Monday, January 26, 2015

ACE #332: The Draft

The next big professional sports draft day is the NFL Draft. In a few months or less, 32 teams will gather all of their executives and key stakeholders to their respective facilities or gather at the site of the Draft and prepare to pick the top college football players from across the world. These teams will analyze and critique every player’s game to make sure their organization gets the best players, who will fit their organization's direction. When Draft Night arrives, all the players will gather and wait to be selected by the team that needs their abilities to take the organization to the next level.

Good stuff, right? I know. 

Well, picture this. Jesus, as He prepares to finish the work of the Father in heaven, knows that He is going to need an assembly of believers to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. He is going to need them to teach the ones to come (us) to obey all the commandments He has given so we can then teach others. So, He calls 12 ordinary men, with no special skills. All the skill they had was belief. His team was formed and He completed His work in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension to Heaven. And, for us to be drafted to team Jesus, we need to believe in our hearts, confess with our mouths that He died on the cross and rose in three days for us with all authority in Heaven and earth and, then, act in faith that He paid it all for us.

Great stuff, right? I know.

Image from Wikipedia

Saturday, January 24, 2015

ACE #331: This Is My Song

My favorite song is "No Weapon" by Fred Hammond. The reason I like it so much is because it is Scripture. It just simply encourages me in times of discouragement, trouble and, yes, even victory. The song was written from the Scripture out the Book of Isaiah the prophet as the Lord declared His will over the witness of those who are His servants, Isaiah 54:17. This song has ministered to me and also allowed me to minister to others. In fact, I call it, “my song.” I didn’t compose it. I didn’t make it popular. I just use it to glorify and thank my God for His way and His word. I know what He has done and is doing for me. I am grateful. 

When the people of God crossed the Red Sea in Exodus, the Bible says they sang a song to the Lord. Over 400 years of captivity and the Israelites glorified God through a song of deliverance. That’s it! The Israelites and Moses joined together and just sang a song to thank God for what He had done.  

In the words of Mr. Brown, from Tyler Perry’s movies, “this is a celebrate.” 

They could have just moved on and said thank you. However, they came to gather and tell the story of their witness through song. What a testimony! A "joyful noise" to thank our God, who delivered us out of bondage and made a way out of nothing. Can you hear it? 

What is your song? Will you sing that song that epitomizes your struggle, your deliverance, your victory and your gratitude? Let Him hear it! This is my song. 

Isaiah 54:17

17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
 "No Weapon"

Friday, January 23, 2015

ACE #330: The Vows We Make

When my husband and I got married we said vows to each other.  Those vows were a solemn promise before one another, our closest family and friends, and in the presence God.  

When we commit our lives to Christ through acceptance and baptism, we make the same vows and promises to God that we will dedicate our lives to Him.

As 2015 approached, my husband and I made a vow to God that we would not turn down ministry assignments this year - that we would not only accept them, but challenge ourselves higher in our call as Christians and as ministry leaders.

Two weeks ago, a dear friend, Rev. DeLishia Boykin asked me to deliver a message on her "21 Days of Personal Transformation" call line.  The week she asked originally was our daughter's birthday.  My husband and I had planned many activities most appropriate and celebratory of our little princess. So Rev. D and I negotiated a different day.  Last night, I was able to minister on the line about the subject of "Peace".  Part of the message came from a blog I'd written last year titled, "Get Somewhere and Find Some Peace"!(See:  

The spoken message focused on these concluding points derived from the Biblical story "Jesus Calms the Storm":

1.  Peace is tied to trusting God.

2.  If we know Jesus, we must know peace.
3.  Fear and peace cannot function in the same space.

I was grateful for the opportunity to share the Word of God, but also grateful that I had not broken the vow I had made to God at the start of the year.  This new level of commitment has already connected me with old friends and new opportunities.

