at workshops and trainings, but the truth is, everything I know I’ve learned from you. I love how you have continued to elevate in education, but you have always stayed grounded with kids by setting up leadership breakfasts, book clubs, read-a-louds, and teaching Sunday School.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

MOREHEAD STRONG – Wow, “Bilbrey Resilient” plus “Morehead Strong” = two tough cookies! While those two traits can lead to “intense fellowship,” more often than not, it has held us together and helped us to make our way through some crazy times. 

ORNERY – While Rose is your mini-me, you are the split image of Gran. Her beautiful, feisty spirit flows through you continuously. I am grateful for the qualities she instilled in you.

ROSIE’S MOTHER – You are an amazing mother who teaches Rosie about faith and life. I absolutely love that Rose is your mini-me. She exudes you in every way! It is a bit challenging at times having TWO of you, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

ENCOURAGER – It always makes me laugh when you leave a conversation with someone, and you know more about them than they know about themselves. Before it’s all over, they are telling you their life dreams, and you are cheering them on to achieve them!

HEALTH & WELLNESS COACH – It was so fun to watch you during Covid take on this new stage of your life and completely embrace health and wellness. You even signed up for a new program to make this an official part of your life. Unbelievable.

EVER GROWING – During our marriage, you have earned your Ph.D., became an ordained minister with the UPCI, and added a certificate through Harvard’s professional development program. You also became an instructional coach with the “Institute for Excellence in Education,” You are even working to be certified as a health and wellness coach. I love how you are continually adding to your toolbox.

ADMINISTRATIVE PASTOR – You have had a fantastic career, and it is still unfolding, yet you also use your skills and abilities to work in the kingdom of God. You have blessed our church so much by becoming our administrative pastor. Not everyone would be able to do that, but I am so grateful that you have taken this ministry on and are making The Potter’s House Church the best version of ourselves.

DETERMINED – I have watched you take some pretty hard hits, and you just “Keep Walking.” You are determined in your career, determined in your ministry, determined to have a Godly Rosie girl, and determined with us!

REFUEL

The message, “REFUEL,” was originally preached at Adrian United on 7.31.11. Below is an edited and abbreviated blog transcript of that message.

I will never forget the month of March in 2020. My schedule was packed, I had already traveled to several States, and suddenly, Covid stopped everything. Then after a year of being cooped up, I couldn’t wait to get back out and go again. I was so tired of being quarantined, and then on June 1st, 2021, the mask mandate lifted, and we all just took off again.  

Now it’s the middle of August, and we’re all tired again. It’s incredible how quickly we can go from complete to empty in just a few months. So, it’s kind of amazing to me, but tonight I’m going to talk about burnout. We are going to talk about the importance of stopping to REFUEL.

Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

When I was in Bible college, I had the opportunity to preach for Bishop Ellis in Canton, Ohio. That morning when I was preaching, I used an illustration about marriage and parenting. Afterward, at the house, Sister Ellis said she needed some bread. So, Bishop said, “Morehead ride with me.” So, we got in the car, and he said, “You know, I’ve known you for about two years, right?” I said, “yes, sir.” He continues, “Have you been married before?” I said, “No, sir.” He then retorted, “Do you have any children that I don’t know about?” Once again, I said, “No, sir.” He said, “Well David, I’m going to give you a little tip- this morning you talked about marriage and parenting- from here on out, never preach about something you know nothing about.”

I have tried to follow Bishop’s advice, but tonight I will break that rule and talk about REST; A topic that I am not very efficient in, but I am working to grow in this area.

QUESTION: Have you ever run out of gas? Unfortunately, I have run out too many times to count. Below is an interesting list of why this happens:

REASONS PEOPLE RUN OUT OF GAS

  1. Assuming you have what it takes
  2. Not watching the gauges
  3. Going to fast
  4. Rapid acceleration
  5. Trying to drive too far
  6. Unknown leaks
  7. To busy to refuel
  8. Not starting with a full tank
  9. Lying to yourself (wishful thinking), I can get there.
  10. Putting the wrong substance in the tank
  11. Distractions
  12. Can’t find a station
  13. Plugged fuel lines  
  14. Carrying too much weight

Like the above list on running out of gas, we as humans also have reasons for running out of energy, trust, and love. Below is a short story from one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado, that shares how we can “run out of gas.”

GET RID OF THE REGRET THAT DRAINS YOUR TANK

Stronger in the Broken Places, UpWords, Inc. https://maxlucado.com/stronger-in-the-broken-places/

YOU HAVE ONE. A sack. A burlap sack. Probably aren’t aware of it, may not have been told about it. Could be you don’t remember it. But it was given to you. A sack. An itchy, scratchy burlap sack.

You needed the sack so you could carry the stones. Rocks, boulders, pebbles. All sizes. All shapes. All unwanted.

 You didn’t request them. You didn’t seek them. But you were given them.

Don’t remember?

Some were rocks of rejection. You were given one the time you didn’t pass the tryout. It wasn’t for lack of effort. Heaven only knows how much you practiced. You thought you were good enough for the team. But the coach didn’t. The instructor didn’t. You thought you were good enough, but they said you weren’t.

They and how many others?

 You don’t have to live long before you get a collection of stones. Make a poor grade. Make a bad choice. Make a mess. Get called a few names. Get mocked. Get abused.

 And the stones don’t stop with adolescence. I sent a letter this week to an unemployed man who’s been rejected in more than fifty interviews.

 And so the sack gets heavy. Heavy with stones. Stones of rejection. Stones we don’t deserve.

