Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Round Two "Political Talking Points"

I’m back for round two of my political talking points. A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Social Conservatives Trapped in a Liberal Party” that drew some interesting comments. In the post, I asked the question why are people who are social conservatives so loyal to a party that is so opposed to social conservative values? With all of the comments, I still did not get an answer to that question. Doc Spoon did a wonderful job of making a case against the David Duke Democratic party of old, but he did not answer my question.

But for argument sake, lets look at a couple of things he mentioned in his comment.

The GOP is the home of racism.
Quite frankly, I think this argument is old and played out. America has become the home of immigrants. Studies show that immigrants are entering our country at a rate of over 800,000 people per year. Do you think people are so desperate to get over here because America is so racist? I know you said the GOP is the home of racism, but most who make that argument feel that racism is still a problem for African Americans. I am in no way saying that racism does not still exist, but racism cannot find a home in either party. It will not be tolerated. Lets not forget that President Bush appointed more African Americans to his cabinet then the last Democratic President. He named Condoleezza Rice, to be the first female African-American secretary of State in the history of the United States. Under the Bush administration, homeownership among African Americans is higher then ever. We have more African American owned businesses then ever, more African American Millionaires then ever and more African American Billionaires then ever. Case closed!!!

The GOP is the home of classism.
I assume he meant Structural or Institutional Classism, which is a passive form of classism that occurs when institutions or common practices are structured in such a way as to effectively exclude or marginalize people from lower classes. If so, that sounds like Liberalism. It is the Liberals that are contributing to classism with all of their social programs that discourage accountability.

The GOP is the home of sectarianism.
Again sounds more like the Liberals with the Separation of Church and State argument.

The GOP is the home of economic red-lining.
Sounds like what Senator Obama wants to do with his socialist economic plan (redistribute the wealth).

As I stated before, most African Americans are Social Conservatives but quite a few are economic Conservatives (just added), trapped in a Liberal Party.

I am not nearly as concerned about the economic issues as I am about the social issues. We as African Americans can do just as well economically under a Conservative President as we can under a Liberal President, I would argue even better. I am more concerned about issues that stand in direct opposition to the values of the Kingdom of God. We know that life begins at conception, so how can we remain loyal to a party that contradicts that clear biblical principle? We know that homosexuality is wrong, so how can we remain loyal to a party that contradicts that clear biblical principle (the Democratic Party is the home of the homosexual movement)? We have a Proposition 8 on the ballot here in California that says marriage is between one Man and one Woman, guess who’s pouring the big bucks into defeating this proposition… The Teachers Union, Brad Pitt and Ellen DeGeneres (Avid Democrats). Barack Obama has called Prop 8 "divisive and discriminatory." www.democrats.org/page/community/post/mceades/CnR . I know that we are not voting for Jesus Christ, but we can use our vote to glorify Him.

Spoon, Mann, D A, Anonymous or somebody "that is"... Please straighten me out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Overwhelmed With Joy

Brothers and sisters, my heart is filled with joy because of a weekend filled with praise, fellowship and proclamation of God's powerful word. It started Saturday night when I attended a banquet in honor of the school I attend The Los Angeles Bible Training School . I am humbled to be associated with an institution that has so effectively served the body of Christ for so long (since 1962). We call LABTS the best kept secret in Los Angeles. It was an honor for me to be a part of such a glorious occasion. Pastor Alex Montoya of The First Fundamental Bible Church in East Los Angeles brought the word. His exposition came from James chapter 1 verses 21-25.

The highlight of my weekend, was this afternoon, at our Annual Men's Day Service. Deacon Billy Bogan, put together a wonderful program. Paul Felix B.A., University of Redlands M.A., Talbot Theological Seminary M.Div., Th.M., The Master's Seminary Th.D., The Master's Seminary (in progress), Assistant Professor, New Testament Language and Literature at The Master's Seminary, President of The Los Angeles Bible Training School and Co Author of "Secret Sex Wars " (yes all of that and some) brought the word, and what a wholesome and healthy word it was.