My husband and I are poised and positioned to move to our next level in ministry, in part, because we know God has greater for us, but also because we made a vow, a solemn promise, that we would do MORE for the Kingdom.  We proclaim that greater is coming!

So, today, as many of us are asking God to send us a breakthrough, answer our prayers, and give us peace, let's be mindful of the promise we made to be committed to His will and His way, but also to make new commitments to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the masses and the small corners of the earth.  

To get God's greater - desire to do greater work for Him, in Him, and through Him.  Will you make a new vow today?

Ecclesiastes 5:4
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.

Who is the Rev. DeLishia Boykin?

21 Days of Personal Transformation

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ACE #329: Brown Skin and Forgiveness

One of my favorite songs is "Brown Skin" by India Arie.  It is about a young lady who admires the brown skin of a young man.  His color is not just what she sees, but what fascinates her.  Some of the lyrics read:

Where are your people from?  Maybe Mississippi or an island.  
Apparently your skin has been kissed by the sun.  

When I was younger, white children and even some teachers made me feel marginalized and disrespected because of my skin color.  I was not, and could not possibly be, as smart or as pretty because of my brown skin.  Fortunately, I had parents, family members, and church members who were able to instill in me a pride for who I was ethnically, racially and culturally.  I must admit, I never felt ashamed because of my skin color, but I often felt invisible...even if I was the only one in the room who looked like me.  I always vowed that if I ever had children, I would teach them to love everything about themselves...especially their brown skin.

The other day, I picked our daughter up from her after school program.  One of her friends, who she has been with since the baby room at her previous daycare, was running around the room.  The exchange went something like this:

Her:  Mom, you know "Luke" is my boyfriend.

Him:  No, "Mary" is my girlfriend.  Why would I want to marry someone with a different skin color than mine?

The teacher and I exchanged sharp glances.  Then I said, "Well, if two people who have different color skin really love each other, it should not matter what their skin color is. But you both are too young to be talking about marriage and boyfriend/girlfriend stuff anyway."  I was actually pretty shocked and mildly furious at the exchange.

Her:  Well...Mom, Martin Luther King Jr. taught us that skin color doesn't matter.

Yet, it was still a painful reminder that skin color and race do many people...and perhaps to too many people...still. These two have been friends basically since birth, six years ago.  They have rarely viewed one another as "different" until this day.  In my mind, I can only imagine that someone much older and "wiser" had pointed out the "difference". 

When we got in the car, I talked to our daughter about the issue.  I explained to her that her brown skin was beautiful and anyone that made her feel less than what she was because of it was not worth being her friend or even her husband down the road.  I  also explained to her that when her friends say inappropriate or mean things to her that she should make them accountable and let them know it immediately.  Also, if they did not respect her, then she did not have to be friends with them.

Her response, "Mom, I really like being friends with him.  I forgive him. It's okay."

I replied, "No, it is not okay for anyone to try to make you feel less than what you are.  Your mom and your dad have brown skin and we love it and love you even more.  But the fact that you forgive him is exactly what Jesus would want you to do."

So...who really taught the lesson here?


Matthew 21:16
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[a]?”

Luke 6:37

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Mark 11:25
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ACE #328: Faith It Until You Make It

About a year and half ago, the Lord spoke something to my wife about helping the body of Christ when the church building is not available. At that particular time, we both were involved in other ministries and we did not quite understand what God was doing. So, we prayed, collectively and individually. And the Lord confirmed that we were to begin The 'After Church' Experience, or The ACE. I just knew it was the Lord’s plan because I don’t like to write or type. So, in faith, we began preparing The ACE - not knowing what this would be. We just moved into action and we started blogging our witness. We are not sure where the Lord is going with this. We just wanted to be obedient and faithful in what He is doing through the marriage ministry of Team Lewis. We are hoping that when it is all said and done and He returns for His elect that He is pleased with our faith in this part of our witness.

