Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Briefly the other morning I began to contemplate what makes a preacher effective. Considering that I preach often, questions like these are great for me to ponder. I was shocked at the rapid fire responses that flooded my brain. I took a moment to organize my thoughts and quickly realized I had blog material on my hand. Being a fan of alliteration I wondered could I deduce these reasonings down to ideas with the same letter. Sure enough, I could. So, I did and here they are.

1. Understand your Assignment

Every preacher must understand their assignment. This first requires a close relationship with the assigner. We must always remember we are the messenger, but God is the owner of the message. He also has predetermined how it should be delivered, to whom it will be delivered to, and why. Before you preach, know what the Master desires and determine yourself to not get in the way (which is easier said then done). Ask yourself this question what is the end goal God is after with this particular message. Knowing that is half the battle. Once you know what God is speaking to His people; then and only then should you add yourself to the equation.  Because if you’re not careful speak your opinions, and ultimately elevate your agenda above God’s purpose.

2. Understand your Audience

Every preacher must understand their audience. To whom am I delivering this message. How might they best receive this message. Are they quiet listeners, who might be offended by shouting? Or, are they listeners who take great joy in being shouted at? Whatever you do; discern your audience. Do a group of teens really want to hear pages of notes on Greek and Hebrew words. Or can I take the truth of those words and hide it in a story that’s relatable to teens. You don’t need detailed research for this. Just a few observations are all you need. Remember the two most important people are your Assigner (God) and your Audience. You barely factor into the equation. God knows your audience He will show you just what you need to know about them if you will take the time to ask Him first.

3. Understand your Atmosphere

Every preacher must understand their atmosphere. Now here I don’t just mean your physical surroundings. You do need an awareness of that, but I want to focus on spiritual atmosphere. What is the spiritual climate you are in. Is it conducive for ministry. Does it need to be shifted. In Biblical times sometimes the prophet would not prophesy without the minstrel. The musician was called to help the atmosphere get right. You have to not only discern the audience, but you have to be able to discern an atmosphere. Here are a few things that change atmospheres. Prayer, Praise, Worship, Music, and Decrees. Let me briefly touch on the last one, decrees. On Sunday morning I decree “This is my Bible, I am what it says I am…Today I will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert…” my audience repeats after me. It shifts the atmosphere from spectating to participating which aids my audience in their learning.

4. Understand your Argument

Every preacher must understand their argument. What is it that you are talking about. Yes you heard from God but are you delivering it in a way that makes sense. Is it succinct. Look at the angles. Play the advocate. Question what you are saying. Research it. Expose the holes in what you are saying, and rework them until the holes aren’t there. Sure someone will still disagree with you, but you want it to be because they simply refuse to believe and not because you were woefully inaccurate. It’s very difficult to be persuasive in what you are not convinced of yourself. You can’t wait until you’re in the pulpit, behind the podium. As a rule of thumb, don’t study to preach; study to live, and then preach what you live.

5. Understand your Anointing

Every preacher must understand their anointing. Another way I can say this is stay in your lane. The anointing of God is the approval of God but also the equipping of God. The mechanic doesn’t barge his way into the operating room because he’s not equipped for that. Likewise the surgeon doesn’t bust into the auto shop because he’s equipped to perform surgeries. Sure you can wear more than one hat, but only wear hats that fit. Don’t try to be a singing preacher if you aren’t anointed to sing. Don’t try to close out a message “hooping” to an organ if you aren’t anointed for that. When we do those things what we are saying to God is “what You equipped me with is not enough”. It’s ok to admire what someone else does, but don’t copy what you aren’t anointed for. It does everyone a disservice, and you will suffer immensely because of it. Many God raised up to have a voice, but they became a mere echo trying to be like somebody else.

6. Understand your need to Adapt

Every preacher must understand their need to adapt. What I mean here is outside influences. Don’t forget we have an enemy and distraction is one of his main weapons while ministry is going forth. Don’t be so rigid. Learn how to adapt. Mics will malfunction. Babies will scream. People will walk at odd times. Cell phones will ring. Don’t lose your focus, adapt. Even laugh about the situation. Never let the devil see you sweat. Never lose your ultimate focus. You know your assignment, your audience, and your argument; you are an unstoppable force in this moment in time. Stay the course, adapt, and finish strong.