Our Theme for the occasion was "Men Living on God's Word" with Matthew 4:4 as the foundational text. His exposition came from various passages where he challanged the entire congregation to live by God's Word.

His outline below

Men who live by the word of God are:

I. Convinced about the Nature of the Bible
a. The Bible is the Word of God (2 Tim 3:16-17)

II. Convinced about the Characteristics of the Bible
Hebrews 4:12
a. It's alive
b. It's active (effective)
c. It's sharp
d. It's piercing
e. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart

III. Convinced about the Benefits of the Bible
a. It will bless those who live by it (Psalms 119:1-2)
b. It will keep you clean (Psalms 119:9)
c. It will keep you from sin (Psalms 119:11)
d. It will make you wise (Psalms 119:97-104)

IV. Committed to Practicing the Disciplines of the Bible
Psalms 119:14-15
a. Living by the Word
b. Meditating on the Word

What a privilege and an honor it was to have one of God’s choice servants break bread with us on our Annual Men’s Day Service.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Taking a Break from Sparring

First, to my blog brothers and sisters and all whom I spar with on Tuesday's, today I have decided to take a break from sparring and write about something less controversial. My reason has nothing to do with being beat down by all of my fellow bloggers and friends for last weeks rather provocative post :-). So to all of my stable mates and spectators, expect me to come out swinging and swinging hard next week.

This week, I want to write about the love of my life, who also happens to be the Mother of my children and more recently a cherished and valuable friend. Blog community and friends, I am talking about none other then the preachers wife, my boo... Lori Fitts! I am so thankful to God for my beautiful wife.

Over the past couple of months, my wife and I have become very close. I attribute this to us both surrendering our will and desires to the will of God. I wish we would have done this a lot earlier but I thank God for the now. Since I have surrendered my desires to His will, the Lord has shown me so much about the value that Lori brings to the table. Before, it was all about me and what I was going through but now I see that she has been in the fight all along.

As Pastors wife, she often has to deal with a part of me that no one else has to deal with. The frustrated, discouraged and sometimes burned out step away from pastoring for just a moment DeAntwan Fitts. She has done it and I appreciate her more today then ever before. Lori if you are reading this I want you to know, you mean the world to me.

Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church. Protect and provide for her at the cost of your life.

Pastors, cherish your wife as a valuable prize possession set apart for you and only you. Give her the assurance that even though she has to share you with so many others, there is a part of you that belongs to her and her only.

To the Church, I like HB Charles formula; you take care of your Pastors wife, she take care of the Pastor and the Pastor take care of you.

To all of the Pastors wives who read this post, God bless you for what you do for the body of Christ. You are indeed the underrated heroe amogst the community of God's people.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Outline

Are you Getting The Most out Of the Preached Word?
James 1:19-25

Illustration: A gray-haired old lady, long a member of her community and church, shook hands with the minister after the service one Sunday morning. "That was a wonderful sermon," she told him, "-- just wonderful. Everything you said applies to someone I know."

I. Proof in Attentiveness
Verse 19a “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen”

a. We pay attention with our ears “quick to listen” not with our mouth “slow to speak“ vs. 19
b. We pay attention to God’s word “listen to the word” vs. 22 & 23
c. We pay attention with our eyes “looks intently” vs. 25
d. We pay attention with our minds “not forgetting” vs. 25

II. Proof in Attitude
Last part of verse 19-21 “slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you”

a. We should not get angry when the Word of God exposes an area of our life that we do not want exposed. “slow to become angry”
1. Because “man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” vs. 19

b. We need an attitude of surrender “get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent” verse 21a

c. We need to have a teachable and submissive attitude. “humbly accept the word” vs. 21a
1. Because it “can save you” vs. 21b