Look into the burlap sack and you see that not all the stones are from rejections. There is a second type of stone. The stone of regret.

Regret for the time you lost your temper.

 Regret for the day you lost control.

 Regret for the moment you lost your pride.

 Regret for the years you lost your priorities.

 And even regret for the hour you lost your innocence.

 One stone after another, one guilty stone after another.

 With time the sack gets heavy. We get tired. How can you have dreams for the future when all your energy is required to shoulder the past?

 No wonder some people look miserable. The sack slows the step. The sack chafes. Helps explain the irritation on so many faces, the sag in so many steps, the drag in so many shoulders, and most of all, the desperation in so many acts. YOU’RE CONSUMED WITH DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET SOME REST.

WAYS TO STAY RENEWED

Let’s examine steps to keep up renewed and to prevent us from burnout: 

1) RETREAT: TIME ALONE 

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

JESUS HAD A PLACE: Sometimes, you have to get up. See, the above scripture says, “Rising up.” Jesus got up before it was daylight. It was in the morning. He moved away from everything that he was doing and departed into a solitary place.

WHERE IS YOUR PLACE? Now, I’m going to put everybody on the spot here. Where’s your place? Does anybody have a place that you enjoy praying? Does anybody feel real brave that you’d like to shout out? 

SIS. SHERRY: I pray in the morning in the corner of my living room. I sit in my chair with my prayer blanket and a roll of toilet paper.

EXAMPLE #1: Have a “prayer plan” 

Do you hear the details?  

  • A specific time: In the morning
  • A specific place: In the corner of my living room in my chair
  • Specific tools: Her prayer blanket and a roll of toilet paper because she’s going to cry when she’s talking to the Lord. 

You see, Sis. Sherry has a “prayer plan” in place so she can daily meet with the Lord. Unless we have a plan, there’s a good chance it’s not going to happen.

If I called Bobbi Fae when we were dating and said, Hey, let’s go out. Okay, Where do you want to go? Oh, I don’t know. When do you want to go? I’m not sure. What day? Uh, we’ll see. Well, it’s probably not going to happen with Bobbi Fae.  

The other day, I accidentally picked up my wife’s phone, a notification popped up to pray 5 minutes at 5 o’clock for Michigan District Kidz. That was so neat; she was intentional with her prayer.

EXAMPLE #2: Take a Prayer Walk

I recently received a neat opportunity, I was able to go up to the UP, and I was preaching in Marquette on Sunday morning, and I already had my sermon. I knew what I was going to preach. I was already ready, and I was like, I could probably sleep a little longer, but I got up early.

I went and walked on the lakefront in Marquette and looked at the sailboats and the beautiful scenery, and I just prayed and listened to the Word of God. I enjoy getting out to walk and listen to the Word of the Lord, pray, and listen to a book. It’s a set pattern of what I like to do to get into my morning rhythm. 

EXAMPLE #3: Get creative and intentional

So, we were out at the wrap-stand one year, and sister Barb came sneaking in, and she needed something wrapped. I thought we were all going to have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to not tell about her Christmas present for Bro. Stan.

Sis. Barb had a three-ring binder of one whole year of date nights. She had twelve sections created for one date night a month. She had thought everything out. She had each date planned out with the place, the time, the money for the activities, and the tickets for shows. Everything was all nailed down.

You see, Sis. Barb had a plan; there was no worming out of the dates; well, we don’t have the money. Oh, it’s right here. Well, I don’t know if we can get in. I got the ticket right here. 

So, what would happen if we would get that intentional with the Lord and say, you know what? I’ve got a plan. I’ve got my prayer blanket ready to go. I got the tissue set to go. I’ve got my favorite Bible prepared to go. I’ve got my devotional and my journal. I’m all ready to go. How much lighter do you think we would get if that were to happen? 

Doing disciplines is kind of like eating a Reese’s. There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. You can do your disciplines however you want to, but the important thing is you have to make a daily connection with God. Below is a poem that illustrates the simplicity of a daily check-in with God:

JUST CHECKING IN

A minister passing through his church in the middle of the day, 
decided to pause by the altar and see who would come to pray.

Just then the back door opened, a man came down the aisle, 
the minister frowned as he saw the man hadn’t shaved in a while.

His shirt was kinda shabby and his coat was worn and frayed, 
the man kneeled, he bowed his head, then rose and walked away. 

In the days that followed, each noon time came this chap, 
each time he knelt just for a moment, a lunchpail in his lap.

Well, the ministers suspicions grew, with robbery a main fear, 
he decided to stop the man and ask him, ‘What are you doing here?’

The old man said, he worked down the road. Lunch was half an hour. 
Lunchtime with his prayer time, for finding strength and power.

I stay only moments, see, because the factory is so far away; 
as a kneel here talking to the Lord, this is kind of what I say:

I JUST CAME AGAIN TO TELL YOU, LORD, HOW HAPPY I HAVE BEEN, 
SINCE WE FOUND EACH OTHER’S FRIENDSHIP AND YOU TOOK AWAY MY SIN.

I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HOW TO PRAY, BUT I THINK ABOUT YOU EVERY DAY.
SO, JESUS, THIS IS MIKE CHECKING IN TODAY.