7. Understand your need to Adjust

Every preacher must understand their need to adjust. I know this sounds like what we just covered. However with adapt I meant outside influences, but with adjust I mean inside influences. I’ve spoken about our assigner, God The Father. Yet, let me speak of The Holy Spirit inside of us. Don’t become so focused that you neglect the inward Witness inside of you. Don’t be so confined to your notes that you must say them verbatim and leave no room for the Spirit inside of you to speak. Adjust to what you feel inside.  Some of this worlds greatest messages were birthed in the moment where the preacher dared to adjust to what was pounding in their heart and overrode their head to declare what Thus says The Lord. Please don’t misunderstand this to mean being unprepared or under prepared. It’s time out for all of this winging it in the pulpit. Yet there is a power inside of all of us that should have free course to take over knowing that ultimately we will adjust and yield ourselves to this power from within.

8. Understand your Appearance matters

Every preacher must understand that people see you long before they hear you. How you look, how you dress, and how you present yourself all matters. Indeed the Bible says “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart” but you aren’t talking to God you are talking to humans. As the scripture forewarns; humans judge the outside. There’s a statistic floating around that human beings make judgments about each other in the first 3 seconds of meeting. Often before you ever take the stage you are judged. If you look unkempt someone can assume your message is unkempt as well.  The same goes if you look disheveled.  Sure you can win them over with content, but its better to show up looking the part. If need be, ask ahead about dress code. Few things are more awkward than being either overdressed or under dressed. Appropriate dressing includes both appropriate sizes and modesty; especially for female ministers . Use the power of a mirror to your advantage. Use advice from television, magazines, and others around you to avoid fashion faux pas. You never want to be a visible distraction to you hearers. Lastly remember that you are speaking for God, so your attire and overall appearance should reflect that.

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“Hear my cry Oh Lord, give ear unto my earnest prayer.” What a heartfelt sincere prayer. Sometimes we can pray from the mountain top; praying with powerful mountain moving faith, calling down power from on high into a situation. Yet how do you pray when you’re in the valley, not sure if you will survive another day? Deep down you know you should have the faith to believe you will make it, but truth is you don’t. You know God loves you, but you sure don’t feel Him right now. You know your sin debt has been paid, yet yielding to temptation seems a much better idea than fighting another losing battle. What is the use? You are saved but not certain when the last time you’ve seen considerable growth in your personal life. Church is cool and all, but once it’s over you seem to stare the same old problems in the face. The biggest problem stares back at you every time you encounter a mirror. Oh Lord what are you to do in a predicament like this?

I’ve got a 1 word answer for you: WORSHIP! One of the key ingredients of worship was told to us by the master himself. When Jesus encountered the woman at the well, they had a very memorable discourse. This encounter was so life changing that this woman with a shady past turned into a great evangelist telling everyone to “Come See A Man”. Yet hidden in this story is a glimpse into how Christ himself viewed worship. In John 4:23-24(niv) Jesus says “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

You see worship is not just about being spiritual, it is also about being truthful. In moments of extreme pressure and affliction don’t try too get so deep that you are no longer honest. Sometimes our troubles never get any better because we’ve trained ourselves to pretend they do not exist. This is not God’s idea of worship. God is looking for a people that despite the problem, they are
determined to find a way to give Him praise and adoration still. I may have to cry, I may have to scream, I may have to sit in silence just staring up towards the sky, but no matter what it takes God you will get the glory out of this. Now that’s worship. You don’t have to figure out the reasons why this thing has happened for you to worship. The pressure doesn’t have to let up for you to worship. You don’t have to see a clear solution for you to worship. You don’t have to feel goosebumps or have a smoke filled room for you to worship. You can simply be truthful about what you are facing and call out to God like the psalmist did in Psalm 86:6-7 “Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me.” No one was in a worse traumatic life altering situation than our brother Job, yet scripture records his initial response to his calamity this way: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. (Job 1:20-22)

You are worshiping because you are letting both heaven and earth know that when you are overwhelmed you can look to a God that is never stressed out. When you are broken you can call to a God that remains whole. When you are sick you yet know you serve a God that still is a divine healer. When you are unrighteous, you know a God that forever embodies righteousness from His head down to His toe. It is worship because in the trial you reach an honest realization that says God without you I am nothing. God I trust you. You can deliver me in 10 seconds, 10 minutes, or 10 years but one thing I know only You alone Father can do it. Daddy, only you can bring me out.