III. Proof in Action
Verse 22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does”

a. Put it into practice “Do not merely listen to the word” “do what it says vs. 22
1. Because you only “deceive yourself”

b. Make it your lifestyle “the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it” Verse 25


1. You will be blessed (last part of verse 25)
2. It will give you power over sin “humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (last part of verse 21)

It is not what men eat but what they digest that makes them strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; not what we preach but what we practice that makes us Christians.
Francis Bacon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Social Conservatives Trapped in a Liberal Party

If you were to survey African American Christians, you would discover that most are Social Conservatives. Wiktionary define a social conservative as; “One who favors social policies based on a particular reading of Judeo-Christian values, generally in favor of public prayer and the right to own guns, and opposed to abortion rights, same-sex marriage and the teaching of evolution in public schools”.

My question is why are people who are social conservatives so loyal to a party that is so opposed to social conservative values?

The Democratic Party is the home of the ACLU (a organization that attacks everything Christian). The Democratic Party is the home of Americans United For Separation of Church and State. The Democratic Party is the home of feminism. The Democratic Party is the home of the homosexual movement. The Democratic Party is the home of Planned Parenthood (a organization that uses the murder of babies as a means of birth control). The Democratic Party is the home of the Pornography industry.

With that being said, why would any Christian remain loyal to a party that is defined by what is so opposed to what we value?

Can we, who are representatives of the Kingdom of God, go to the voting booth and in good conscience cast a vote for someone who’s values are so radically different from the values of the Kingdom of God?

Somebody please straighten me out… I just don’t get it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Putting Your Desires In Check

Last week, we looked at James 4:1-4 for the purpose of "Understanding Fights and Quarrels" in the church. Although contexually James seems to be talking about fights and quarrels in the church (among us), a proper understanding will help us in dealing with fights and quarrels in other areas of our lives. This week we looked at verses 7-10 in light of verses 1-4. James makes it clear in verses 1-3 that fighting and quarreling is just the surface issue. The deeper issue is our desires and our motives. The fundamental problem with fighting and quarreling (verse 4) is that it is spritual adultery. It is worldy in its nature.

Here is my outline for the sermon I preached from James 4:7-10:

My thesis statement: If our unhealthy desires are causing problems in our relationships, we must put our desires in check.

How To Put Our Desires In Check

I. Surrender Totally to God's influence

a. By Submitting to God (Line yourself under God's authority)
verse 7a. "Submit yourselves, then, to God"

1. Submit to the Son’s Lordship
2. Submit to the Sprits Leading
3. Submit to God’s Word

b. By Drawing Near to God (Pursue an intimate love relationship with God)
Verse 8a "Come near to God" This command has a promise attached to it. If
we draw near to God, He will come near to us.

c. By Humbling yourself in His presence (Take the low position)
Verse 10a "Humble yourselves before the Lord" This command also comes
with a promise. If we humble ourselves in the presence of God, He will exalt

II. Resist The Devil (Take a stand against)
Verse 7b "Resist the devil"

1. With Scripture Matt 4

2. With the Armor on Eph 6:11-12

This is another command that comes with a promise. If we resist the
devil, eventually, he will leave us alone.

III. We must be broken over our sin
Verses 8b & 9 "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-
minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your
joy to gloom

a. Internally Broken: "purify your hearts", "Grieve", Change "your joy to gloom"

b. Externally Broken: "Wash your hands", "mourn and wail", "Change your
laughter to mourning"

We can have healthy desires, but we must first put our desires in check.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's Time For Change

As we draw closer to selecting the next President of the United States, I find myself more and more reflecting on the conditions of our community. When I say our community, what I mean is the Black and Hispanic community or sometimes called the inner city. As I reflect, I cannot help thinking about how long we have been in these conditions. Irresponsible parenting, undisciplined children, gang violence and the highest crime rate. Drugs use, alcoholism, babies being born out of wedlock, the murder of the unborn, homosexuality are all the product of indiscipline and it is a growing issues in our community. Things are not getting better, they are getting worse. Now the undisciplined children are adults, they have children and the cycle continues.