#2) WATCH YOUR GAUGES

Now, that’s something I forget about; the gauges. I was driving a rental truck, and suddenly, I realized we hadn’t got gas in a while. We were in the UP, and the gas stations weren’t close together, so I was a little nervous, and then all of a sudden, bing bing bing bing, the truck notified me that I was low on gas. I was like, oh, thank you, Jesus. I have a truck that talks to me and tells me I’m in trouble, and I’m telling you, the very first gas station we filled up.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had an alarm that would notify us when our human gauges are low? Our gauges are:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Spiritual

We must be intentional to check our gauges and ensure that our life runs on “full.” We also have to make sure that we are not allowing parasites or “triggers” to drain our tanks. I struggle with the following parasites:

  1. EXCESS MEDIA – This gets me distracted and focused on the negative and unimportant.
  2. CAFFEINE/ SUGAR – These drag my body down and make me agitated and anxious.
  3. LACK OF EXERCISE – It is hard to move my mind and spirit when my body is not moving.
  4. STINKIN THINKIN – Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” When my thinking is off, I battle with depression and anxiety.

We must be intentional to watch our gauges, so we don’t add a few extra rocks in our burlap sack.  

#3) LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD

Andy Stanley stated, “For every hat you put on, you need to take one off.” If you’re in ministry and leadership in the church, at some point, you’ll end up being a hat rack. We collect dozens of hats.  

When I was a young man, I would see pastors pull out their keys, just a massive thing of keys. I was like, that’s what I need. I need a ring full of keys. Now in my life, I’m doing everything I can to give keys away. 

I was having issues with my car starting and took it in to the dealership; the mechanic said my starter was out, and the reason my starter was out is that you have too many keys on your key ring, and it’s pulling on the starter, and it’s messing everything up.

You see, when we have too many keys, it pulls things out of balance. So, this is one of those things I’m not good at; I’m still learning. I recently saw a text message on a text thread where my wife decided without asking me and eliminated me from the process. I asked her why she didn’t ask me? She said, because it’s time for you to give that up, and you weren’t going to do it by yourself. So, I just did it for you. 

Sometimes you must have people in your life that can step in and help you when you are unable to take action yourself. We do that because we’re hat racks. We don’t want to get rid of that particular “hat.” I like that hat.  

#4) KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Knowing my limits is one of my most significant challenges. I’m still learning this. I’m not there yet.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Apostle Paul is writing of the Olympics. He had just finished writing of the hall of faith and is using this metaphor of saints running into the amphitheater and “the cloud of witnesses” he references are the heroes of the faith, and they’re watching you as you are finishing your race. Paul pauses this analogy to warn us, as you are running, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin.”

So, there is a difference between our weights and our sins, but they both slow us down. Well, I didn’t sin. No, but you got as close as you could on that one. So let us lay aside every weight and what that means is – and it’s hard to do sometimes – you have to reach in that burlap sack and start pulling some things out.

Lord, I need to refuel, but I’ve got too much weight on me. I’ve got too many burdens on me. I’ve got too much junk, and I need some help sorting it all out. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily beset us and let us run with patience That is before us. How are we going to do that? How can we have the energy to do that? Paul shares the secret in verse two, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Lord, I cannot do this on my own, and my sack is heavy, but you picked up the heaviest sack of them all, for the joy that was set before him endured the cross. Jesus took on our burlap sacks. He picked up all of our rocks, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Sometimes we have to say NO! That word is not in the Morehead vocabulary. It is tough for me to say NO, but sometimes you just have to say, I cannot do that because my family is more important. The church is more important. My walk with God is more important. We must know our limits so we can be our best for the cause of Christ and those around us.

5) STOP TO REFUEL

I don’t know if it’s a story or a parable. Still, it has been said that former General UPCI Secretary Rev. Jerry Jones was traveling through Indiana and was running out of gas when he stopped to get gas in Gas City, Indiana. There happened to be a power outage, and there was no gas in Gas City. Could you imagine going to Gas City and not having any gas? 

We must stop to refuel at the right places and create margin in our life. Margin is something I’m working on right now and is probably going to be a lifetime battle for me, but I’m driven by the words of Brother Paul Mooney when he said, “A wood chopper never wastes his time when he stops to sharpen his axe.”

6) SLOWING YOUR SPEED

Seth Godin stated, “done is better than perfect.” Sometimes done, just completing the job is better than perfect. Now, I try hard to do things well, but “the good enough principle” sometimes has to kick in. Well, you know what? That is good enough for today. I’m now going to go pray. I’m now going to spend time with my family. I’m now going to do something else because you know what? It’s good enough. 

CONCLUSION

In the Michigan District, we have 105 United Pentecostal Churches. Of the 105 churches, only ten are located in the Upper Peninsula.

Many UP churches are as far as 10 hours from our campground in Marshall, Michigan, many of the people in the UP cannot attend the Michigan Campmeeting.

So, about five years ago, we started a camp meeting just for the UP, and this year, we added a Children’s Camp that ran simultaneously with the adult camp.

 I rented a U-haul pickup truck and hauled our ten-foot by five-foot trailer up to Escanaba, and we had bounce houses, our sound system, and all kinds of children’s supplies. 

We held Kidz church under a forty-foot long, twenty-foot wide tent. On Thursday night, we had thirty-two kids. Friday afternoon, we had thirty-three kids in the daytime, and then we had forty-eight kids that night. It was a great experience, but it was exhausting. 

Part of the Children’s Department’s commitment to the UP churches was that the three executive families of MDK would stay and preach services on Sunday. So Brother McCool, our director, said that Saturday, we would do a team-building activity to recharge for our day of ministry on Sunday.

The McCool’s set up for us to go for a boat to look at the Pictured Rocks of National Lakeshore at Alger County, Michigan. I asked Bro. McCool, how long is the boat tour? He looked at me and said, “Oh, it’s not long, like an hour and a half.” After we were on the boat, the announcer came on and said, “Over the next two and a half hours we hope you enjoy your tour.”