The first time Satan realizes that even your most confounding of problems still drive you back to seeking God; he will know you are a lost cause. He knows he will never have power over you again because in good times or in bad times you still have a heart that will worship. A Christian with the Heart of a Worshipper is a dangerous threat to the kingdom of darkness. I encourage you to ask God to allow a heart of worship to be birthed in you today. Then, as you develop, you will be able to boldly declare like the Apostle Paul “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ…” (2 Corinthians 2:14a).

What are you waiting on, start worshiping now. Right where you are start giving God the glory. He alone is worthy. He alone is faithful, and if it had not been for the Lord who was on our side tell me where would we be. Oh Hallelujah. Thank you Jesus. We will WORSHIP.

AMM CEO

Pastor Andre Mitchell

(This blog was written for a publication produced by Evangelist Rena Wagner. She is a great woman of God. You can connect with her awesome ministry through Facebook)

It was the fall of 2008. I was in the midst of the worse year of my young life. The year started off great with the arrival of my first child. Yet as time went on the year became filled with challenge after challenge and trying time after trying time. By the time I reached November I was asking myself and God, “How much more can one man take”?

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was resting before I had to travel 68 miles one way to a job that I did not like. I was laying in the bed passing time when I got a phone call. It was a call that rocked my world. The voice on the other end said, “Uncle Mario is dead, he was murdered sometime last night. Your grandmother just identified the body”. Wow not at all what I anticipated hearing. My head started to spin. Mario was my mother’s brother. I wondered what she must have felt. I wondered about my grandparents. I was saddened, angry, and confused all at the same time. To top it all off, I still had to go to work.

Fast forward several days later. The funeral arrangements were set. My pregnant wife, myself, and my new child had traveled over 3 hours to be a part of the wake. We arrived into town with only a couple of hours before we would have to be at the wake for my uncle. I set the bags down, sat down, and my wife’s cell phone rings. She answers the phone and within minutes her countenance changes drastically. On the other end was my mother-in-law relaying that her doctors appointment did not go as expected and she had been diagnosed with cancer. Wow again!!!!! Here I am still in the throws of grief over an uncle whose life was taken from him, but before I can properly deal with that loss here I am being dealt another tragic blow.

You see, already that month I had had a loved one sentenced to prison time. I was being unfairly treated on my job, but stuck with very little recourse available. My church was in a building project that I was the lead person on and everything that could go wrong was going wrong and we still had no new building. My personal ministry was in a prolonged season of dryness. No speaking engagements had come in for months and nothing was on the horizon either. I was the author of a book that was no longer selling, but rather collecting dust on my shelves. If all that wasn’t enough, now death and cancer.

What is interesting is life has a way of bringing us to our knees. In these moments and seasons we may want to get upset with God, but the greatest comfort is found when we cry out to God. Crying out to Him is exactly what I did. I asked why. What had I done wrong. I would pray. I would cry. I would praise the best I knew how. Yet somehow in this process I could feel the healing of God taking place in my heart. I could feel a new resolve being built inside of me that made me believe it wouldn’t be like this always. Somehow I knew that even though weeping may endure for a night; Joy was coming in the morning.

It was God’s Word, Godly songs, and Godly thoughts that navigated me through these trying times. One phrase that kept coming to me over and over again was, “Because He lives I can face tomorrow”. I was going to have to be strong for those around me. I started believing that I could do it. I wasn’t believing in my human strength. I was starting to be convinced of His strength in me. That phrase reminded me that not only does He live, but He lives in me. He is active in me. He lives even in the middle of dark days and nights. If anybody could get me out of this one; He could and He would. Because of His triumph over 2,000 years, I knew I could win in the midst of my momentary affliction. I started feeling like together, God and I could do this. Actually, I had an entire posse. I had the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, plus Goodness and Mercy following me. Come on devil, because He lives in me I’m ready to fight this thing out. I’m ready to stand.