What has contributed to these constant, long declining conditions in our community? Who’s responsible for the mess? I believe the answer is obvious. The no accountability, blame every body for my issues mentality has been the philosophy in our community for far too long. Things will not change until we stop pointing fingers and start accepting responsibility for the issues in our community. We must stop choosing leaders who promote this philosophy. It will not change until we change. It will not change until we change. Let me say it again “it will not change until we change”.

In sports, if the team continues to lose they fire the coach. In corporate America, if the company continues to decline, they fire the CEO. When our communities continue to fail, we keep selecting the same leaders. How long will we allow the Maxine Waters, the Mark Ridley Thomas’s the Barbara Boxer’s and the Diane Feinstein (Congress and Senate in our community) to lead our failing, declining communities? Their philosophy of no accountability, blame everybody but myself for my issues has not and will not work. It is time for us to start accepting responsibility for our own issues. We need leaders who are going to promote accountability. We need leaders who are really about change. How is it that we have allowed these leaders to go unchecked for so long? The results or lack thereof prove that we need a change. Who’s responsible if our communities continue to decline? We don’t need more social programs. We don’t need more rights. What we need is accountability. We need parents to be responsible for disciplining their children and we need to hold them accountable when they don’t. We need leaders who are going to promote accountability.

Unfortunately, most of the people I talk to in our community are more concerned with the skin color of those who are leading our communities then they are about their philosophies and ideologies. I was speaking on the subject of the next president with my barber and he informed me that he was voting for Barack Obama because he’s black. He told me he was not concerned with his policies but the fact that he is black is enough to earn his vote. I wonder how Mr. Obama would feel to know that people are voting for him solely on the basis of his skin color.

I agree, it is time for change, but who’s responsible for bringing about that change?

I am currently writing about Social Conservatives trapped in a Liberal Party. I will post it next week.

Feel free to straighten me out, I might be looking at this wrong.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Understanding Conflict

What is the cause of fights that lead to Church splits? What is the cause of fights that lead to divorce? What is the cause of fights that sometimes end in death? As I was studying this passage for my sermon I couldn't help reflecting on my younger days and fights I had with my brother. As I examined those fights under the light of God's word, I concluded that the reason I fought had nothing to do with defending myself nor was it because he hit me first. The reason I fought had everything to do with my fallen sinful nature. The reason I fought was because I wanted things to go my way.
That was the focus of James question to his readers in Chapter 4:1-4. What is the cause of fights and quarrels among you? The tone of James letter is very strong and he is very direct. James is an advocate for personal responsibility and mutual accountability.

If we want to be successful in dealing with the fights and quarrels that we encounter, we must understand some things about fights and quarrels.

Here is my outline for verses 1-4 "Understanding Fights and Quarrels":

I. First thing we need to understand about Fights and Quarrels is that they are just surface issues.
Vs. 1a. What causes fights and quarrels among you?

The word James uses for Fights refer to actual armed conflict, it carries a violent image. The word quarrels refer to battles without material weapons; this includes fighting with words.
Often times our focus is on the fighting itself but James lets us know that there is a deeper issue that we need to give attention to.

II. The Deeper issue is our desires.
Vs 1b-2b. Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?

a. Upset because you can't have your way.
Vs 2. You want something but don't get it.

b. You want what you want at any cost.
Vs 2b. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what
you want. You quarrel and fight.

III. The Deeper issue is our Motives.
Vs 2c-3. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

IV. The Fundamental Problem is Unfaithfulness
Vs. 4. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

When we fight and quarrel with one another, we are doing what we did in the world. It becomes more about us then about God. Whenever it is not about God, that is unfaithfulness and therein lies the problem.

God will hold us responsible for our actions. Next week, we will look at practical steps for dealing with these issues.