I looked at Bro. McCool and said, “You knew this from the beginning, didn’t you?” And he just kind of shrugged and smiled. So, I’m like, okay, how in the world am I going to survive on a tour boat for two and a half hours looking at rocks.

After the first 30 minutes, I had seen all the rocks I needed to see. I was ready to swim to the shore. I got up and went to the back of the boat, and with the wind blowing in my face, hanging on the railing of the boat, I began to pray.

I said, “Lord, I know I need to chill out; this is so against my nature but help me to enjoy this. I don’t know-how but will you help me enjoy this moment that we’re having right now? I know this is a blessing of all of us being together today. Please help me to relax.”

At that moment, God imprinted into my spirit, Be still, and know that I am God . . . (Psalm 46:10).”

The first 30 minutes of the boat tour, I was wound up. Thankfully, the last 2 hours- I know nobody’s going to believe me, but I chilled out as much as a Morehead can- I just chilled out, and you know, we were laughing on that boat, and we had a great time because sometimes we have to slow down. 

Slowing down is so against my nature; I’m always geared up, but if we are going to refuel and be all that God has called us to be, we must be willing to take a step back and rest in the sabbaths that He creates for us.

PRAYER

Would you pray with me? Dear heavenly Father, I pray as we get ready to go into a brand new school year, as we get ready to ramp things up for new beginnings that you will help us to, Be still, and know that [You are] God . . . (Psalm 46:10).

Teach us to have a conversation and a relationship with YOU. Please help us to refuel, In Jesus’ name. Help us to slow down long enough to enjoy your blessings, to enjoy what you’re doing WITHIN us, to enjoy all of the great things AROUND us. God, help us to refuel for this journey. We know there will be more sacks ahead of us, but Lord, please give us strength.

PREVIOUSLY PREACHED

Adrian United – Pastor: Rev. David Morehead – July 31, 2011
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle of Ferndale – Pastor: Rev. David McCool – July 22, 2014
The Potter’s House Church of Battle Creek – Pastor: Rev. Mark Hopper – August 18, 2021
Apostolic Faith Tabernacle of Ferndale – Pastor: Rev. David McCool – August 22, 2021
Life Church of Roseville – Pastor: Rev. David McCool – August 22, 2021

DDIY: DON’T DO IT YOURSELF

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This was a sermon preached on Pentecost Sunday

Pentecostals of South Haven – South Haven, MI – May, 3rd, 2020

The Potter’s House Church – Battle Creek, MI – July 19th, 2020

and transcribed to text.

As Americans, we love to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves. We have an entire television channel, the DIY Network, dedicating to helping us tackle projects on our own—without relying on professional help. Rightfully, we feel a sense of pride after mastering new skills and empowering ourselves to build or fix something around the house.

While initiative and self-reliance are admirable traits, we encounter a project that dwarfs our amateur abilities sooner or later. In these moments, the wise course of action would be to ask for help. Yet in our stubborn independence, we refuse to admit our need for aid, choosing to press alone. 

As the television show DIY Disasters attests, our attempts at self-sufficiency routinely backfire. Many of our remodeling projects end up in ruins, leaving property damaged and in need of repair.  

TOP FIVE DIY DISASTERS ARE: 

  1. Spilling paint/glue 
  2. Damaging a wall 
  3. Breaking a window 
  4. Breaking furniture 
  5. Damaging a ceiling 

This tendency to be over-ambitious is also putting the safety of DIY enthusiasts at risk, with 220,000 people ending up in hospital every year due to their keenness. 

  • 41,000 Ladders and step ladders
  • 15,000 Saws  
  • 6,000 Hammer related accidents. 

For the 20% of DIY enthusiasts who resort to calling in experts to fix their mistakes, thereʼs a heavy price to pay for not getting it right. 

People across the country spend an average of $3,000, having their DIY mistakes fixed.

We are not just DIY experts on home projects; we are DIY experts on EVERYTHING! Just look at your Facebook page in 2020 alone:

  • JANUARY  Impeachment experts without a law degree 
  • FEBRUARY – Foreign wars expert with no military leadership experience
  • MARCH  Health experts without a doctorate (or any degree) in infectious diseases
  • APRIL – Economic experts without an MBA and a cumulative wealth of $213.71
  • MAY – Constitutional lawyers on the right to wear/ not wear masks and to attend/ not attend Church services
  • JUNE – Human-rights Activists – using social media as our ONLY source
  • JULY – Conspiracy theorists – about everything!

Everyone’s an Expert, But Not Everyone Is a Master – Seth Godin

Every time something significant hits the news, everyone quickly becomes an expert due to the university of google. It’s ok to admit that there are some things that you do not have enough knowledge about to form an educated or well-informed opinion.

HAIRCUT STORY

In the midst of the quarantine, my hair began to grow very long and bushy. I will be honest here and say my greatest fear is not that people see my long hair but that they see my gray hair. I don’t even mind having gray hair. We know that gray hair a sign of wisdom. I would enjoy having gray hair sprinkled evenly all over my head in a distinguished manner. 

However, the problem is that all my gray hair congregates in one place as a strip right down the middle of my head—a skunk stripe. Therefore, I endeavor to keep my hair very short to avoid looking like a skunk.

To keep this non-skunk look, I must have a haircut every two weeks. I sit down, they take a half clipper and shave my head. I then pay $20 for the haircut and give a five-dollar tip, which equals $25 every two weeks, which is $50 a month, which equals $600 a year.

