Spirituality

Pop-Up Sermon: Jesus is the Answer to Poverty

Poverty

(Photo Credit: New York Daily News)

Jesus is the answer to poverty: “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). What Jesus accomplished at the Cross—at Calvary—provided every believer with access to experience victory over poverty in every area of his or her life—not just in the area of finance. Each day, believe that you have already received freedom from poverty in every area of your life. Mark 11:24 states, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This verse, therefore, informs you that to possess this liberation from the bondage of poverty one has to receive it by faith. Begin each day with this confession of faith: “Jesus, I receive the victory from poverty in every area of my life that your shed blood on the Cross has made available to me. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this precious free gift.”

According to II Corinthians 8:9, Jesus loves you so much that He took upon His own body the viciousness, ugliness, heaviness, and bondage of poverty for you. The most brutal beating in human history that Christ suffered empowers you to triumph over poverty. Without the Finished Work of the Cross, you would have had to bear the tremendous burden of poverty. Christ has such a great love for you that He does not want you to be dominated by poverty, for He desires for you to enjoy everyday life (John 10:10).

True believers have an intimate knowledge and understanding about how the grace of Jesus Christ has already supplied them with everything they need for this life: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). How does one receive this blessing of Christ? II Peter 1:4 divulges the precise answer to this query: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” One must, therefore, “partake” of this blessing that has already been made available to him or her. How does one “partake” of this blessing? Each day, declare and believe you have everything II Peter 1:3-4 reveal that you have.

When you believe something, you will open your mouth and confirm it—and keep confirming it.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: Everybody Old Ain’t Wise

Old Fool

(Photo Credit: Eucman)

When many old people, especially those who attend church regularly, approach young people, they make statements to those young folks based on their “wisdom” and “experience,” for, in their view, their experience is much more valuable than this “book knowledge” the young have. By “book knowledge,” they generally refer to learning one has obtained in school, including various levels of higher education. Without “book knowledge,” what type of informed lens do you employ to situate the insights of your experience? Without “book knowledge,” how do you really know you’re wise? Isn’t some level of “book knowledge” necessary to have wisdom? If old age automatically makes one wise, then how do we get Donald Trump? Exactly.

II Timothy 2:15 states, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Scripture, therefore, teaches that true wisdom begins and ends with “rightly dividing the word of truth” in one’s thought, talk, walk, and heart. One’s right believing will produce right living, right conduct. Authentic experience is gained through one’s consistent engagement with the word of truth and his or her applying it to daily life. One cannot have real wisdom without an accurate and comprehensive understanding of Scripture. You might want to benefit from some “book knowledge” if you desire to possess wisdom.

Don’t allow anyone, including some old church coon, to make you feel bad because you’re highly educated.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Between Pain & Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering: A Brief Review

Between Pain and Grace

(Photo Credit: Design Corps)

In Pain & Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering, Gerald W. Peterman and Andrew J. Schmutzer offer a thorough and astute assessment of Scripture’s treatment of pain and grace.  Although many readers, especially those who are not advanced bible students or theologians, will find Peterman and Schmutzer’s assertion that God experiences suffering unsettling, their argument on this topic is worthwhile to consider. For those of us who understand the realities of anger, the scholars’ view of anger as a type of suffering may be satisfying.  They discuss mental health and sexual abuse in the context of suffering. What one will discover from this text is his or her faith in what grace has made available will lead him or her to triumph over pain and suffering.

Unlike most books concentrating on pain and suffering that relate them in such generic ways, this work concatenates biblical truths and evidence with clinical research about pain and suffering. I found this book to demonstrate how powerful the grace of Christ is in helping believers to overcome the challenges and problems they experience. As Peterman and Schmutzer explain, pain and suffering are unavoidable in this life. How we elect to confront them will determine our outcomes, however. After reading this book, many readers are likely to increase their faith and trust in Christ’s ability to enable them to rise above pain and suffering.