In the book of Hebrews, the Bible collectively witnesses the faith of so many who decided to do what the Lord spoke. Not only did they do it, they also believed and trusted that it would go according to His good and perfect will. Because of their faith, these witnesses were able to act on the calling and wait on the Lord to do His will.

In the Lord’s will and in His assignments, the outcome is according to Him. What we want it to be may not be what He planned it to be. Therefore, our faith has to be the confidence in what we hope for will actually happen. Our faith gives us assurance about the things we cannot see. In other words, if it doesn’t look like we want it to, it is working according to His plan to gather His elect in paradise, when it is established in Him.
Our faith will take us places that will prepare us to meet Him. Understanding that we did not write the plan will help us operate our faith in our witness. God is using The ACE to establish us as faithful witnesses as well as move His word outside of the four walls of the church building. He will use how He sees it necessary to bring people to Him. We just have to remain in faith and trust that it is working for the good. In other words, "Faith it until we make it."

Hebrews 11: 1

Beyond the four walls...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

ACE #327: 'Whitney' Review: And I Am Still a Whitney Houston Fan

After watching last night’s Whitney directed by Angela Bassett, I felt compelled to look at the larger issues.  I applaud Bassett for telling a story from a different viewpoint that would not necessarily be popular.  But let’s be realistic - no one movie, no one news article, no one version, and no one side can ever tell the complete story.  Whitney Houston died three years ago, yet we still want to know “what really happened”?  Well…life happened.

As the story unfolds, the viewers see the developing curiosity Whitney Houston has toward Bobby Brown.  There is nothing that is out of the ordinary here.  The “good girl” is always attracted to the “bad boy” and vice versa.  We would love to believe, even after her death, that this man turned her into something awful.  Yet we forget that she was seven years older than him and he could not legally purchase alcohol when they met.

Whitney was not this innocent flower that we would love to believe she was.  She was human, flawed, and foolish...just like most of us at the age of 26.  I was raised in church just like Whitney.  However, I was never exposed to the entertainment industry.  We are disillusioned to believe that her parents’ lives were perfect either as they were in this industry.  Has any of our lives been perfect – free from exposure to drugs, alcohol or sex in some form or another?  To keep putting her on a pedestal, and even our own lives, is just a lie and a letdown.  It does not mean that Whitney was not a Christian or that she did not love God.  But it does speak of our inability to serve two masters and to live a double-minded lifestyle.  It is dangerous and destructive.  In the end, some things are simply about the choices we make.

I commend Yaya DaCosta for her “over the top” performance.  She had big shoes to fill in playing a world-renowned diva.  I think she nailed it – the movement, the mannerisms, and the intensity that was Whitney.  Arlen Escarpeta as Bobby Brown wasn’t that bad either.  People kept saying that his performance as Bobby Brown was “getting on their nerves”. That is hilarious to me because during this time frame, Bobby Brown did get on everybody’s nerves thrusting himself into Whitney’s spotlight.  Even more accurately, she thrust him into her own spotlight when nobody even asked her to…but he was her husband.  She was supposed to give him status in her life and to forsake all others.  We would love to believe that these two were not “equally yoked” and then the arguments, the judgments, and the indictments would make sense…wouldn’t they?  If there was any truth to any of it, I believe depending on the time, Bobby was her enabler and her helper.  It just went a little too far for both of them - the partying, the drugs, and the alcohol.  He survived it, but sadly she didn’t.  

There is also something to be said about guarding our reputation and our character.  People can only tell a story by what they “see”.  Her life was on display for everyone to see – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  That is why people felt comfortable enough, or at least entitled, to try to tell her story. Also, do not miss the teachable moments like being a role model for our own children rather than allowing them to model after people they do not even know.  We get mad at celebrities who proclaim, “I am not a role model!”  Truthfully, many are not; therefore, there is personal responsibility and accountability to be that for our own children.
Regardless of any news story that will ever be told, any movie that will ever be produced, and any interviews with anyone who knew her – Whitney Houston will always be a cultural icon.  Deborah Cox did Ms. Houston great justice in rendering her vocals to the movie. It seemed natural, quite effortless actually.