However, I have not been able to get my haircut because of haircutting institutions’ doors shuttered, and my hair was OUT OF CONTROL!

So, I came up with a brilliant idea. I went to Walmart, and for a total of $55.00, I purchased a pair of hair clippers. In all of my wisdom, I realized that with only two haircuts, the total pay of one month, I could pay for the ENTIRE YEAR worth of haircuts, if I simply did it myself.  

Things started well. I was able to cut my hair in the front, and things were nice and even. Then I nicked myself on my forehead and had blood running down my face. 

My daughter then told me that my hair looked pretty good in the front, but that in the back, my neck’s hairline looked more like an “M” than a straight line.

THE TRUTH IS, THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE CANNOT DO BY OURSELVES.

SAUL’S DISABILITATING IMPATIENCE

King Saul made three costly mistakes because his pride led him to believe that he could do it himself.

1 Samuel 13:8-13 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. 11. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12. Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. 13. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.

My daughter, Rosie’s favorite phrase as a TODDLER, was, “I DO IT MYSELF.” That motto is okay for a toddler but not the King of Israel. Saul became impatient. He felt he could do it himself. Saul believed that because the priest of the Lord had taken too long to arrive, he could go ahead and make the sacrifice and fulfill the office of the priest, even though he was not a priest. In doing so, he violated the law of God because HE WANTED IT NOW, and felt he could do it himself.

1) HE DID NOT TRUST THE PRIEST OF GOD.

1 Samuel 13:11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed.

As Michiganders, we were in quarantine for 70 days this year. Many of us became restless. We feel as though we can do it ourselves. 

We weren’t even in our church building for nearly 70 days. Some feel and believe that they no longer need a church because all they have to do is watch church online, and don’t have to come to church anymore. 

However, that is the SAUL spirit within us feeling that we can be our own priest and that we can do it ourselves.

The truth is, we need the church now more than ever before. There are some things we simply cannot do for ourselves. We CANNOT be our own pastor. We need an UNBIASED man of God who can look at our lives and see things we cannot see and can help us in areas where we cannot help ourselves. 

You need the church. You need your pastor. You need the body of Christ. You cannot worship to yourself. We must worship the Lord our God!

2) HE DID NOT TRUST THE WAYS OF GOD.

1 Samuel 13:12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.

Saul performed a burnt offering to GOD, himself. Saul had not kept the commandment of the LORD. He committed the sin of impatience, unbelieving GOD’s timing. Saul tried to do the work of a priest by HIMSELF

Every December, I am privileged to go to Dallas, Texas, for an evangelist retreat. In that meeting, there are many mighty men of God. Evangelists that are full of faith and work in the Gifts of the Spirit. Many of the men in that room see thousands of people healed every year through their ministries. Reverend Doug Klinedinst, whom God uses in the gift of healing, said in one of our meetings, that even though God uses him with the gift of healing when he is sick and generally even when his family is sick, He usually has to call another minister to pray for him and his family for healing. Yes, he prays for himself, and yes, he prays for his family, but the miracle usually comes from ANOTHER MINISTER. The reason for this is simple; God expects us to be dependent upon him. It is not God’s intention that we can heal ourselves. We must be dependent upon the plan of God for His healing, and His salvation. 

3) HE DID NOT TRUST THE PLAN OF GOD

1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.

Saul lost The promise of God; the Kingship was removed from him because he did not trust God.

SPIRITUAL BUYERS REMORSE

My wife has always had buyer’s remorse on every big purchase or decision that she makes. 

After she bought her first house, it took her six months to move into it. That only happened because Gran’s power went out, so Gran and Bobbi had to stay at Bobbi’s house. Once the power returned, Gran went back to her house, and Bobbi decided to stay in her home. 

Every new car Bobbi has gotten since we’ve been married, she hated the first few months. 

Every job she has gotten, she had buyers remorse until after she got working on the job. 

She even had buyers remorse with me! We had been dating for about nine months. It was no secret she wanted to get married. I was having a hard time coming to that conclusion. We were on the phone late one night talking about the future of our relationship. The next morning I said to myself, “I’m going to ask that girl to marry me!” She later told me she said to herself, “Oh no, he’s going to ask me to marry him! Her buyers’ remorse with me lasted at least for the first two years we were married!

I have felt all week strongly in my spirit that there are some members of The Potter’s House Church that are feeling spiritual buyers’ remorse.  

We have been preaching FAITH for months. Last Sunday was one of the most incredible services I’ve ever attended. Watching the display of faith as our church members gave $104,000 for “the church that Faith built campaign” was incredible!

Many times after I am involved in a SPIRITUAL high of a revival or a great moving of God, I often feel a major LET DOWN in my flesh. There were families that gave $1,000, $2,000, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, $50,000. You felt really good and full of faith when you released that money to the Lord. But Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or maybe even this morning, you felt, “Oh no, what did we do!”

What you are feeling is the “FAITH ZONE” in action! You have been stretched beyond your physical limits, and there is a temptation to try to orchestrate events to produce your miracle.

You’ve heard about all of the other miracles that are already happening within the church, but for you, there’s been nothing.

It has been seven days since you released the seed of faith on behalf of your family. It was seven days that Saul had to wait on Samuel, but he got impatient and took matters into his own hands. 

Just be patient, God will keep his promise! He already anointed you a spiritual “King” when you were born into His Kingdom with the gift of the Holy Ghost. He will deliver his promise! Remember, this is a two-year commitment. God will provide!