I highly recommend this book. In a nation and world where elevating violence and hate can seem unbearable, Peterman and Schmutzer remind us that the Finished Work of the Cross has already conquered the pain and suffering we face. It is our job to partake of the grace Jesus has extended to defeat pain and suffering.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Pop-Up Sermon: God’s Pulpit Isn’t a Bully Pulpit

 

Black Preacher

(Photo Credit: Christianity Expert)

Before you step into the pulpit, surrender your personal agenda(s), for the pulpit isn’t a space to take spineless, milquetoast shots at folks. Ephesians 4:15 calls us, ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to “speak the truth in love”—keywords: “truth” and “love.” Ministries become ineffective when preachers and pastors use their positions as weapons of carnal warfare, ultimately leading to their own undoing (II Corinthians 10:4). Pastors are called to “feed” and not beat, not condemn (Jeremiah 3:15). Unfortunately, in numerous churches across the nation, pastors beat more than they feed, essentially functioning as tools for Satan. If you’re a pastor or preacher who has developed acrimonious relationships with individuals, then work on ameliorating those relationships in private—not from God’s hallowed pulpit.

When bitterness and discord accompany you to the pulpit, they win; the anointing fails to flow. You inevitably begin to see that God cannot employ you in the ways He once was able; you inevitably begin to see that your spiritual gifts—like the gift of healing—do not work for you any longer; you inevitably begin to see that your personal and ministry’s finances dwindle significantly—as does church attendance. Why? Because you’ve “given place” to the Devil and not concentrated solely on Jesus (Ephesians 4:27). Issues, problems and people have taken Jesus’ spot. Why? Because you’ve become self-occupied instead of Christ-occupied.

Again, settle your issues and problems out of the pulpit—in private. For I Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before” (New Living Translation).

True Believers, we pray for a day when all pulpits are genuinely reverenced by those who frequent them.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison               

American Woman’s Bible, NKJV: A Short Review

American Woman's Bible

Photo Credit: BookLook Bloggers

The American Woman’s Bible: Women, Godly Virtues, and the Making of America (New King James Version) contains the Word of God translated in language much more accessible than the King James Version, and this particular edition of the bible includes inspiring American women’s history throughout to complement particular books and chapters of the bible. It also contains a helpful concordance.

 
This edition of the bible offers a pleasant reading experience: colored-print, illustrations, various biographies of key women in American history, and more. Most readers will learn some critical phenomena about American history—all while immersing themselves in God’s Word. Durability will never become an issue with this book; it’s well-crafted. With an excellent typeface and print in general, this bible is likely to become the primary bible one reads. Guys shouldn’t think this is a bible simply for women—it’s a bible for everyone.

 
Although this is an excellent bible, it would have been even better if it supplied the reader with study helps. A bible does not have to be a study bible to provide the reader with study helps. I still highly recommend purchasing and reading this bible.

 
In exchange for my honest review, BookLook Bloggers furnished me with a copy of this bible.

 
Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abolishing Abortion: How You Can Play a Part in Ending the Greatest Evil of Our Day by Frank Pavone: A Short Book Review

Abolishing Abortion

(Photo Credit: Booklook Bloggers)

In Abolishing Abortion: How You Can Play a Part in Ending the Greatest Evil of Our Day, Reverend Frank Pavone offers a comprehensive and aggressive approach to eliminating abortion in America. Instead of allowing churches and individual Christians to succumb to the argument that they should refrain from engaging in politics, including politics related to abortion, Pavone challenges them to fight vociferously and passionately for the lives of the unborn. For the author, Christians concerned about ending abortion have the power to reform how government works, and this will require a harmonious banding together of churches and Christians committed to exercising their moral authority and who refuse to have their voices silenced.

Although pro-choice readers will not like this book, pro-life readers will be moved to act in ways that are more coordinated and intentional. In the extant political and cultural climate, too many pro-life Christians have lost faith in seeing a day when abortion no longer exists in America. Pavone makes a convincing argument that a ban on abortion is very much possible. He posits that abortion will end when pro-life Christians and churches unite to demand a reversal of Roe v. Wade. As the book argues successfully, it is essential to elect politicians who sincerely commit to appointing and confirming pro-life judges to sit on courts at every level. I encourage pro-life Christians to read this book and employ it as a tool to save the lives of the unborn.