I started to think of all Christ’s suffering on the cross. All he endured. All he went through. My issues didn’t seem so daunting. Besides, the scriptures said the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwelt in me. To this day the phrase “Because He lives” is a source of great strength to me. In this coming Easter season remember that no matter what you are facing early one Sunday morning Jesus Christ got up out of the ground with all power in His hand. Because He lives, you can and you will make it out of any situation. Keep your head up because the last time I checked, He was still living.

www.andremitchell.com

IT’S OK

Posted: February 1, 2012 in Religion
Tags: , ,

So here I am listening to some new music and just reflecting. Take a peek into the rousings of my heart, they just might bless your soul:

What can I become in this next season of my life? So many things are on the horizon of my thoughts. So many opportunities. So many chances to utterly fail. Do I sit back and do nothing or do I grab life by the horns and go with the flow? I am uncertain about so much, but certainly certain about so many things as well. Disappointments, I have seen my share. Yet it is important that I do not allow them to shape me. It’s ok to cry, if the tears deepen my resolve. It’s ok to get angry if my anger stirs up the survivor in me. It’s ok to be honest, if my honesty makes me examine myself first and foremost. It’s ok to fight lust, if the battles help me teach others how to yield their passions to God. It’s ok to be transparent if what people see leaves them longing for God. It’s ok to want to break free from poverty, if my prosperity doesnt lead me to materalism. It’s ok to despise loneliness, as long as my need for companionship doesnt jeopardize my morals. It’s ok to challenge old methods, as long as my new method doesn’t compromise the gospel message. As long as my heart is pure, It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok.

U don’t have to have it all together to be used by God. He just might get glory out of these broken vessels of ours. One thing is certain; quitting should never be an option. Live for God, live holy, or die trying. This is just how I see it, because with God it’s always OK. He loves us just like, we are. It’s ok to stumble your way into your purpose. It’s ok because God doesn’t need your perfection as much as He craves your faith. If you can believe He is always able and will always make yourself available; then even in times of uncertainty, you can boldly say “ITS OK”

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AMM CEO

Pastor Andre Mitchell

We are in the final week of the blog challenge. This has been an extremely enjoyable experience.  Sierra Nichole gave us our final topic to blog about.  “A Glimpse into the Person in the Bible you identify with the most and Why” So here I go.  Enjoy.

As you may have gathered by the title, I have chosen King David.  David’s life speaks to me.  I love this passage of scripture: But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, `I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13:22 NLT)

What an awesome testimony to have.  Interestingly, David did not say this about himself.  These were God’s words about David.  This was how God viewed him, and this is how I want God to view me.

There is much I can talk about with David.  I can pick out his loyalty to his sheep.  I can wax eloquent on how he stayed faithful to the cause even though he had a king’s anointing stuck in a shepherd’s position.  We can discuss his willingness to face giant problems when others were tucking their tails and ready to run.

We can talk about his fights, his poetry, his worship, his relationships, his love, his kindness, his anger, and his mistakes.  He is one of those Biblical characters that you can glean from, from now til eternity.  However this is just a blog, and we don’t have all day lol.

I can identify with David in many ways, but I want to go back to the aforementioned statement that God made of him “a man after God’s own heart”. This really speaks to me.  I see a duality in it that makes me want to lift it out above anything else where David is concerned.

The word “after” in the statement, to me, has a double meaning. I can buy a model car and easily tell that it is modeled after an original.  The Cadillac in the box is modeled after the Cadillac on the showroom floor.  The really well thought out model car has every detail so that it is a mirror image of the real car that it models.

David’s heart was molded so well after God’s heart that it modeled God’s heart. David allowed life’s circumstances to mold him toward God and not away from Him.  At the end of the day he had a heart that was modeled after God’s own heart.

Consequently, the word “after” has another meaning.  If I say the police are after me, we realize I am speaking of pursuit.  I believe David had a heart modeled after God’s heart because he stayed in pursuit of God.  In Psalm 42:1, the psalmist, compared the pursuit of God to a thirsty deer panting “after” a water-brook.  David was not perfect, but no matter what; he kept coming after God.  He came in worship, in praise, with sacrifices, through questionings, and even in repentance.  Nothing stopped him from his pursuit.

I identify with David because I want a heart like God’s.  I want a heart that forgives.  A heart that looks past other’s faults and sees their needs.  A heart that hates evil, and on and on.  Yet, the only way I can achieve this is to have my heart molded long enough so that it models God’s.  And the only way I can have a heart modeled after God’s is to keep a heart that pursues God.  In essence, I will only be a man after God’s own heart as long as I remain a man that is always after God’s heart.

Psalm 63:8 My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.

So this is week two of the already famous Twitter #blogchallenge started by @iSierraNichole. In her own words this is the assignment for the week, “Week #2- Why Jesus? Why not Allah or Mohammad?  Why not Buddah?  What makes you so sure Jesus IS THE WAY?”