Nobody can ruin the legacy of Whitney Houston.  Nobody can erase her greatness, her gift. Whitney Houston gave hope to every little girl – of any race – that we could sing...all of us!  She will forever be known as “the voice”.  And…I, personally, will always love Whitney Houston.  #RIPNippy

Matthew 6:24
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

James 1
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

ACE #326: My Life B.C.

When I hear the abbreviation B.C., I immediately associate it with the time period, “before Christ.” Why? Well, if I say I believe that Jesus came to earth to die for the sins of the world and to resurrect so we can have life to the fullest, I have to believe that there was a period before He existed that caused God to send Him. I can’t say I believe God made Himself flesh, in the form of His Son, Jesus - and not believe that He had a purpose in coming. Why is this relevant, you ask?

I was thinking the other day and wondering. What the church body would be like if we personified B.C. more in our daily walk with Christ today? Wait a minute…you say. Christ already came and filled the plan of the Father. Therefore, before Christ, is not relevant. Correct. And, hopefully, you have confessed it, living it and anticipate His return.

But, here’s the point. When we, as the body of Christ, begin to firmly function in the belief of what God did through His only begotten Son, Jesus, the attitude shifts to "because of Christ". We are not overlooking the time period before Christ. Without it, we have no liberty. But, we are recognizing who we are because of Christ.  My life before Christ, I was lost. My life because of Christ, I am found. Because of Christ, I am a new creature. Because of Christ, I can face my circumstances, my tribulations and my triumphs knowing that if He is for us it doesn’t matter who is against us. Because Christ died for me while I was yet a sinner, I am fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. Because Christ is…I am. This is my life because Christ is. 

Photo credit -

Friday, January 16, 2015

ACE #325: Is Your House Divided?

Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law

20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[b] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
23 So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. 27 In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
30 He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.”
31 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
33 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
Every year, University of Kentucky Wildcat fans and University of Louisville Cardinal fans get heated over the sports rivalry - both in basketball and in football.  Facebook gets real busy when either team plays, particularly if individuals are from the state of Kentucky.  This rivalry is referred to as the "Battle for the Bluegrass".  Oftentimes, households will be divided.  In our family, my household is always about the Cats.  In my brother's house it is certainly about the Cards.  If we are at our parents' house, it is truly a house divided. Even our extended family is the same way.  While each side tries to convince the other side which team is better, there is no switching sides.  People are either for their team or they are not. There is no compromise.
As this passage suggests, the teachers of the law were trying to convince others that Jesus was demon-possessed and crazy.  Jesus' mother and brothers arrived to persuade Him to vacate the premises and, therefore, to silence His teaching.  But Jesus rebukes them by saying, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."  In so many ways, they are trying to get him to abandon His mission, His ministry, and His "team". Interestingly enough, Jesus' family does not try to enter the house to support His work and to hear the message He was preaching.  They stood outside and sent someone else in to get Him, which suggests that their spirits were not in alignment with Jesus in order to even enter the house.  In Matthew 12:22-36, Jesus is clear that whoever is not with Him is against Him...that included his family.  In Luke 11:27-28, He also wanted to be clear that he was not disrespecting his family, particularly his mother, but rather He wanted His followers to know that there is a blessing for those who hear the word of God and obey it...His faith was greater than the blood relationship He shared with his family. 

There will certainly be occasions in our lives when our walk with Christ will interfere with our friendships and our family relationships. People will try to convince us that following "Team Jesus" is just not worth it or perhaps a waste of time.  Either way, God's will cannot be done properly in a house, or even in the body of believers, that is divided against itself.
Today's message is simple: learn to surround yourself with people who are willing to do God's will...just like you.  If you desire to do God's will, then attach yourself to the people who are already doing it.  Either you are for the Savior...or you are not.  

Is your house divided?