Booklook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

President Jimmy Carter is Cancer-Free: Never Lose Faith

President Carter

(Photo Credit: Life News)

Former President Jimmy Carter announced he’s cancer-free, demonstrating the power of faith to conquer what many suggest is impossible. President Carter’s healing is a testimony of the power of God’s grace. When you put your faith in the power of the Finished Work of the Cross, Jesus will heal you. In Zechariah 4:6-7, God informs us that whatever our mountain may be, including a mountain of sickness and disease, shout “Grace, Grace” to that mountain and it will become a “plain.” Because of Christ’s love for President Carter and his faith in grace, the mountain of cancer that once afflicted him has become a plain.

President Carter had people across the world praying for him. Look at what God will do when Believers across the globe join in unity for intercessory prayer.

When we pray, we should speak to our mountain (cancer, poverty, pain, etc.) and tell it to be cast into Hell (Mark 11:23). Believers have been given the authority to use their mouths to command the healing they and others need. The key to seeing healing manifest in your and others’ bodies is to believe that you have already received what you desire when you pray (Mark 11:24).

An unwanted report from your doctor indicating you have cancer doesn’t mean you’re going to die. Starve your fear and feed your faith with the Word of God. Allow President Carter’s example to inspire the hope of Christ in you. While I understand the argument that President Carter was able to benefit from the best medical care on the planet, numerous other famous and wealthy people have died with cancer. One shouldn’t, therefore, falsely believe his cancer being cured is simply a product of his economic and social privilege; cancer doesn’t care about privilege. Cancer kills regardless of privilege. Grace has healed President Carter!

President Carter, millions of people across America and globe rejoice with you and for you. What God has done in your life proves He’s still performing miracles.

May God continue to bless you, President Carter, and may God continue to bless America.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jamal Bryant’s Hypocrisy and Intolerance

Dr. Jamal Bryant

(Photo Credit: News One)

Pastor Jamal Bryant recently referred to a group of black pastors who met with Donald Trump as “prostitutes” and “pawns.” Jamal Bryant, Pastor of Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, Maryland, opposes Donald Trump for his inflammatory rhetoric and discriminatory positions, especially toward minorities. He ironically employs the same type of rhetoric and takes the same type of positions on black pastors who decide to meet with Trump. When did sitting down and engaging in civil discourse with someone make one become naïve, a pawn, prostitute, and coon? While I adamantly oppose Donald Trump, I refuse to characterize black people and pastors who meet with him using the aforementioned labels. The time has come to expose Pastor Jamal Bryant for his hypocrisy and intolerance.

One of Bryant’s chief objections to Trump is his supposed discriminatory viewpoints. If Pastor Bryant is truly a champion for racial and social justice, why hasn’t he ever protested the history of discrimination inside of his own fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., a historically black fraternity. Numerous past and present cases across the nation exist of his fraternity discriminating against applicants for membership. Pastor Bryant overlooks his fraternity brothers’ biases, but finds Trump’s alleged discriminatory words to be unbearable. This, sir, is a shameful double standard.   

Blinded by his self-righteousness, Bryant fails to see the irony in calling black pastors “prostitutes” for meeting with Trump when he slept with a prostitute while married, which led to a divorce and his daughter being brutally teased. A prostitute, sir, is who you had sex with, causing your marriage to end and resulted in your ministry being tarnished; a prostitute isn’t a pastor simply meeting with Mr. Trump. Mr. Bryant wants people to be tolerant of his past errors but isn’t tolerant enough to allow pastors to meet with Trump without harshly condemning them. Yes, continue to critique Mr. Trump and expose his foolishness but don’t demonize those who choose to have discussions with him and those who endorse him or who will inevitably endorse him.

In a televised church service about two weeks before Labor Day 2015 at Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church, Pastor Bryant told the congregation and the television audience that if they would “just give God a shout He’s going to pay all of your past due bills by Labor Day weekend.” Sir, all of my past due bills are still past due. Mr. Bryant, are you going to pay my past due bills? I guess you desire me to tolerate your false prophecy, huh? Unfortunately, you’re unwilling to tolerate black pastors meeting with Trump, so people are going to experience trouble overlooking your phony prophecy.