CONCLUSION

His ways are higher than my ways. Yes, I can try to do it myself, but God in His righteousness has plans that I cannot even think of or conceive. I understand that things in our nation right now are very bleak. I remember Pastor Hopper saying a few months ago, “GOD DOES SOME OF HIS BEST WORK IN THE DARK.” If we simply trust God’s timing, God will perform his best work through this darkness. 

In this altar call, we will play the video of Jimmy Needham’s song, “Clear The Stage.” As you come to the altar, search your heart for any area you are trying to control things. Then surrender it all to God.

I challenge you to come to the altar and pray with someone ELSE. Remember, don’t try to do this yourself. Rely on someone else’s prayers today.

“CLEAR THE STAGE”
by Jimmy Needham

We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my love is an idol

‘Cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to

And we can sing all we want to
And we can sing all we want to
We can sing all we want to
And still get it wrong
Worship is more than a song

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols

SERMON SLIDES

THE REGENERATION OF YOUR MIND

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This was a sermon preached on  

Saginaw Valley UPC –  Saginaw, MI – November 10th, 2013 

Pentecostals Of South Haven – South Haven, MI – June 9th, 2019

and transcribed to text.

Today we are going to look at the importance of our minds from a Biblical perspective. However, before we dive into scripture, I would like to share a humorous analogy that shows the nature of our minds. When it comes to our attitude, we are usually either dog people or cat people. The literary genius, Max Lucado, shares the two following examples:

EXCERPTS FROM A DOG’S DIARY – DAY 180

  • 8:00 am – OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
  • 9:30 am – OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
  • 9:40 am – OH BOY! A WALK! MY FAVORITE!
  • 10:30 am – OH BOY! A CAR RIDE! MY FAVORITE!
  • 11:30 am – OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
  • 12:00 noon – OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
  • 1:00 pm – OH BOY! THE YARD! MY FAVORITE!
  • 4:00 pm – OH BOY! THE KIDS! MY FAVORITE!
  • 5:00 PM – OH BOY! DOG FOOD! MY FAVORITE!
  • 5:30 PM – OH BOY! MOM! MY FAVORITE!

EXCERPTS FROM A CAT’S DIARY

  • DAY 752 – My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. 
  • DAY 774 – I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The Dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The Bird on the other hand has got to be an informant. He has mastered their frightful tongue (something akin to mole speak) and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the hanging metal room, he is safe. But I can wait, it’s only a matter of time.

 

1) REALITY OF THE NATURE OF OUR MIND

  • DEBASED And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient (Rom 1:28)
  • BLINDED In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
  • HOSTILE And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. (Colossians 1:21) 
  • CORRUPT Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Timothy 6:5)
  • DEFILED Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. (Titus 1:15)

WE ARE ENGAGED IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND THE BATTLE GROUND IS IN OUR MIND

  • Ephesians 6:10-18 KJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  
  • 1 Peter 5:8 KJV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

The Bible mentions many spirits:

  • Spirit of Fear
  • Spirit of Bondage
  • Spirit of Heaviness
  • Spirit of Error
  • Lying Spirit
  • Deaf and Dumb Spirit
  • Spirit of Whoredoms
  • Spirit of Adultery
  • Spirit of the World
  • Spirit of Jealousy
  • Spirit of Infirmity
  • Spirit of Divination
  • Spirit of Slumber
  • Spirit of Anti-Christ

A few years ago, I was privileged to purchase a brand new MacBook Pro computer. I brought it home and eagerly opened the box and unpackaged my new Mac. Once I got signed into the computer and got it set up, logged onto the Internet, I received a notification, “New software update available.”

My new computer was already out of date and needed to be updated right out of the box. The same is true with us, the Bible says in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We come into this world as sinners, and the grace of Jesus Christ must save us.

I was preaching earlier this year, and I saw a little boy and a little girl both under the year age of one-year-old. One was a little girl about four months older than the little boy. The little boy was so sweet and was sitting there playing with toys, but the little girl was just plain ole mean. Now, I say this because I am repeating the words of this little girl’s parents, who were standing right there. We stood there and watched as the little girl continue to take every toy away from the little boy. She had three toys in her hand, and the little boy had none.

To my knowledge, this little girl never attended a “how to be mean class.” No one sat and taught her how to make boys cry. She just came out of the “box” that way. Our minds come out of the “box” debased, blinded, hostile, corrupt, and defiled. The spirit of the Holy Ghost must regenerate our minds.

2) REGENERATING OUR MIND

  • Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 
  • Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

SCRIPTURES DECLARE OUR POWER OVER DEMONIC SPIRITS 

  • Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  • 1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
  • Matthew 16:18-19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

GOD GIVES US A NEW MIND 

  • WILLING MIND There be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (2 Corinthians 8:12)
  • HUMILITY OF MIND Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: (Acts 20:19)
  • READINESS OF MIND More noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)
  • ONE MIND Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

 

3) REINFORCING OUR REGENERATED MIND

  • 1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  
  • Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. 
  • Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS. 

A story has been published about a 92-year-old Christian woman who was legally blind. After her husband of 70 years died, it became necessary for her to go to a nursing home where she could receive proper care. When she arrived her attendant described her room to her, including the new curtains that had been hung on the windows. “I love it,” she declared. “But Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen your room yet,” the attendant replied. “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she said. “Happiness is something you choose. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how it’s arranged. IT’S HOW I ARRANGE MY MIND.”

Your conscious mind can hold only one thought at a time, positive or negative. The only way to eliminate a negative or counter-productive thought is to replace it with a positive, empowering thought. 

  1. My faith is beyond strong! 
  2. I trust God completely. 
  3. I am bold! 
  4. I joyfully receive unshakable faith. 
  5. I schedule time daily with God. 
  6. I’m surrounded by Godly people. 
  7. God has renewed my mind. 
  8. I let go and Let God. 
  9. My lifestyle supports my faith. 
  10. I keep my thoughts on peace. 
  11. I am calm and composed
  12. I meditate on scripture.
  13. I let stress melt away.
  14. I rely on God’s strength. 
  15. I take time to be still. 
  16. My mind is serene.
  17. I am free of negativity. 
  18. I experience comfort. 
  19. God is with me always. 

PROMISES GOD HAS FOR YOU IN THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS

I have been given spiritual blessings.
I have been chosen.
I am Holy and without blame.
I have been predestined.
I am adopted.
I am accepted.
I am redeemed.
I am forgiven.
I have been given an inheritance.
I am sealed.
I have been given the spirit of wisdom.
I have hope.
I am rich.
I have been raised from the dead with Christ.
I am alive.
I am seated with Christ.
I have been saved.
I was created for good works.
I have been brought near.
I have been reconciled.
I am a holy temple.
I was created through Jesus.
I have been given boldness.
I have been given confidence.
I have strength.
I have Christ dwelling in my heart.
I am rooted and grounded in love.
I know His Love.
I am filled with God.
I am a joint heir with Christ.

 

CONCLUSION

 

I WOKE UP THIS MORNING WITH MY MIND STAYED ON JESUS

I Woke up this mornin’ with my mind,
my mind was stayed on Jesus.
Woke up this mornin’ with my mind,
my mind was stayed on Jesus.
Woke up this mornin’ with my mind,
my mind was stayed on Jesus.
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah.

Walkin’ and talkin’ with my mind,
my mind was stayed on Jesus.
Walkin’ and talkin’ with my mind,
my mind was stayed on Jesus.
Walkin’ and talkin’ with my mind,
my mind was stayed on Jesus.
Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah.

SERMON SLIDES

 

 

FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING

Screen Shot 2020-06-01 at 8.37.24 PM

This was a sermon preached on Pentecost Sunday

The Potter’s House Church – Battle Creek, MI – March 29th, 2020

Apostolic Faith Tabernacle – Ferndale, MI – June 9th, 2019

Life Church – Roseville, MI – June 9th, 2019

and transcribed to text.

A year after my wife and I got married, we purchased our first home together. It was a Victorian-style home that was built over 100 years ago. As we were viewing the home for the first time, I noticed fire damage in the basement. The house was structurally sound, everything had been cleaned up, but you could still see the remnants of the fire. There were marrings on the walls and ceiling as a reminder that fire had been present. My father came from Arkansas and worked on our home for two months, and when he was finished, the home was beautiful. However, the markings in the basement remain. Fire always leaves a mark!

Continue reading “FIRE CHANGES EVERYTHING”

ABC’S OF BARNABAS “THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT” – PART 3: M-S

ABC’S OF BARNABAS: THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT was originally taught in its entirety on November 17, 2017, for Purpose Institute at the First Apostolic Church of Troy Campus, Pastor Marvin Walker.

M IS FOR MISSIONARY JOURNEY

  • Acts 13:1-2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
  • Encouragement will launch you out of your comfort zone. Barnabas and Saul traveled over 1,400 miles for more than two years and 14 cities. By encouraging Saul, Barnabas was able to go to places he would never have imagined. Once we encourage others, they can supersede us and go places we will never be able to go. QUESTION: What is one way you can expand your comfort zone through the use of encouragement?

N IS FOR NEPHEW

  • Acts 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.
  • He defended his nephew, Mark, to travel with him even though he had abandoned a previous mission. I have spoken with many leaders who have told me they felt they could not give someone the proper encouragement because that person was a family member. They did not want to appear in any way that they were showing favoritism. Please remember, family members are souls as well! Some people feel they should try to lead by treating everyone the same. I have found that to be extremely difficult because everyone’s needs are different. Your family’s needs will be different than everyone else’s needs. So you will have to encourage them differently. But you must still encourage your family! QUESTION: Who is a family member that you can encourage?

O IS FOR OPPORTUNITIES

  • 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.
  • Have you noticed that Barnabas had the habit of jumping in wherever God was working? He was asked to journey to Antioch to inspect the revival happening in the church. There was no way for Barnabas to anticipate how this small opportunity would blossom. God simply presented an opportunity, and Barnabas jumped in. After Antioch, God called Barnabas and Paul to go on a Missionary Journey. He could have easily resisted saying that he was already busy enough. Instead, he accepted the opportunity, and the Gospel was spread around the world. QUESTION: What is one opportunity that God is challenging you with right now?

P IS FOR PRAYER AND FASTING

  • Acts 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
  • Barnabas’ actions were led by prayer. We all talk about prayer, but not everyone knows how to pray: My family and I use the following prayer model: 
    • P.raise – I start by thanking God for my experiences from the previous day. 
    • R.epentance – I ask God for the forgiveness of sins and the power to overcome these obstacles. 
    • A.sk – I do this in two steps: 
      • 1) INTERCESSION – Prayer for others 
      • 2) SUPPLICATION  Prayer for myself. 
    • Y.ield – I yield to God’s will in my life. I record my prayers in my journal; This is an excellent strength of encouragement for me to be able to go back and see the marvelous things that God has done.
  •  QUESTIONDo you have a systematic plan for prayer? What is it?

Q IS FOR QUICK TO OBEY

  • John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

  • I like to believe that I obey the lessons that God teaches me. The truth is it usually takes me a while. I have had to retake more than one of God’s character-building tests. In the life of Barnabas, it appears that he was quick to obey. Barnabas, go to Antioch and vouch for Paul, “Yes, God.” Sell your land and give to the needy, “Yes, God.” Go with Paul on a two-year missionary journey, “Yes, God.” Put your relationship with Paul on the line and defend John Mark, “Yes, God.” Instead of spending his life learning the lessons the hard way, we find a man who was willing and quick to obey the instructions of God. QUESTION: Which is the hardest part for you, quick or obey?

R IS FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

  • Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? 

  • It appears that looking at the life of Barnabas that he continually did the “right things.” That is the definition of righteousness – right-living, doing right. Simply put, we see in Barnabas, a man that tried to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God? QUESTION: What is your definition of righteousness?

S IS FOR SECOND CHANCE

  • Acts 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.  

  • Barnabas gave Paul his first chance but gave his nephew, John Mark, his second chance. I believe most people love the idea and feeling of giving someone their first chance. It is exhilarating to give someone an opportunity and watch them succeed and flourish. I also realize many of us are not as keen to give people their second chance, or 22nd chance or 222nd chance. Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18:21, “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.” Jesus’ response goes far beyond the human capacity of forgiveness. As leaders, we must give people around us a safe place to land when they make mistakes. John Mark had abandoned Paul on a previous journey, yet Barnabas was adamant of giving him a second chance even though John Mark did not deserve it. QUESTION: Who is someone you can give a second chance?

ABC’S OF BARNABAS “THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT” – PART 2: G-L

G IS FOR GENEROUS

  • Acts 4:37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
  • Barnabas sold his land and gave the money to the disciples. The thing that is most striking to me is that he gave the money with no strings attached. Often when we give something of value, we would like to have a say of how it is used. Barnabas gave the money without expectations of anything in return. As we encourage and develop others, we must do so with this same attitude – expecting nothing in return. QUESTION: What is the easiest for you to give, your time, talent, or treasure? Conversely, which is the most difficult.

H IS FOR HOLY GHOST 

  • Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
  • It has been said, You can’t lead people where you have not been yourself.” If we are to be encouragers than we must be encouraged. In these dark and troubled times, we can’t stay encouraged of our own accord. Scripture tells us that Barnabas was FULL of the Holy Ghost and of faith. If we are going to encourage this world, we must be full of the Holy Ghost. Only through His power can we encourage abandoned children that there is hope, men to stand up and lead their families, and single mothers that they will survive. It’s with His anointing that we can encourage others beyond our capacity. QUESTION: How do you fill your spiritual tank when you are filling empty?

I IS FOR INFLUENCE

  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Craig Parro, the author of A Lasting Legacy: Investing Our Lives in People, a study on the life of Barnabas stated, “Barnabas, realizing that he possessed influence among the apostles, decided to spend that influence willingly on behalf of Saul even though other believers might criticize or even try to ostracize Barnabas from the fellowship. But he was willing to risk it all for the kingdom of God and the glory of God.” Parro continues by stating, “Do you know that you are a person of influence? A considerable number of people respect you and your opinions. Don’t underestimate the influence you have—more people admire you and listen to you than you realize. Your influence is the most precious asset.” It has been said that on any given day that a minimum of seven people are watching you. That is influence. How you use that influence is up to you. QUESTION: What is one way you can use your Godly influence this week?

J IS FOR JOSEPH 

  • Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus. 
  • My favorite part of the story of Barnabas is that it is not even his real name. We see that his parents named him Joseph, but he was such an encourager that those who knew him started calling him by the nickname of Barnabas – Son of Encouragement! QUESTION: What would your nickname be if your family, co-workers, and church members based it off of your behavior? 

K IS FOR KIND WORDS

  • Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
  • Encouragement comes in large part by the words that we use. My daughter got a new dress for school; she was so excited about wearing it and all of the compliments she would get. When I picked her up from school, I asked her if everyone liked her dress. She said that no one mentioned it but that a teacher liked her leggings. I asked her what the teacher said, and she replied, “The teacher said, ‘Honey, I love your leggings,’ dad, she is really nice.” I asked her if she knew this teacher and she told me it was the first time that she had talked to her. My point is simple; the teacher said five words -“Honey, I love your leggings” – conclusion, “dad, she is really nice.” By five simple words, this teacher made an impact on my daughter. Barnabas also made an impact on Paul and John Mark with his words of defense and affirmation. It has been said, If you can be anything, be kind.” QUESTION: How can you use kind words to influence others?

L IS FOR LEGACY

  • Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
  • Through the power of encouragement, Barnabas left a tremendous legacy of churches and leaders. During an exciting journey that includes bold preaching and miraculous signs and wonders (14:3), Barnabas and Paul established churches and left behind a recognized system of elders for governing (14:23). QUESTION: What Godly legacy will you leave behind?

ABC’S OF BARNABAS “THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT” – PART 1: A-F

title-slides.001

ABC’S OF BARNABAS: THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT was originally taught in its entirety on November 17, 2017, for Purpose Institute at the First Apostolic Church of Troy Campus, Pastor Marvin Walker.

One of my favorite ways to study the Word of God is through the lives of Biblical Biographies. I love seeing how they lived, succeeded, and even failed. I have recently been studying the life of Barnabas, and his kindness and spirit of encouragement have enthralled me. As I have peeked into his life, numerous lessons have jumped out at me. I would like for you to join me on the journey by creating the ABC’s of Barnabas. With each letter of the alphabet, we are going to discover a new attribute of his life.

Continue reading “ABC’S OF BARNABAS “THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT” – PART 1: A-F”