The Gospel in the Key of P


So, I know what you might be thinking.  You’re thinking, it’s Easter Weekend…there’s probably gonna be some deep, profound thought on the Resurrection. And it’s probably going to be sober, emotional and/or compelling.

No, not really.

As a matter of fact, because I understand the Good News of Good Friday, it makes me pretty happy.  I usually want to party…which is kind of what actually happened Friday night.

Well, let me back up and tell you how things got started…

I had been in a really interesting week. It started off with AWESOME news.  Lighthouse Church of All Nations is FINALLY building our first building after 35 years in ministry!  We had always been in someone else’s old, used church house and, most recently, an old bank building.  This news was very welcomed and exciting.

 Tuesday, I was then given more AWESOME news that my oldest son found a job! I was thrilled because I know how much it meant to him to help our household financially.  He was told he would be working with a friend on the nightshift (carpool…more awesomeness), but for the first week of training, he was going to need a ride from me. That meant, I had to rearrange my schedule a bit to drop him off and pick him up.  No problem…for the most part. It just meant I was going to be totally off my sleep schedule.

So, here’s where things start twisting a bit. 

With my sleep pattern completely jacked up. I encountered some challenging clients that had me so hot under the collar, I had to cry to decompress (don’t worry, chicks do this every once in a while).  Then my son runs into some challenges at work about which I am totally unqualified to console or commiserate with him.  This makes me miss his dad really bad.

On Thursday night, Pastor Dan preached at a church near my house about the unexplainable yet undeniable power of God.  He mentioned how there should be some things about your relationship with God and what He does in you and through you that should defy explanation, and when we try to make God understandable we fail to make Him authentic. (I’m gonna let you marinade in that bonus word for a minute.)

I was inspired. After three days straight of playing all Lady Antebellum 24/7 (which kept me in an easygoing cheerful place, despite my exhaustion and frustration), I felt the need to switch gears completely.  I needed encouragement from the Lord. I needed to remember the tools of deliverance from my childhood.  I needed to do old-school warfare. I needed some P-funk.

 

 I realize that this may be stretching your faith but, you must know there was a time when I could not hear the Gospel from ‘church folk,’ or their music.  So God, in His infinite wisdom, drew me to Him through the means at his disposal FOR ME. 

When George Clinton says, “With the rhythm it takes to dance to what we have to live through, you can dance underwater and not get wet,” it brought to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” It also took me to the Hebrew boys that walked in the fire and didn’t get burned and one who spent the night with a hungry lion and got nothing but a good night’s sleep.

I heard, “here’s my chance to dance my way out of my constriction,” or “gonna be groovin’ up and down hang up alleyway,” and I remembered to praise my way out of all the junk that I was hung up on.  I am encouraged that I can manage whatever is going on as long as I remain with the One Nation Under a Groove (or the Shadow of the Almighty…however you want to call it). And I would dance til I was completely spent, leaving all my struggles on the floor.

But, that’s just how God talks to ME. It’s the Unexplainable, Undeniable, Authentic, Resurrected, Living Savior on the inside of me, makin’ it do what it do.

SO, BACK TO GOOD FRIDAY…

I am in the aforementioned “mood,” when I hop on Facebook to discover my pastor-buddy-baby brother, Asanti Socrates, on an old school music tirade.  Well, I can’t let him have all the fun!  So we spend the night, trading YouTube clips of our favorite songs and turned Good Friday into a Facebook house party. I smiled and danced and laughed and sang along while friends and family joined the party.  It was joyous and healing.  Since God is so good at letting us in on the end at the beginning, I thought it quite fitting that we celebrated the resurrection by having a party to commemorate the crucifixion.

Should you happen to see me this weekend as we celebrate Jesus’ triumph, pay me no mind. You may see my head bopping to a different beat. Just know I’m celebrating the Good News on the ‘good foot’ coming down’ on the one,’ but I’m with you…I’m right there with you. 

What Do You Know About That?


I’ve heard it said that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I think that we do this to ourselves (and to others) all the time. How many people do you know that honestly believe they have the answer to your questions, and when you hear their ‘solution’ it sounds more appropriate for their situation than it does yours? How many times have YOU been the one to offer a solution to someone else that ends up being more suitable for YOU?  This is usually the bi-product of not really understanding who we are or what we’re here for.

It’s a question of Product Purpose.

Apostle Garland Scott, Pastor of Embassy Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida, once said,”A product cannot go into production until its purpose has been determined.”

There is a purpose for every person in existence, whether they know it or not.

So much of what we do wrong in this world is rooted in our lack of knowledge of who we are, where we come from and what we are here for.  Can you imagine that a drug dealer would settle for that life if he had been told from an early age that he was destined for the Stock Exchange or a six-figure income managing some huge corporation? What would happen if a young woman knew that she would discover a cure for cancer?  How quickly would she shut down some guy whispering in her ear, trying to get her to do something that would derail that purpose?

Worse yet, think about the many people who have a six inch stack of diplomas and certifications that still live these unfulfilled lives of quiet desperation because none of their education and training was in anything they were personally passionate about.  Think of all that wasted time preparing for something wholly unrelated to your purpose!

All of the intellect and education obtainable is made null and void if you don’t know who you are, what you’re capable of and what your own basic limitations are. You are a hammer in a room full of screws!

I have a really hard time dealing with it when I ‘screw’ up, especially if it ends up hurting someone.  Situations like that have the potential to keep me up nights.  I have a hard time with failure…it makes me a bit of an over-achiever. But, it also makes me very introspective. I want to know what it is about me that made me do what I did.  WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS I THINKING? I said it before; I’m kinda like Viviane Walker in ‘The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.’ “I take a problem and chew on it ‘til all the flavor is gone. Then I stick it in my hair.”

This ‘gift’ of introspection has turned to my advantage after all these years.  I know myself pretty well. That makes it hard for someone to talk me out of what I believe and it makes it easy for me to acknowledge when I have stepped out of bounds. It also serves to let me know I am capable of so much more than I realize, because of how I’ve been designed.

One of the most important aspects of learning about myself is learning about the One who made me.  It’s very easy to learn about yourself when you have a working relationship with your Creator.  It is having the Instruction Manual (Bible) and the Manufacturer at your constant disposal to ensure the product fulfills its purpose.  Listen to God when He tells you who you are and what you were designed to do and be.  It’s all in the Instruction Manual.  Anyone who tells you anything else must be dismissed as ignorant and uninformed.

Take the time to study your own behavior; learn your patterns.  Be willing to listen to your critics and pick your own behavior apart. Then, go to the Instruction Manual and measure EVERY critique (even the ones that you think are right) by the Specifications found in the manual.  It will help to determine if someone is speaking based on real knowledge of who you are, or if they are just ‘hammering’ away at you.

If you know who you are and what you are here for, no one will ever be able to take that from you. You will always be exactly where you are supposed to be doing exactly what God designed you to be doing.  In that you will find peace, purpose and the assurance of hearing God say, “Well done.”

GET TO STEPPIN’!


I am an odd duck.  The fact of which, I am loathe to deny.  From my “hyper-sensitive awareness” (which is what I like to call my undiagnosed ADD), to my ‘unorthodox’ relationship with God, to my eclectic taste in movies and music: I am NOT your ‘run-of-the-mill’ pastor, mother, writer or anything else.

BUT my struggles are pretty much like everybody else’s…so are my solutions.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I’ve been through some stuff. I’ve been tried by fire more than once.  As a matter of fact, it’s still pretty hot in these parts.

So, how do I get through the tough times?  SO GLAD YOU ASKED!!!

I walk it out.

**This is a message inspired by a Pastor hailing from Tennessee and Extended Family Member of Lighthouse Church, Terry Black along with the Minister of Condensation, Morris Day.**

One day this week, I spent a lot of time running around in the service of friends and in a quest for a word from the Lord and I KNEW that Pastor Terry Black had it for me.  Pastor Black was teaching a Holy Ghost filled, DYNAMIC seminar series through our All Nations Leadership Institute and I did not want to miss one moment of it. So I had designs to carpool friends to and from the event. HOWEVER I had another friend who was getting married and asked very specifically that I attend on the same night. With my own marriage of 25 years in such a state of limbo, weddings have a sweet-sting to them, but I felt very keenly that I did not need to miss this one.

So, I got off work, scooped up my buddy, dropped her off at church for the conference and high-tailed it nearly 30 miles to get to the wedding on time. The entire time I am jamming Raheem Devaughn, thinking about how much I miss my husband, hoagies from 111th Street and strawberry cheesecake.  I am also praying for my friend and her husband-to-be that God protect them from the past hurts in their lives that could bring harm to their future if they don’t check them early (hyper-sensitive awareness kicking into overdrive).

It was a sweet, simple wedding.  The bride and groom were gloriously in love and everything went off without a hitch. I was so glad to be there; so grateful to be asked. I kissed the bride, hugged the groom, trotted off to my car and high-tailed it nearly 30 miles back to catch the last part of the conference.

God is The Great Coordinator…The Ultimate Economist. He never wastes a moment.  I got there just in time to get my word.

Pastor Terry Black was addressing the subject of the three Hebrew boys.  When God showed up in the fire, they were all walking about freely in the fire. The point of focus was that they were walking about FREELY.  They were free in spite of the fact that they were in the fire.  They took their ease in a place where men who sent them to die had become mere ashes at their feet.

The anointing of God was thick in that room.  It felt like the heavy dew that rests upon a meadow just before sunrise. We worshipped, unabashed and unashamed, prophesying and praying over one another long after we had been dismissed. It was a delicious experience: A spiritual feast upon which we all dined abundantly.

So, here I am, sometime later, having dealt with the harsh reality of life beyond the afterglow. I recognized that, in the face of my circumstances, I continue to serve, encourage, worship and work. The words of Pastor Black have been ringing in my ears and instinctively coming out of my mouth, “I’m fine in the fire.” But, do you know what sealed the confession and propelled me into this blog? I give you the profound inquisition of “Minister” Morris Day in the era of the Magnificent Seven originally known as The Time. And I quote, “1, 2, 3, 4. What the hell are we fighting for? WALK!”

“Everybody walk your body.”

What occurred to me was, if I’m not the one who has to do the fighting and I have the liberty to walk out my faith, even in the midst of great tribulation, what is my rush?  I’m in the fire, but I’m not on fire. And like Morris said, “Walkin’s for the cool, baby.” Even in the fire, I can do that!  As long as God is in the fire with me and I keep walking, I’m fine in the fire. If this is what it takes for me to shine, I’m fine in the fire. If I have to stay in here until everything about me reflects Jesus Christ, I’m fine in the fire.

We will not feel the fire of our circumstances as long as we continue to walk out our faith.  When we come out, we won’t even smell like smoke.

So, what are YOU waiting for?  If we’re gonna walk it out, LET’S GET TO STEPPIN’!!!

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