While you find Mr. Trump’s rhetoric to be unacceptable, you seem to think calling women “hoes” is acceptable. Hypocrisy! You also think it’s okay to call men in church who don’t meet your deficient standards of masculinity and righteousness “sanctified sissies.” Before you try to castigate Mr. Trump about his troubling language, you’ve got to deal with your own. You’ve offended all women by addressing them as “hoes,” and you’ve offended all gay men by referring to them as “sissies.” At some point, Pastor Bryant, you have to realize you have zero credibility when it comes to policing people’s words. Why do you want everyone to be tolerant except you? Some assert that I’m using his past to discredit his fundamental arguments against these black pastors who met with Trump. Mr. Bryant made his past relevant when he attacked their integrity by labeling them “prostitutes” and “pawns.” It’s, therefore, fair to examine Bryant’s integrity by assessing his record, a record that’s quite disconcerting. Save your crying about folks using his past against him for Oprah.

On yesterday, Mr. Bryant communicated the following message through a Facebook status: “Sometimes maturity is not what you say BUT…what you ignore[.]” Seriously, are you going to lecture people about maturity? With all of the immature things you have said and continue to say and do, you’re certainly the wrong person to lecture folks about maturity. Maturity would have told you not to describe pastors simply meeting with Donald Trump as “prostitutes” and “pawns.” Since you had sex with a prostitute, does that make you a pimp?

Pastor Bryant, have several seats.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

J.D. Greear’s Jesus Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You: A Brief Summary and Thoughtful Reflection

J.D. Greear

Pastor J.D. Greear and family
(Photo Credit: The Summit Church)

In Jesus Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You, J.D. Greear explores how the permanent presence of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, living on the inside of Believers enables them to experience a relationship with God that is more empowering and fulfilling than the relationship Believers enjoyed when the Incarnate Christ dwelled on earth. Greear emphasized that one cannot fulfill the will of the Lord without the active presence of the Holy Spirit in his or her life. This work calls for individuals to submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, resulting in the individual experiencing a personal and spiritual renaissance.

Greear’s book evinces that one of the greatest benefits of receiving the grace of God is having the Holy Spirit live inside of the individual. In a time when too many people and churches are deemphasizing and neglecting the Holy Spirit, this work provides a valuable contribution to the Christian community by revealing it is the free operation of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer that enables him or her to experience a satisfying life in this present world. The practical biblical truths this book extends to readers allows them to gain a deeper appreciation for the Holy Spirit, and it challenges readers to become more connected to the power of the Holy Spirit.

I highly recommend that Believers read Greear’s work to learn how to unleash the full power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to pen an authentic review.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Too Many “Babes” in Christ in the Pulpit

Black Preacher

(Photo Credit: Bossip)

Too many pulpits across the globe are being occupied by babes in Christ. Hebrews 5:11-14 state: “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” In those aforementioned verses, the Apostle Paul teaches those Jewish Christians who have been saved for a considerable amount of time that they should now be teaching people the full Gospel of Grace, but they’re still struggling with mixing the Mosaic Law with Grace. They’re still living mostly by the rules and regulations given by Moses instead of the Grace Jesus Christ has given them by the shedding of His precious blood on the Cross at Calvary.

Christians who cannot handle the full Gospel of Grace are those who don’t fully understand or accept everything about the Finished Work of Jesus Christ; that is, the Work He did at the Cross. When you don’t fully understand or accept the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, you’re a “babe” in Christ. Unfortunately, we have too many babes in Christ in the pulpit. A babe in the pulpit is dangerous.

Preachers Still Being Breastfed

Babes are too beholden to the past: the Mosaic Law, old rules, old customs, what the founders of their church denominations have said, and etc. You cannot have a serious understanding of the Bible without having a comprehensive understanding and acceptance of all that Grace has made available. Numerous preachers who fail to receive the Gospel of Grace fully are highly skeptical of the freedom and new agreements that accompany Grace. They’re so accustomed to living under the condemnation of the Mosaic Law that they cannot completely receive the liberation from sin Jesus has made available to us today.