I want to use this post to prove to you why I believe Jesus is NOT the only way to God.  Now I know somebody is thinking that I’m getting ready to commit doctrinal suicide, or that I’ve started down the pathway called heresy.  Yet before you dismiss this as blasphemous nonsense or as another new-age seeker sensitive preacher lowering the proverbial standard; please lend me your ear.  Or, at least your eyes lol.

I want to go on the record and say that I believe all roads do indeed lead to God.  I know I am scaring you, and I may have lost a few readers already.  However, to those that are still reading, this is going to really bless you.

Let me first deal with the elephant in the room.  You are probably wondering what am I going to do with St John 14:6.  Well, I’m going to use this very scripture to prove my point that all roads lead to God, not just the classical Christian road.

Here is where I’ll start making some sense.  The problem with the statement that all roads lead to God is that it does not define what facet of God you will find at the end of the road.  Yes all roads lead to God, but all roads except one lead you to God as judge.  Why do I espouse Jesus Christ?  Simply put, He offers me one road, the only road, that exposes me to the facet of God that is known as THE FATHER.  Let’s examine the scripture I referenced earlier. Here it is from the KJV of the Bible with emphasis added by me. {St. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto THE FATHER, but by me.}

You see all roads will get you to God.  God will judge your works.  Have you ever heard of something in theology called the Great White Throne Judgement (Rev 20:11-15).  I don’t know about you, but I’m not so keen on finding God as judge because He is a just God; and I’m going to get just what I deserve.

Jesus offers me something entirely different.  Something exclusively special.  He offers me a road or a Way through Him where I can come to God as a son and He as my Father.  The father child relationship is so special.  In our judicial system judges don’t preside over their own child’s case because they won’t be able to judge without bias.  Even earthly fathers are inclined to show mercy.  Through Jesus and only through Him, I find not just a God but my Father who has already gone through great lengths to make atonement for my sins and receive me as a son.  I don’t get what I deserve.  I find adoption into a perfect family, and a place prepared for me in Heaven.

I’m not here to knock other religions and roads to God.  All I know is there is only one way that is guaranteed to not end up in my destruction.  The other roads are broad, but they lead to God as judge and then destruction. Jesus offers a road that is narrow, but it takes me to the THE FATHER and then everlasting life.  I may not be the brightest guy in the world or the sharpest tool in the shed; but I know a no-brainer when I see one.

When Jesus said no man comes to THE FATHER but through Him, I believed Him and I’m not gonna take a chance getting on another road because I don’t want to see my judge.  I want to see my Daddy.  No other religion offers me that.  I don’t know of anyone else that says I get an Abba Father out of the deal.  If this were contract negotiations I’d say Jesus is the best agent out there because of what He secures for you in the deal.

Lastly, think about it this way.  I can get in my car several ways.  I can get in the trunk.  I can get under the hood.  I can get in through the window, and I can get in through the sunroof. Yet it is absolute foolishness to do all that when I can just use the door.  Jesus said He was the door; any other road or way, for me, is just uncivilized.

www.andremitchell.com

 

AMM CEO

Pastor Andre Mitchell

So I was on twitter like I am almost everyday, I’m sort of addicted lol, and one of my followers tweeted about a blog challenge.  This sparked my interest because I find it hard not to talk about God, but I wasn’t sure I had time to participate. I am a new Senior pastor of a growing ministry, I work a full-time 9-5 outside of the ministry, I’m a husband of almost 12 yrs, and I’m a father of a 3 and a 2-year-old.  So I stay busy to say the least.

Yet this blog challenge interested me and after some thought I decided I wanted to do it.  The first part of our challenge was to blog about how we came to know Christ.  We are supposed to tell our testimony.  This is where the proverbial light bulb went off in my head.  You see, I knew my time was limited, and I knew my testimony was intricate; but I also remembered that my testimony was videotaped several years ago when I was in revival services in Colorado.  Therefore, without checking the blog challenge rules, I decided to include videos to tell my story.  (Shh, don’t tell anyone.  It will be our little secret.)

Below is my testimony in two parts.  I’m certain it will bless your life, and I’m certain it will give you a glimpse into why I do what I do for God no matter how busy I may be. You will see why to me it has been worth it all, and why I will use every medium possible to talk about my God.  Enjoy.