Your church pastor might just be a “milk baby,” a Christian who has never gotten off of the nipple of the Old Covenant and continues to drink only the “Milk of the Word.” (Chapter 6 of Hebrews discusses the “Milk of the Word.”)

Stop Serving Moses—Serve Jesus

Although preachers who are babes in Christ are unintentionally serving Moses instead of Jesus—as a result of them mixing Law and Grace—they teach and preach the condemnation of sin that was a part of the Old Covenant given by Moses. Under the New Covenant of Grace, there’s no condemnation for Believers: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2). For preachers who are still shaming people about what they can and cannot wear, telling them what music they can and cannot listen to, telling them they cannot go to the movie theater, and etc., they’re activating “the law of sin and death.” It’s no wonder, therefore, they and their congregants struggle greatly with sin and death—the preachers are activating this dangerous law or principle and their congregants are receiving it.

Doctrines of Devils from the Pulpit

While it’s okay for your pastor to give you advice about what to wear, what type of music to listen to, and whether or not to go to movie theaters, the moment he or she forbids you from wearing something, listening to a certain type of music and/or going to the movie theaters—as if it is sin—he or she has engendered “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1). I Timothy 4:1-2 state, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” When a preacher, therefore, makes his or her personal opinions rules and regulations all must follow, his or her teaching departs from “the faith”—grace—and he or she begins “speaking lies in hypocrisy.” If you try to challenge the doctrines of devils they espouse, you can be sure hey will attack you and attempt to undermine you. They will assert that you’re simply trying to change everything the denomination was founded on, and that you’re simply one of the false teachers the Book of Galatians discusses. Ironically, they’re unintentionally (in most cases) functioning in many ways like the false teachers in the Book of Galatians.

Acknowledge When Others Have More Bible Knowledge than You

Too many preachers simply are unwilling to admit that some of those they lead have more knowledge of the Word of God than them. Their arrogance leads them away from opportunities to grow in their knowledge of the Word of God and Jesus Christ. They’re too arrogant to concede they’re still babes in Christ, and when a lay member is able to demonstrate more knowledge of the Word of God than them, they often attempt to undermine their knowledge as simply the words of “the educated”—as if being educated makes one diametrically opposed to the true knowledge of the Word of God and Jesus Christ.

Embrace those in your churches who have deep knowledge of the Word of God—don’t be envious of them and don’t try to undermine them. If you disagree with something a person who has deep Bible knowledge says, confront him or her directly and not in underhanded ways.

Milk Baby Preachers, We’re No Longer under the Law

Preachers who are babes in Christ are still struggling with applying Abrahamic faith in their own lives. Galatians 3:6 states, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Righteousness was given to Abraham because he believed God—not because of his personal performance, conduct and style of dress. For a mature Christian, he or she finds Abrahamic faith to be an elementary phenomenon, even though it’s a highly important phenomenon. Elementary aspects of the Bible compose the “Milk of the Word” babes in Christ continue to drink.

It’s time for preachers to stop drinking “milk” and start consuming and embracing strong meat—the full Gospel of Grace.

Preachers, it’s time to stop issuing rules and regulations and concentrate your congregations on beholding Jesus. Jesus didn’t die to give people rules and regulations. He died so that they can have eternal life and fellowship with them. Romans 6:14 says, “Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Believers now live by what the Spirit of Christ (the Spirit of Grace) informs them to do and not by rules and regulations established by man, including those unscriptural rules forbidding women to wear pants and certain lipstick and fingernail polish colors.

We’re no longer under your laws and the Mosaic Law. Jesus has delivered us from the curse of the Mosaic Law (Galatians 3:13), and we no longer obtain and maintain our righteousness through the Law but through Jesus Christ (Romans 10:4).

Conclusion

I encourage all preachers and Believers to engage in a focused and comprehensive study of the Book of Romans. The Book of Romans is Paul’s masterpiece and is a treatise on Grace. Read Romans with New Testament eyes and not with Old Testament eyes. From the Book of Romans, you will be able to gain a foundational understanding of Grace and will learn the importance of teaching and preaching the Gospel of Grace.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison